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Betting on geothermal energy – Planning a renewable energy future for the city of Strasbourg

Quai Saint-Nicolas, Strasbourg, France (source: flickr/ Valentin R., creative commons)
Alexander Richter 15 Jun 2018

In its drive to become a 100% renewable energy driven city, Strasbourg in France is betting on geothermal energy for heating and power generation. Through Electricité de Strasbourg and its geothermal subsidiary ES Geothermie, a lot is happening on research and development, but also in concrete projects.

Since the beginning of the 2000s, Strasbourg has been one of the major European cities pushing for energy transition and sustainable development. A commitment that did not wait for the Paris Agreement to put in place a new strategy for the use of energy resources. But Strasbourg City Hall still wants to go further: it seeks to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030, as reported recently from France.

Strasbourg: a Climate Plan for 2030

In the space of ten years, Strasbourg has managed to reduce its per capita energy consumption by 20%. An energy sobriety which is in fact only the first step towards a more global project. At the COP23 held in Bonn, Germany, Strasbourg officially announced its Climate Plan for the 2030 horizon. A charter that lists many commitments, with a main objective: to achieve 100% renewable energy in its annual consumption as of 2030. If the objective is ambitious, the city does indeed have many assets to reach it.

For this, Strasbourg plans to progress on two main axes: the development of renewable energy, but also the improvement of the energy performance of buildings in the city to further reduce global energy consumption. Regarding the improvement of energy performance, Strasbourg plans to pilot an ambitious renovation project for housing. Every year until 2030, the city commits to renovate 5,000 homes to improve insulation.

Developing renewable energy projects in an intelligent and innovative way

To develop renewable energies on its territory, Strasbourg is betting on geothermal energy, particularly deep geothermal energy . Two projects are already planned: in Illkirch and Reichstett, in a former refinery that will be converted to accommodate the deepest geothermal well in France. That development is driven by local utility Electricité de Strasbourg (ES). The utility maintains an own geothermal energy business, ES Geothermie. The company is involved in a variety of international research projects and its own development. It is involved in the Soultz-sous-Forets geothermal power plant, the Rittershofen geothermal heating plant and many more. Details about its references can be found here.

On the solar side, the city launched at the beginning of May 2018 a free solar register which every inhabitant can consult to calculate the thermal and photovoltaic potential of its roof, as well as the profitability of the project. What support the development of renewable energy, even at the level of individuals.

And to make better use of the ENR, the eurometropolis of Strasbourg does not lack imagination. After the construction of its new biomass plant in 2016, the city realized that the plant’s energy loss was significant. Because if the infrastructure has allowed the city to reach 70% green energy, it releases a large amount of fatal heat, an untapped energy that could yet be useful. To reduce this loss of energy, the city decided to build an urban greenhouse on the ground adjacent to the power station. An innovative solution to operate different equipment in symbiosis while further improving the energy performance of the city.

 

For Strasbourg City Hall, again the objective is clear: to ensure that the energy bill of each household does not exceed EUR 80 ($94) per year. That’s twenty times less than the national average.

Source: Lener Geek