Denmark celebrating 30 years of geothermal

District Heating plant, Thisted, Denmark (source:
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 21 Sep 2014

Denmark celebrates 30 years of geothermal heating. On September 19, 1984, the geothermal district heating plant in Thisted Denmark was commissioned. Today it is the third cheapest of 400 district heating systems and still operating.

September 19, 2014 was a very special day for geothermal energy in Denmark, as this date marked the 30th anniversary of the official commissioning of the geothermal district heating plant in Thisted – Denmark’s oldest.

The plant with its two vertical wells and absorption heat pumps continues to play an important part of the district heating production in Thisted and has thereby demonstrated the longevity of the geothermal concept in Denmark. At the same time the district heating supply of Thisted is one of the greenest and most innovative, integrating geothermal energy, waste incineration, a straw fired boiler unit – and recently concentrating solar panels (CSP). And according to the official Danish price statistics, it is also the third cheapest out of Denmark’s more than 400 district heating systems. In other words: a fantastic success story!

”In a time where there is much focus on the obvious risks involved in drillings geothermal wells, it is important to remind ourselves that geothermal energy has – without any fuss – worked very well for many years in Thisted. Geothermal energy will also in the future be an important and reliable part of the local district heating supply,” says Søren Berg Lorenzen, managing director of Danish Geothermal District Heating, a consulting engineering company owned by the Danish district heating companies.

“At the same time it is important to remember that the two geothermal wells were drilled back in the early 1980’ies by a state owned oil & gas company. It is possible to establish similar geothermal plants in many other existing Danish district heating areas, but if geothermal energy is to play a role in the green and sustainable district heating supply of the future, it is necessary for the state to once again get involved in geothermal energy. This could be through setting up a national guarantee fund like the ones in France and the Netherlands. A development similar to what has been seen in these countries is also possible in Denmark, provided we make sure that it is not only the local district heating consumers, who have to carry the geological exploration risk,” Søren Berg Lorenzen finishes.