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EBN in the Netherlands receives permit for geothermal exploration work

View over Utrecht from the Cathedral (source: flickr/ Thomas van de Weerd, creative commons)
Carlo Cariaga Carlo Cariaga 31 Mar 2019

EBN has received a permit to start seismic investigation in a potential geothermal resource area near Utrecht and Almere in the Netherlands.

Energie Beheer Nederland BV (EBN) has set out to investigate if an area in the vicinity of Utrecht and Almere is viable for extracting geothermal heat. This is after the company was granted a permit to conduct the activity by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate via the Inspector General of Mines.  The work is expected to last between February to March 2019, but must be completed by May 1, 2019 at the latest.

In addition to the rules enforced by the Inspector General of Mines in the permit, EBN must also comply with regulations in the municipalities, which may require the issuance of separate permits. Opposing parties may submit their objections to the permit up to six weeks after the permit was issued – up to and including April 3, 2019

Seismic investigation

The investigation being carried out by EBN relies on the propagation of sound waves in the subsurface. The sound waves are produced by setting off very precise and controlled explosions at a depth of 20 meters. The reflection and propagation of these sound waves give EBN a picture of the subsurface, which will help them determine if the subsurface conditions are appropriate for extracting geothermal heat.

While EBN is doing the investigation, residents in the area may hear a slight thud every few minutes for about an hour. EBN must thereby maintain a distance of at least 50 meters from residential areas.

The activity will be partly done in the evenings because the research yield the best results where is as little noise as possible. However, EBN is not allowed to work with explosives between 11 PM and 7 AM. For residential areas, EBN is not allowed to set off explosions between 7PM and 7AM.

Source: Staatstoezicht op de Mijnen