Geothermal energy as pillar for the required transition of coal regions

Billboard promoting "mine water" (source: Mijnwater B.V.)
Alexander Richter 12 Dec 2017

A great fact sheet published by the European Geothermal Energy Council, provides a great overview on how geothermal energy technologies and skill sets can be a great pillar for coal regions in transition. It highlights the similarities and opportunities provided by geothermal.

In a recent fact sheet by the European Geothermal Energy Council, an overview is provided on how geothermal technologies can in many way contribute to the energy transition in regions with a long mining history. The fact sheet shared by EGEC illustrates the potential for the technological transformation.

Geothermal energy is in many ways similar to conventional extractive industries such as mining for minerals.

  • It requires extensive understanding of geological formations to identify possible production sites.
  • The equipment and know-how for developing a geothermal production closely resembles – in some cases, it is the same – those for conventional drilling.
  • Geothermal power and cogeneration is produced using steam turbines, which are usually manufactured by companies also involved in turbines for conventional power.

The fact sheet goes into detail on the compatible technologies, on the correlation with geothermal resource availability, the same skill set and similiarities of the business model. Importantly enough though it highlights also the positive social impact and provides key proposal elements.

The sheet also provides the excellent case study of MijnWater in the Netherlands.

After the closure of the coal mines in Heerlen (The Netherlands) and the surrounding area, the mine passages filled with groundwater, which is heated by the earth naturally.

The geothermal source below ground remained untouched for decades until the municipality of Heerlen conducted a study in 2005 into the possibility of using water from the mines for heating and cooling buildings, homes, and offices. That had far-reaching positive consequences. The project began life in earnest as a project supported by the European Interreg IIIB programme and the 6th Framework Programme. Now, Mijnwater B.V. is a rapidly expanding private company owned by the municipality, continuing to diversify and develop and innovative concept, the success of which has been proved over more than ten years.

Source: EGEC Factsheet