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Icelandic-Danish group developing geothermal heating projects in Denmark

Video snapshot of geothermal rig up of drilling rig TYR (source: Iceland Drilling)
Alexander Richter 26 Oct 2017

A large part of the heating demand in Denmark could be covered by geothermal energy. This is the basis of a new Icelandic-Danish group, including Iceland Drilling, E.On and other experts, to develop geothermal district heating systems in the country.

Reported this week by E.ON, a new partnership has been founded to work on geothermal district heating projects in Denmark.

Hot water from the Danish underground will supply more cities with CO2-neutral heat. It is the ambition behind a new partnership between the energy company E.ON and the Geothermal Operations Company, GEOOP, which will reveal the business potential of geothermal power in a number of major cities.

Geothermal heat is recovered from the underground by pumping warm water from approx. two kilometers deep and potentially could heat 200,000-250,000 Danish households according to Danish District Heating. Nevertheless, only three smaller geothermal plants exist in Denmark today.

“Almost half of the fuel consumption in district heating comes from coal and natural gas. We must be much better at utilizing the heat that lies a few kilometers under our feet. In Denmark, we have the best conditions for utilizing geothermal heat because of our well-developed district heating, but we are still lagging behind the rest of Europe. Together with GEOOP, we’ve been thinking about doing something about it, “says Lars van Hauen, E.ON’s Chief Innovation Officer, and points out that in Paris alone there are more than 35 geothermal plants.

Theoretically, geothermal heat can provide all district heating in Denmark, but the potential depends on local conditions and the possibility of connecting the geothermal heat to existing district heating.

“As an energy company, we are committed to finding alternative solutions for black energy, and we constantly explore new initiatives and business areas that create value for our customers and the environment. Under many Danish cities, large amounts of underground heat are present, so our first step is to investigate the possibility of utilizing the hot water in areas with greater district heating as in Copenhagen, Hillerød, Roskilde and Aalborg, “explains Van Hauen and emphasizes that the partnership with GEOOP supports E.ON’s strategy to offer 100 per cent. sustainable energy solutions at attractive prices.

Denmark’s subsoil can deliver CO2 neutral heat

The Danish Energy Agency has previously pointed out that geothermal heat along with renewable energy sources can make a significant contribution to reducing Danish greenhouse gas emissions, but so far the economic risk associated with particular investigations has hampered development. New research, however, increases investment security by geothermal drilling. In 2016, GEOOP was a partner in a research project, supported by the Green Development and Demonstration Program EUDP. The project revealed the possibility of using geothermal energy on a large scale and provided new data on the underground under Copenhagen. GEOOP also participates in the research project Geotherm, supported by the Innovation Fund, which will cover the operational aspects of geothermal surface systems.

“We have many years of experience from drilling projects and with new knowledge around the underground, we will be able to reduce the geological and economic uncertainties that are drilling for geothermal heat,” says Lars Andersen, CEO of GEOOP.

E.ON currently operates 34 CHP plants and four district heating plants, which are increasingly receiving heat from renewable energy sources and surplus heat. In Frederikssund E.ON has collaborated with the industrial company Haldor Topsøe to reduce surplus heat, which has given heating customers an annual energy saving of approx. DKK 2,000, while reducing CO2 emissions from heat production significantly.

In addition to reducing Denmark’s CO2 emissions, geothermal heat supply is expected to ensure a low and stable heat price for hundreds of years due to the huge amounts of underground hot water. And the cheaper and sustainable district heating is the main ambition for the partnership.

“For a number of years, E.ON has shown that it is possible to lower the heat price while increasing the share of green energy. Therefore, it has been obvious for us to collaborate with them, as these two areas are the pivotal points of our business, “says Lars Andersen, CEO of GEOOP.

GEOOP is owned by Iceland Drilling Company, E.ON today and a group of experts with more than 20 years of experience in geology, reservoir and drilling.

Source: Company release