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Netherlands ten-folds use of direct use geothermal heat production 2009-2014

Drilling rig on site in the Netherlands (source: Daldrup & Söhne AG)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 12 Oct 2015

Geothermal heat production in the Netherlands has increased by a factor of ten in the period of 2009 to 2014. With a risk mitigation scheme in place, drilling for geothermal heat for horticulture and house heating has increased.

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has published its latest statistics on the use of “geothermal heat” in a press release today. According to the report, while the share of these new energy sources is still very modest, the production of geothermal heat has more than doubled between 2009 and 2014, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS). This actually though refers to the use of heat pumps and direct use of geothermal heat resources.

If one actually looks at direct use of geothermal heat from wells drilled into hot water reservoirs, than one can see that actually that particular use of geothermal energy has actually increased by a factor of more than 10. From 142 TJ in 2009 to 1,502 TJ in 2014. This represents about 20% of total use of heat and cold production with soil energy combined with geothermal heat production. In 2014, the heat production from soil energy was 3,590 TJ, cold production was 1,936 TJ.

Geothermal-heat-and-soil-energy-2009-2014-15-10-08

Combined they accounted for more than 4 percent of total renewable energy consumption. In turn, renewable energy accounts for less than 6 percent of total energy consumption in the Netherlands, so the share of geothermal heat and energy is still very modest.

“Geothermal heat, also referred to as geothermal energy,”, so Statistics Netherlands, “is defined as the direct use of heat stored in the bowels of the earth. In the Netherlands, geothermal heat has been used since the end of 2008 to pump up hot groundwater from deeper layers of the earth. Today, this technology is applied in ten locations.

The government has introduced the Guarantee Scheme Geothermal Heat to encourage the use of geothermal energy and reduce the risks for those engaged in this technology. The scheme partly covers the risks of unsuccessful drilling attempts.

Since 2012, geothermal heat projects also qualify for subsidy schemes. On 1 March this year, a total amount of EUR1.1 billion ($1.23 billion) in subsidies was granted to 36 projects, although it is as yet uncertain whether all these projects will in fact be realised.

The generation of geothermal energy uses hot or cold air which is stored in the upper layer of the soil, often a combination of heat extraction in winter and cold extraction in summer. This technology was already applied in the Netherlands before geothermal heat was used. Over the past half decade, generation of heat from geothermal energy has soared by 80 percent.
This technology is commonly applied in large, new office buildings and is cost-effective because in this type of non-residential buildings there is often a demand for heat and cold.

The horticultural sector also uses extensive geothermal systems to heat greenhouses. Nearly 30 percent of geothermal heat is used to heat houses.”

Source: Statistics Netherlands