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New area to be explored for potential geothermal heating project in Utrecht, Netherlands

Nieuwegein, Netherlands (source: commons/ wikimedia, Ben Bender)
Alexander Richter 31 Oct 2019

Exploring locations to continue exploring of how geothermal energy could be utilised for heating purposes in the province of Utrecht, Warmtebron Utrecht has now chosen the municipality of Nieuwegein for further investigation.

In search of a suitable location to continue the investigation of geothermal heat in the province of Utrecht, Warmtebron Utrecht opts for Nieuwegein. The follow-up research focuses on the area around Eneco’s heat transfer station (WOS) near the ACVerhoefweg / Symfonielaan / Batauweg intersection, so reported by Platform Geothermie in the Netherlands.

To make the heat supply of the Netherlands more sustainable, all forms of clean energy are needed. Geothermal heat is a renewable energy source that is also widely available in the Netherlands. The expectation is that this energy will be able to absorb around 30 percent of the heat demand in 2030. This makes geothermal energy interesting as a substitute for natural gas. This heat has been used successfully in greenhouse horticulture in the Netherlands for some time. 

Next step

Earlier this year, existing seismic data from the 1970s was reviewed with the help of new technology to see where the subsurface is most suitable. Based on this,  the research area of ??eight municipalities in the province has been reduced to Utrecht and Nieuwegein  With the choice of Nieuwegein, it is time for the next step in the research. Heat source Utrecht is now going to investigate around Eneco’s heat transfer station (WOS) what a good location can be to determine  in the final phase of the investigation   whether there is actually geothermal energy there. Warmtebron Utrecht, for example, investigates the characteristics of the area and the subsurface.

Most promising

In recent months,  consultancy and engineering firm Royal Haskoning DHV has  carried out an area investigation. The assessment was based on ‘environmental and environmental aspects’, such as nature, safety, archeology, greenery and all other important values ??that occur in an area. The distance to the heat network is also very important. In addition, the province, municipalities, water boards, drinking water companies and environmental services have looked at  drinking water protection and groundwater protection areas  where drilling is not permitted. The final conclusion is that the area around the WOS in Nieuwegein is the most promising to continue the research on geothermal heat. 

Competent authority

If Heat Source finds a location, it is up to the Nieuwegein College of B&W and the municipal council whether and under what conditions it wishes to cooperate in providing the land. A careful process with the environment is also part of this possible next phase. In addition, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and State Supervision of Mines (SSM) will also have to grant permission. If all investigations produce the required results and there is a positive decision from the municipality, the final phase of the investigation will start. 

Extensive information

In the coming months the city council will be informed about geothermal heat and the latest state of affairs. Warmtebron Utrecht then also makes contact with organizations, entrepreneurs and interest groups. After the city council is involved, Warmtebron Utrecht will organize information meetings for residents and interested parties at the beginning of next year to inform them about the research and the next steps.

What is Warmtebron Utrecht?

In the province of Utrecht, Warmtebron Utrecht will investigate in the coming years whether geothermal energy is a good alternative to gas and electricity. And whether it is a safe, feasible and affordable way to achieve our climate goals. To this end, two research projects were started in 2018: Lean and Gold. The Gold project focuses on the Rijnsweerd Office Park and the adjacent Utrecht Science Park. Divided over the projects, 11 organizations are involved, from public to private. With such projects it is important to take the environment with you in a good way. That is why Warmtebron Utrecht communicates openly and transparently about the opportunities that geothermal heat can offer, but also about any risks. In addition, we want to closely involve residents, entrepreneurs and social organizations with direct interests in our initiative. This means that we, where necessary, look for suitable solutions together. In this way we want to develop geothermal heat across the entire spectrum and ensure sufficient support in society.

Source: Platform Geothermie, Netherlands