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Opposition in Alsace, France on planned cut off subsidies for geothermal power

Well at Rittershoffen geothermal site in Alsace, France (source: ThinkGeoEnergy)
Alexander Richter 1 Mar 2019

Planned cuts to subsidies for geothermal power development meets strong opposition from municipalities in the region of Alsace in France.

In late January, the French government announced the abolition of subsidies for the remuneration of electricity from deep geothermal energy to operators.

This is a real blow for the region of Alsace, as reported by 20 Minutes in France, especially as five projects are started and many more are in preparation, which could also question the ecological transition of the territory. Especially since Lithium was found in the extracted thermal fluid.

Also, the presidents of the Grand Est region, the Bas Rhin department and the Eurométropole sent a letter to the government to reconsider the issue of aid, in order to “find a balanced solution to support deep geothermal energy”.

Alsace has rich geothermal features unique in France with in its basement water up to 200 degrees Celsius. Alsatian communities have made this feature one of the cornerstones of the local energy transition. By betting on deep geothermal energy, clean, carbon-neutral, industrial and community-based energy has multiplied the drilling and intends to pursue them. Yes, but that’s it.

Last January 25, in its Multiannual Energy Program (EPP) project, which sets the main directions for energy, the government announced “the abolition of subsidies for the remuneration of electricity from geothermal energy. deep to the operators. “In any case, for new projects,” say local officials.

That worries local communities who say they have not been consulted and “question the deep geothermal energy in France,” so Robert Herrmann, president of Eurométropole Strasbourg. A real blow, especially since five projects are started and many more are being prepared in Alsace.

While in Alsace, the closure of the Fessenheim power plant is planned, the region presents limited opportunities for wind or solar photovoltaic and the repeated decline of the Rhine is feared for the hydroelectric production, the end of aid for electricity from deep geothermal energy “can prevent our energy transition “so the elected president of the metropole of Strasbourg. He continues: “Especially since the latest research shows a complementary interest in geothermal energy. Lithium has been found in the extracted thermal fluid, in forms that can be reprocessed, and thus, eventually, used. Lithium is an extremely important element for the future, with the development of batteries but also because today it is found in hard-to-reach areas, even in war zones. ”

A letter was sent to the government to reconsider the issue of aid, “to find a balanced solution to support deep geothermal energy”. This letter is co-signed by Jean Rottner, president of the Grand Est region, Frédéric Bierry, president of the Lower Rhine departmental council, Robert Herrmann and Vincent Debes, president of the association of mayors of Bas-Rhin, who carried this Tuesday the good word in Paris at a mayors’ lunch planned at the Elysee.

Source: 20minutes