Alliance of Germany energy associations calls for geothermal development law

Alliance of Germany energy associations calls for geothermal development law Bundestag, Berlin, Germany (source: Herman / flickr, Creative Commons)
Carlo Cariaga 19 Sep 2022

In a joint position paper, an alliance of Germany energy associations called for a Geothermal Development Law that will accelerate deep geothermal development.

An alliance of energy associations in Germany is calling on politicians to enact a geothermal energy development law that will enable the rapid and increased expansion of deep geothermal energy. The call was made through a joint position paper that was published during the event “Heat transition in urban areas with geothermal energy.” The position paper (in German) can be downloaded via this link.

The associations involved in the position paper include the Energy Efficiency Association for Heat, Cold and KWK e.V. (AGFW), the Federal Association for Renewable Energy e.V. (BEE), the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management e.V. (BDEW), the Federal Geothermal Association e.V. (BVG) and the Association of Municipal Companies e.V. (VKU). The associations presented concrete recommendations for action that will facilitate the expansion of deep geothermal energy and accelerate the decarbonization of district heating and the expansion of heating networks.

The recommendations are summarized thus:

Enactment of a geothermal development law

  • Anchoring the principle that the use of geothermal energy is in the overriding public interest and serves public safety;
  • Ensuring the availability of space and privileges in the outside area;
  • Parallelization of individual permits;
  • Introduction of a binding procedural deadline for approval procedures;
  • Standardization of approval requirements;
  • Simplifications in EIA law and nature conservation law

BEW subsidy program

  • Introduction of an instrument to hedge the financial risk;
  • Inclusion of geothermal energy in the subsidy for individual measures according to BEW;
  • Acceleration of the examination of an operating cost subsidy according to BEW by 2023

Additional measures

  • Collection of geological data;
  • Simplifications in public procurement law;
  • Improvement in the acceptance of geothermal projects;
  • Increasing the training and further education of specialists

“As an important pillar of the urban heat transition via heating networks, geothermal energy must be developed much faster and more comprehensively than has been the case up to now. We need all options to be able to realize the decarbonization of the heat sector by 2045. It is also clear that the protection of the groundwater must always be guaranteed in geothermal projects,” commented BDEW Executive Board Chair Kerstin Andreae.

“We need geothermal energy to ensure a secure and price-stable energy supply for us and future generations and to meet our climate targets. With their help, we can sustainably cover large parts of our useful heat requirements for space heating and hot water. When, if not now, is the time to use the huge, untapped potential of geothermal energy,” added BVG President and Technical Director of Stadtwerke München, Helge-Uve Braun.

Members of the Bundestag also supported the call of the associations. “In order to expand geothermal energy, I support political measures that cushion the discovery risk, especially for municipalities, improve the exploration situation and, of course, integrate geothermal energy as an option in efficient municipal heat planning.” said Bernhard Herrmann, MdB, Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNEN.

“The energy transition must also be a heating transition. We must also become independent of oil, gas and coal for heating. For this we need electric heat pumps – but above all geothermal energy. Geothermal energy has great potential, especially in Bavaria. Munich is a good example of how we can use this potential. However, there is a lack of data, the financial risk of developing it is high, and bureaucratic hurdles stand in the way of faster expansion. Here we must and here we will tackle. Renewable energies are not just wind and sun,” said Andreas Mehltretter, a member of the SPD parliamentarian and member of the Committee on Climate Protection and Energy.

Source: BDEW