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Calls for mapping of geothermal potential in Aargau, Switzerland

Calls for mapping of geothermal potential in Aargau, Switzerland Wasserschloss of Switzerland, Aargau (source: flickr/ Falk Lademann, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 12 Jun 2021

Despite general political will, more concrete details on where to find the geothermal potential in the canton of Aargau, Switzerland are called for.

The pressure on politics related to the exploration of the geothermal potential in Aargau, Switzerland is increasing as reported by local paper Aargauer Zeitung.

There are only rough estimates on where drilling for geothermal could be worthwhile in the canton of Aargau. Major councils are demanding more specific information from the government.

With geothermal beneath our feet, the resources have to be found and in addition to the right technology, it requires political will.

The political will is there.  A “Geothermal Energy Strategy” is part of the “EnergieAargau” – a wider energy for the future – strategy, which was adopted by the Grand Council in 2015. It says that the Aargau makes a contribution to the development of the economic use of heat from the earth.

Political will is there

The government council is also positive about the use of geothermal energy in the canton and welcomes different forms of application. Geothermal energy, especially the use of heat, makes an important contribution to security of supply and helps to manage the phase-out of nuclear energy. The government council stated this in its answer to an interpellation on the use of geothermal energy.

Cadastre/ resource map does not yet exist

Gabriel Lüthy (FDP), Martin Brügger (SP), Hans-Ruedi Hottiger (non-party) and Roland Frauchiger from the EPP were primarily concerned with the government drawing up a resource map/ cadastre that shows which areas in Aargau at the Geothermal energy what potential. The canton should create the legal framework so that the energy companies can even start a geothermal project, the interpellators find. “We don’t ask for subsidies,” says Gabriel Lüthy.

But even the government council cannot provide a detailed map, Aargau has not yet determined possible locations for geothermal energy, and a corresponding contract is missing. Existing heat flow maps show, however, that there are favorable geological conditions for geothermal energy in the lower Aare valley, on the southern foot of the Jura and along the northern flank of the Jura. This region is to be specified by an ETH project that measures the heat in the soil in Aargau.

The canton actively supports the project and finances a multi-year temperature measurement program in selected boreholes. This data is made available to the project.

Only partially satisfied

Grand Councilor Gabriel Lüthy is only partially satisfied with the government council’s response. “I would have hoped for more specific information on areas of application for geothermal energy,” he says, and he would have liked a detailed map showing where boreholes for the three different depths of geothermal energy could be made. Lüthy believes that the canton can also commission a study itself.

To achieve this, he could imagine following up with the government with a postulate. “When we see the potential, we can still see how it should be used. That is why such a card would be a sensible first step. ”

Source: Aargauer Zeitung