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Canton of Fribourg in Switzerland betting on geothermal energy

Fribourg, Switzerland (source: flickr/ Jim Killock, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 21 Jun 2020

In its revised Energy Act, the Canton of Fribourg in Switzerland is betting on geothermal energy. For this purpose it has co-created a company in partnership with Groupe E that is to advance exploration of geothermal development.

With the revision of the Energy Act last June, the Canton of Friborg recognizes the public interest in the use of renewable energy in heating and power generation plants, so a recent article in Swiss publication Baublatt. The revised energy regulations have also been in force since the beginning of this year. The amendments to the law were made after advances in the cantonal parliament, and Freiburg also adopted the model regulations of the cantons in the energy sector (MuKEn 2014).

The cantonal government has set itself the goal of reducing annual energy consumption by 1000 GWh (heat) and 550 GWh (electricity) by 2030. The “4000-watt society” is targeted as an intermediate step with regard to the 2050 energy strategy. In addition to reducing consumption, the corresponding cantonal energy strategy mainly provides for the increased use of renewable energy.

Photovoltaics and geothermal energy

The state also wants to give the program for the installation of photovoltaic systems on the roofs of buildings an additional boost. To do this, he demands that the municipalities draw up an energy plan as part of the local planning and convert the lighting in the public space.

The canton wants to achieve more sustainable energy production by promoting geothermal energy. With Groupe E, Freiburg therefore founded gpfr SA, which is to generate electricity and thermal energy using deep geothermal energy. According to the Freiburg Office for Energy (AfE), the company was commissioned in the government’s activity report to prospect deep wells that are said to reach over 3,000 meters.

The company gpfr SA, founded by the canton of Friborg and Groupe E, is to advance the exploration of energy generation using geothermal plants. It is evaluated that the deep holes are drilled to a depth of 3000 meters.

Expansion of the building program

The Freiburg building program was supplemented by an additional measure that will make significant financial contributions to new heat distribution systems from 2020 when replacing decentralized electric heaters. The program also includes professional energy advice for large consumers, in particular accompanying companies with their energy-saving projects.

On the basis of the revised Energy Act, an information concept is proposed in cooperation with the municipalities to raise awareness of the topic of heating among the owners. In the case of canton’s own buildings, the Minergie-P standard already applies to new buildings and renovations. The state covers its own consumption of its own real estate primarily from renewable energy sources.

Source: Baublatt