City of Freiburg, Germany endorsing exploration plans for geothermal heating

City of Freiburg, Germany endorsing exploration plans for geothermal heating Freiburg im Breisgau/ Germany (source: flickr/ geoterranaute, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 5 Feb 2021

Plans for geothermal exploration by local utility have been received positively by the council of the city of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany with a study now to explore the potential and feasibility of the project.

A huge treasure trove of heat can be found in the depths of the Upper Rhine Rift Valley, as reported by our partner website TiefeGeothermie in Germany. The local energy service provider badenova now wants to tap into this in order to bring the heating sector in the region towards climate neutrality.

Another step has been taken with the general approval of the Freiburg municipal council for badenova’s geothermal plans. As local paper Badische Zeitung reported, the city councils agreed that geothermal energy can make an important contribution to the heating transition in Freiburg and the region – and that it must if the climate protection goals are to be achieved.

Even before the search permit was applied for, the 19 affected communities in the search area between Freiburg, Breisach and Müllheim were informed in detail about the planned application and the underlying considerations. 19 mayors from the region, representatives of the regional council (RP) and the regional mining office based at the RP and responsible for the permit took part in the event.

All mayors agreed to the exploration plans. On November 25th and December 2nd, 2020, digital citizen information events, so-called regional conferences, followed. The aim is to address the fears of the population and disseminate factual information.

Because even if the events of Staufen (cracks in houses due to a swelling layer of gypsum keuper after drilling for geothermal probes not carried out properly) and Basel (earthquake after hydraulic stimulation to break up gaps in the bedrock in a petrothermal geothermal project) basically little to do with the hydrothermal project planned here have to do, they still keep popping up in the discussion. It is all the more important to provide factual information to the population and political bodies.

The campaign already seems to be bearing fruit. The discussion in the comments section of the Badische Zeitung publication after an article on December 8th on the seismic events in Strasbourg was surprisingly competent and balanced.

Feasibility study examines the chances of realization

A decision as to whether the potential in the southern Baden underground can also be developed will not be made until 2023. Before that, a feasibility study should explore the implementation possibilities. Using 3D seismics, three-dimensional images of the subsurface can be created that show exactly where hot deep water is to be expected. Drilling into the basement with subsequent hydraulic stimulation is not permitted in Baden-Württemberg.

The newspaper speaks of 20,000 households that are to be supplied with climate-friendly geothermal heat. The actual exploitable amount of heat will be shown by the explorations. The general approval from politicians is now a further step towards the regional heating transition.

Source: TiefeGeothermie