Drilling for geothermal heating project launched in Vélizy near Paris, France

Kick off of drilling in Vélizy-Villacoublay (Ville de Vélizy-Villacoublay/ video screenshot)
Alexander Richter 31 Aug 2020

A planned project to bring geothermal heating to about 12,000 homes has kicked of drilling in Vélizy near Versailles in the greater Paris area in France.

Work on a geothermal heating project has been kicked off with the start of drilling at Vélizy-Villacoublay (Yvelines) on the outskirts of Paris, France near Versailles.

Within a year, Vélizy will have its geothermal station, to heat the equivalent of 12,000 homes. Thursday, August 27, the drilling site was officially launched by the mayor, Pascal Thévenot , the president of the Île-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse , and the Engie solutions teams . The City had to change the system from its current mode of district heating, otherwise the bill would rise sharply for households.

“Pascal Thévenot was a visionary,” emphasizes Valérie Pécresse. It is Vélizy’s DNA to be at the cutting edge of technology. ”

This system will allow Véliziens citizens to no longer be dependent on price increases, recalls the first city councilor. This is a solution so as not to see the price of district heating double within 5 years. ”

After numerous studies, the time has come for drilling. This stage should take place until January 2021 before the construction of geothermal energy for commissioning in November 2021. The drilling is carried out by means of a 40-meter-high device which will drill up to 1,600 m. depth.

The peculiarity of the Vélizy project is that this borehole will be multi-drains. This means that the well will be made up of two drains making it possible to cross the producing levels twice to maximize the drained reservoir. This will promote the recovery of water at 64 degrees C.

Once the water collected in the basement has fulfilled its role of heating, it returns to the ground and the loop starts again. The resource is therefore “almost inexhaustible”.

This is a first in France for such a deep geothermal energy, underlines Aurélie Lehericy, Deputy Managing Director of Engie solutions, cities and communities. It was an ecological, economic and environmental challenge. The previous network was 100% fossil fuel based. ”

The management of the geothermal power plant is also innovative. A simplified joint-stock company was created, called Véligéo , 80% controlled by Engie solutions and 20% by the City of Vélizy. The agreement is concluded for a period of 30 years (two years of work, 28 years of operation). A project costing EUR 25 million, which received the support of the Île-de-France Region and Ademe, and which will prevent the emission of 22,801 tonnes of CO2 each year in the atmosphere, or the equivalent of 15,000 vehicles.

Geothermal energy in Vélizy is a first in western Paris and other communities are already showing interest. “We can have carbon-free energy that protects the environment which can go hand in hand with innovation and economic development,” concludes Pascal Thévenot.