Drilling started for geothermal heat and power project at Illkirch-Graffenstaden, France

picture not directly related to story - Geothermal Plant at Soultz-sous-Forets, France (source: ThinkGeoEnergy, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 18 Oct 2017

Drilling has started on a third geothermal heat and power project in Illkirch-Graffenstaden in the Alsace region of France. The project is developed by Electricité de Strasbourg.

The Upper Rhine Graben, the border region of Germany and France is a unique region with lots of cultural heritage and geothermal resources. The “fault of the Rhine”, and the Alsace region (France) has  outstanding potential for hot water and a structure for deep geothermal energy . Basically, the Alsatians have under their feet, to 3,000 to 5,000 meters deep water at very high temperatures (over 150 degrees Celsius). Once extracted, it allows to create electricity but also to heat homes and offices. Renewable energy, local, totally decarbonated and which could ensure a certain autonomy in the energy in the decades to come.

Last week, the construction site of a new deep geothermal co-generation project was officially launched in Illkirch-Graffenstaden. The third power station, after that of Eckbolsheim and Vendenheim. And the expectations are great. In the long term, deep geothermal energy with these three power stations could produce electricity covering the demand of 50,000 homes (excluding heating) or 20,000 homes (with heating). These planned three power stations in Northern Alsace, would come in addition to the geothermal power plant of Soultz-sous-Forêts and the geothermal heat plant at Rittershoffen, both are already operational.

Geothermal potential in Alsace largely untapped

“This is an important step. From 14% renewable energy used in 2014, we now aim for 26% by 2020, says Alain Jund, the Vice President of the Eurométropole Strasbourg. This makes it one of the French cities where the share of renewable energies is the most important. And still, this resource is under exploited. 

Renewable, clean energy, which could have to play a key role in the future because “it is a low-cost energy that escapes the fluctuations of fossil energies,” said Robert Herrmann, President of the Eurométropole. Moreover, once the Illkirch power station is completed in 2020, there will certainly be others in Alsace because it is an ecological and energy opportunity. 

For the moment, the drilling of the power plant at the Illkirch-Graffenstaden innovation park set up by the Electricité de Strasbourg (ES) group is only about fifty meters deep. But will reach much deeper, similar to Reichstett, which drilled up to 3,500 meters deep, or even, as in Eckbolsheim, where it was drilled to a depth of 5,000 meters. For the Illkirch plant alone, the plant will avoid the equivalent of 11,000 tonnes per year of CO2 emissions. What can be actively involved in the energy transition,but also, as Robert Herrmann pointed out, “to contribute to the development of Eurométropole’s activity, employment and attractiveness. 

Details on the project can be found on the website of the municipality of Illkirch-Graffenstaden

Source: 20minutes