Expansion of Champigny-sur-Marne geothermal heat network approved

Expansion of Champigny-sur-Marne geothermal heat network approved Champs-sur-Marne geothermal heating project schematic overview (source: GéoMarne)
Alexander Richter 17 Feb 2021

Additional drilling for the expansion of geothermal district heating network in Champs-sur-Marne near Paris in France can go ahead following a public inquiry.

A public inquiry commission has given the green light to a new geothermal drilling campaign in Champigny-sur-Marne.

Almost 10 years after the last major geothermal projects in the upper part of Champigny-sur-Marne, geothermal energy will soon be able to supply heat to customers in the lower part of the city. The current geothermal network supplies heat to 7,000 housing units and municipal facilities. Its 9-kilometer extension is planned to heat 7,000 additional homes and avoid just over 9,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. This new doublet of wells (one for extraction, the other for reinjection) will be located on the site of the René Rousseau stadium, over an area of ??8,000 m² over the entire southern part of the site.

In order to access the Dogger, an aquifer whose water temperature is between 56 and 85 degrees Celsius, the public geothermal establishment (EPCG), the project leader, has requested authorization to carry out research, geothermal deposit and drilling, an essential step before the realization of wells to exploit the resource.

Residents worried about noise

A public inquiry took place from November 23 to December 23 and made it possible to collect around thirty observations. A reason for concern has systematically returned among the neighbouring populations: living for 5 months next to a construction site that continuously generates noise. It is true that in Champigny, the work of the Grand Paris Express has already quite effected the inhabitants … The inhabitants also criticized a lack of consultation upstream.

Two petitions to oppose the project

Two petitions have even been launched to call for the outright abandonment of the project. The petitioners fear that the project will harm the living environment of this residential area. Acoustic screens and in-situ noise surveys do not seem to have allayed the fears of local residents.

Above all, a national news came to telescope the public inquiry: the earthquakes caused in Alsace by a deep geothermal power plant at La Wantzenau , the damage of which led to the shutdown of all deep geothermal projects in the sector. This fear of ground movements and site-related vibrations by residents of neighboring pavilions also appeared in the observations.

“At this stage of the study, all the equipment is dimensioned so that the work does not have any consequences on the constructions located on the adjacent plots”, reassures the client, specifying that the first phase of work would consist in filling the quarries present in the basement. On the seismic risks, the EPCG and the investigating commissioner add that the Ile-de-France region is much less affected by this hazard than Alsace.

During the public inquiry, the other reservations concerned the impact on atmospheric pollution, automobile traffic, property depreciation and even landscape integration.

A series of recommendations and two reservations

The investigating commissioner, Jean-Pierre Chaulet, concluded his report by giving a favourable opinion on the project, the final step before the work authorization order by the prefect, he nevertheless took reservations into consideration.

“I consider that the risks of noise pollution for local residents are proven given the very close proximity of residential dwellings and that the EPCG should put in place all existing soundproofing devices to not only comply with regulations, but above all resolve the inconvenience caused, particularly at night, ”he says.

He also requested an additional effort in terms of information and consultation of local residents, and ordered the organization of a public meeting before the start of the works, with the Campinois Public Geothermal Establishment (EPCG) in conjunction with the group. Coriance, the Inspection Générale des Carrières (IGC) and the city of Champigny.

The investigation commissioner made a second reservation which obliges the EPCG to offer residents temporary accommodation for residents during the work during the night, in the event that the noise exceeds the regulations in force.

Source: 94 Citoyens