Geothermal energy a heating option for the Faroe Islands?

Geothermal energy a heating option for the Faroe Islands? Thorshavn, Faroe Islands (source: flickr/Erik Cleves Kristensen, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 1 Apr 2021

Norwegian Rock Energy has signed a letter of intent to explore the option of utilising geothermal energy for heating (and possibly electricity) on the Faroe Islands, an island group in the North Atlantic.

Norwegian Rock Energy has signed a declaration of intent with Orkufelagid, a Faroe Islands based energy company on exploring geothermal energy as an option for heating (and possibly electricity).

The parties will design a conceptual feasibility study to respond to the Faroe Islands’ need for energy through optimized use of Rock Energy’s energy sources for efficient use all year round. Rock Energy intends to lead the project through a detailed assessment phase (FEED) with a subsequent implementation phase. The goal is to, after the authorities’ approval, use Rock Energy’s energy sources to produce electricity and heat for efficient use all year round.

The Faroe Islands, which are isolated in the middle of the North Atlantic, need to be self-sufficient in electricity because the electricity grid in the Faroe Islands is not connected to any neighboring country.

The political goal is to replace around 230,000 MWh, which is currently produced with heating oil. The Faroe Islands have increased CO2 emissions significantly in recent years – almost doubling since 1990 – and the government’s goal is to reduce CO2 emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

The challenge in the Faroe Islands is that the sun is insignificant and the wind cannot generate enough reliable electricity for the electricity grid. Hydropower provides about a quarter of the electricity used, but the only significant base load source is fuel oil. Rock Energy’s energy sources can reduce dependence on fuel oil in the Faroe Islands by providing renewable base load energy.

“In the energy market, there is currently a shift towards independent electricity production – completely independent. In parallel with this, there is a trend towards renewable energy production. All energy users who focus on the use of renewable energy are looking for alternatives to become independent of weather conditions and raw material prices. In addition, they dream of having accessibility around the clock. Only Rock Energy’s energy sources meet all these requirements”, says Jan Edin Evensen, CEO of Rock Energy Group.

“I am very impressed that the team at Rock Energy has succeeded in implementing this. The Faroe Islands are a very good example of a place on earth that needs “Off-grid” energy. When you can not rely 100% on sun or wind, they signal with this that they want to switch to geothermal energy from Rock / NTG. It is very promising and constitutes a fantastic start to the companies’ cooperation”, says Morten Revill, Chairman of NTG ab.

Rock Energy is a leading player in site-independent deep drilling with proprietary technologies that include several protected factory designs, innovative patented drilling and completion designs, geothermal reservoir monitoring technology and drill bit preview tools, logging, geothermal surveying and monitoring tools.

The Faroese Geological Survey studied potential geothermal resources with two wells drilled in the summer of 2014 in the Kollafjord in the middle of the main island of the Faroe Islands, north of Thorshavn.

During the last couple of years approximately 150 geothermal wells have been drilled in the Faroe Island (status as of 2015). The average depth is c. 200 m and the wells are drilled for the purpose of heating individual family houses, etc. Some of these wells are artesian. In the summer of 2014, a geothermal artesian well in the village of Kollafjørður, Streymoy hit a relatively large amount of anomalously warm water (27o C) at 117 m depth.

Initial water flow rates of 32.000 litre/hour (l/h) at first decreased relatively fast but have now (7 months later) almost stabilised at about 16.000 l/h. With the addition of 25 % of electricity power, the energy associated with this water amounts to the heating of around 150 family houses. Another artesian well, located less than 100 m from the other, also proved to produce relatively warm water, at c. 19o C, with a present flow rate of approximately 300 l/h.

Temperatures could reach 40 to 55 degrees Celsius at a depth of 1,500 to 2,000 meters.

Source:  Company release via Cision, Faroese Geological Survey 2015 report on groundwater and geothermal