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Hot spots with potential in Bavaria, Germany – geothermal not covid-19

View over Munich, Germany (source: Praxisforum Geohtermie.Bayern/ Enerchange)
Alexander Richter 21 Oct 2020

The hot spots of geothermal energy development in the state of Bavaria, Germany were highlighted at the recent Praxisforum Geothermie Bayern, the key event for the sector in the region.

Whoever speaks of a hotspot does not necessarily mean the coronavirus and locally skyrocketing infection numbers, so an article in local news paper Sueddeutsche Zeitung this week.

Jochen Schneider, Managing Director of Enerchange GmbH, sees Bavaria in Germany as a “hotspot”. He describes a total of 23 geothermal systems in the region such as in Unterschleissheim, Unterhaching or Pullach. There, hot water has been pumped from the depths of the earth and used for electricity production and heat supply for years. The district in particular is a hotspot for Schneider, because the experience with geothermal energy here is just as great as the potential for further expansion.

Last week, the Bavarian geothermal community met in the Pullach at the Praxisforum Geothermie Bayern to evaluate the current situation for the sector in times of an intensifying fight against the climate crisis, which many consider to be the real major challenge.

Erdwärme Grünwald took this opportunity to receive the “Bavarian Geothermal Energy Prize” for its geothermal plant in Unterhaching, which it took over in 2017. “In the usage association with Unterhaching, you have significantly increased the potential of the association,” said Jörg Uhde from Pfalzwerke Geofuture GmbH in his laudatory speech about the reorientation of the company. The Managing Director of Erdwärme Grünwald, Andreas Lederle was modest and said: “Another crucial point is that we do not use the maximum heat output.” A “constant and reliable” delivery to customers is important.

Grünwald and Unterhaching also have turbulent years behind them. We are currently looking forward to some stable income. Elsewhere, changes are still pending because the Stadtwerke München (SWM), a major player, is planning new systems, expanding existing systems and wanting to establish district heating networks. Jochen Schneider from Enerchange considers the commitment of SWM in the Munich area with the plants in Sauerlach, Dürrnhaar and Kirchstockach and the cooperation with Innovative Energie Pullach (IEP) to be unique in Europe.

The expansion of heat use is the topic of the hour. However, the question arises when an investment is profitable. The SWM always warn against excessive expectations, especially in the Munich area. Maximilian Keim, who is researching the expansion of deep geothermal energy in Bavaria by optimizing interconnected lines at the Technical University of Munich, presented 99 cluster regions in Bavaria in Pullach that would be suitable for district heating in terms of their heat density. The technical potential would correspond to 40 percent of the heating requirement in Bavaria, 80 percent could be covered in areas with district heating. Keim explained in several scenarios how the geothermal potential can be optimally used through composite lines.

Jochen Schneider from Enerchange observes that the gold rush mood of earlier years in the Munich district has given way to sober consideration. Most of the 16 new plants that are being planned in Bavaria are located in southeast Bavaria, which, like the Munich region, is located in the “Bavarian Power Belt”. In Garching an der Alz, for example, a geothermal power plant is due to go into operation in November.

In the district of Munich, the SWM are evaluating a seismic investigation and are planning a drilling in Baierbrunn together with the IEP. Schneider is relying on expanding existing systems based on the model of SWM in Munich-Sendling, where six wells were drilled in one place. At the meeting in Pullach, IEP Managing Director Helmut Mangold compared all the potentials with the funding conditions: “Under fair framework conditions, geothermal energy can already undercut the heating costs of fossil fuels today.”

Source: Sueddeutsche Zeitung