Münster, Germany utility acquires rights for geothermal extraction

Münster, Germany utility acquires rights for geothermal extraction Stadtwerke Münster main building, Münster, Germany (source: Stadtwerke Münster)
Carlo Cariaga 18 Nov 2022

Stadtwerke Münster has taken an important step forward in providing geothermal district heating in Münster, Germany, yet a lot of work remains.

Stadtwerke Münster, the municipal utility company of the city of Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany has taken an important step toward geothermal district heating with the acquisition of exclusive rights to the extraction of deep geothermal energy under the mining law. However, there is plenty of work that needs to be done to attain the target of supplying geothermal heat to the Münster grid by 2030.

The next steps for geothermal development in Münster have been proposed with the release of the first results of 2D seismic investigations done in the NRW region and concluded in the autumn of 2022. With support from research partner Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Energy (Fraunhofer IEG), Stadtwerke Münster is taking measures to analyze subsurface data and mitigate the geological and economic risks of the project.

“The first results show that at a depth of up to 6,000 meters three promising layers of limestone lie on top of each other. From a geological point of view, this is a very good starting point for the extraction of geothermal energy,” says Professor Rolf Bracke, head of the Fraunhofer IEG.

To address project risks, Stadtwerke Münster is now planning another seismic survey to further refine the still-rough picture of the subsurface. In favor of nature conservation, the earliest possible date for this would be the end of 2023.  Only with the refined seismic data will the utility company decide on an initial test drilling plan.

Anticipating further work in planning, approval processes, and more drilling, the utility company states that geothermal heating will be available by 2030 at the earliest. “Deep geothermal energy offers great opportunities for climate-neutral heat, but it is not for the impatient, said Markus Bieder, Head of Renewable Heat and Power Generation at Stadtwerke Münster.

Less than a month ago, the city council of Münster expressed support to geothermal heating in the city through a unanimous vote in favor of committing to geothermal energy. The Geological Service of North Rhine-Westphalia had previously attested that Münster and the Münsterland region was a good site for the use of geothermal energy.

Source: Stadtwerke Münster