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Stakeholders seeking engagement on geothermal project by Shell and Engie in the Netherlands

Houses in Barendrecht, Netherlands (source: flickr/ bertknot, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 20 May 2020

While positive received locally, stakeholders request engagement on public support on a permit sought for geothermal exploration by Shell and Engie in Berendrecht, Netherlands.

Reported locally, stakeholders in the area of Barendrecht have decided to make use of the advisory right under the Mining Act on a permit application by Shell and Engie for exploration for geothermal.

The application has been submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and concerns an exploration of a test location for geothermal energy in areas including Barendrecht.

The Commission is positive, but advises the parties to come up with a detailed plan based on broad public support. The plan must also demonstrate that there is an advantage for the residents.

The municipality of Barendrecht is positive about initiatives for the detection and extraction of this geothermal energy and positive about the request from Shell and Engie: “An important part of the energy transition is making the heat supply more sustainable. Geothermal energy can be a good sustainable alternative to natural gas for heating homes, offices, factories and commercial buildings.”  The heat extracted from geothermal energy can be supplied via the existing or still to be installed heat networks.

The region has a large supply of residual heat from the industry in the port of Rotterdam. This can be further supplemented with heat from the underground. With a view to the future, the municipality wants to cooperate under certain conditions in providing space for the search for a (test) location and possible drilling location (s) at a later stage. The conditions are stated in the Barendrechtse ‘Policy Vision on the Barendrecht Subsurface’. An important point in this vision is that the parties involve stakeholders in the initiative at an early stage.

Participation with the environment is very important to the Barendrecht city council, especially when it comes to working in the subsurface. Shell and Engie must therefore submit a detailed participation plan that describes who is involved in the plans, when and how. The advantage for Barendrechters with regard to the proposed activities will also have to be demonstrated.

Finally, the Barendrecht college asks for further elaboration of the plans to consult with the decentralized authorities in time to arrive at a supported image of drilling location (s) for the exploration and extraction of geothermal energy.

The landscape integration of the eventual extraction location is also an important factor for the success of the plans. What is geothermal energy? Geothermal energy is the extraction of heat from the underground to heat homes, offices, greenhouses and industry. The naturally present warm water is pumped up from the substrate and pumped back after the heat has been removed. So no material is removed from the substrate.

Source: Barendrecht Now