Study confirms great geothermal heating potential for Geneva, Switzerland

Study confirms great geothermal heating potential for Geneva, Switzerland Geneva, Switzerland (source: flickr/ Dennis Jarvis, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 12 May 2016

Studies of the geothermal potential in the canton of Geneva in Switzerland confirm great resources for heating, that could meet the heating demand for up to two thirds of households in the region.

Reported this week, a recent study for the canton of Geneva in Switzerland has confirmed a geothermal heating potential that could heat up to two thirds of households in Geneva and some communities in the canton of Vaudoises.

The past two years, studies using truck vibrators have been conducted to identify the most promising areas for geothermal development.  “This survey has identified five very conducive to heat zones ranging capture water at medium depth,” said Christian Brunier, CEO of SIG, in the presence of state councilors Antonio Hodgers and Luc Barthassat .

These five areas are Champagne, an area extending from Troinex Veyrier-in Meyrin, a vast area ranging from Puplinge Versoix going under the lake, the Three Oak region and finally that of Mandement. In addition, four bodies of water lying in shallow water, also usable, were identified.

A detailed prospecting phase could be starting this year. With matched control drilling it is hoped to confirm the initial assessment.

But the CEO is optimistic: “This is an encouraging first step. SIG will be able to develop medium-term heating and cooling systems supplied with hot water, renewable energy, locally produced and environmentally friendly. ”

For the first objective of the vast program called GEothermie 2020 is to be able to spend as much as possible for fossil fuels to heat homes. “If the initial results are confirmed, heating for two thirds of household could be covered by geothermal energy,” said Antonio Hodgers, State Councilor in charge of Energy.

However, it will still take a few years. Exploratory drilling will be starting in 2018. The first systems could start by 2020. The first to benefit could be ew neighboruhoods that are within the defined areas or nearby. (Infographics available via link below)

SIG is stating that there is no risk of earthquakes, similar to what happened in Basel and St. Gallen at similar projects. There is no rush and the development would take every precaution. No drilling is expected in areas of groundwater and seismic sensors will control all activities.

As the projects would not seek high temperatures needed for electricity generation, but looking for lower heat resources for heating purposes, it is not necessary to drill up to 3,000 meters. But this could follow later, when there is more experience with the resource.

To continue on the path of geothermal, Geneva must adapt its legislation. “A revision of the mining law will soon be submitted to the State Council, concluded Luc Barthassat. This text aims to ensure an adequate legal framework for the sustainable exploitation of resources found beneath our feet. ”

Source: Tribune de Geneve