SWM and Erdwärme Grünwald partner on additional joint geothermal development

SWM and Erdwärme Grünwald partner on additional joint geothermal development View over Munich, Germany (source: Praxisforum Geothermie.Bayern/ Enerchange)
Alexander Richter 12 Aug 2022

Stadtwerke München (SWM) and local geothermal company Erdwärme Grünwald announce plans for a new geothermal plant to be developed in a joint venture.

In a release shared today, the city utility of Munich, Stadtwerke München (SWM) and local geothermal company Erdwärme Grünwald (EWG) announce an expansion of their cooperation.

Both companies recognized the geothermal potential years ago and have already developed projects in eight locations. These are lined up in the south-east of Munich like a string of pearls and take advantage of the special geological situation of the region. Thousands of households, companies, schools and municipal facilities are already being supplied via the district heating networks of the two companies.

The companies now announce plans for the development of another geothermal plant in a joint venture and significantly expand their district heating networks. As a result, significantly more customers can be connected to geothermal energy.

At least one geothermal system and strong grid expansion

So far, the cooperation between EWG and SWM has focused on the underground. The results of extensive seismic measurements on thermal water deposits south of Munich are promising. Based on these evaluations, SWM and EWG intend to construct a new geothermal plant south of Grünwald. From here, further potential in the region could be tapped.

Another focus of the cooperation is the distribution of heat in the district heating networks of Grünwald, Munich and Unterhaching. In Grünwald and Unterhaching, the task is to meet the growing demand for district heating. In Munich, the additionally fed-in geothermal energy is helping to promote the transformation of district heating. The necessary transport lines between the plants and networks are now to be built together. This link also increases the security of supply in the district heating areas, for example in the event of planned and unplanned interruptions elsewhere.  

Andreas Lederle, Managing Director of EWG: “The geothermal plants should line up like a string of pearls. Networked in this way, the regional energy from the depths ensures a safe and reliable supply of heat for the people in the region permanently and independently of fossil fuels.”

Helge-Uve Braun: “The string of pearls will be something very special and will raise previous projects to a new level. A district heating pipeline where geothermal plants ‘shake hands’ and jointly transport the heat to different networks has never existed on this scale.”

Project status and common next steps

The underground investigations have already been completed and the contract for the feasibility studies of the district heating pipes has been issued. It should now be clarified how existing and new locations can best be connected. It is also important to find technical solutions for difficult areas, such as water protection areas or railway lines. SWM and EWG are breaking new ground with the Perlenseil project. Both are confident that they can benefit from decades of experience.

Andreas Lederle: “The project is now entering an exciting phase. We are used to building geothermal plants. But the networking of several systems and district heating networks over sometimes long distances with different conditions due to the size of the networks, that becomes a high art. The positive experiences from the successful geothermal grid connection between Grünwald and Unterhaching are helpful for us here.”

Helge-Uve Braun, Technical SWM Managing Director: “There are certainly still a few hurdles that need to be overcome. The study will show how. But we are certain that we will master it.”

This project and the wider geothermal activities will be discussed at the 10th Praxisforum Geothermie.Bayern, Oct. 5-7, 2022.

Source: SWM