Updates on drilling at Lavey-les-Bains geothermal project, Switzerland
Directional drilling will now commence at the geothermal well at Lavey-les-Bains, Switzerland to a potential maximum depth of 3000 meters.
A feature article by Simon Bradley published in SwissInfo provides a brief update on the progress of drilling work at the geothermal project in Lavey-les-Bains, Switzerland. Vertical drilling has now been completed to a depth of 1,800 meters. Drilling will now continue at an angle down to 2,500 meters with the option to continue to 3,000 meters if flowrates and temperatures are not satisfactory.
We had previously reported on the start of drilling for this project back in January 2022. The Lavey-les-Bains geothermal project is being developed by Alpine Geothermal Power Production (AGEPP), aiming to harness water with at least 110 degrees Celsium temperature and 40 liters per second of flowrate.
“It’s progressing well,” commented AGEPP Director Jean-François Pilet. “At the start it was very slow but now things are accelerating slightly.”
When the drilling is completed in 2024, the project is envisioned to supply electricity to around 1000 homes. Heat will also be supplied to other facilities including the spa centre in Lavey, greenhouses, and fish farms. Some of the heat will be directed to the municipalities of Lavey-Morcles and Saint-Maurice.
Opening the doors
If successful, the Lavey-les-Bains geothermal project will be the first operational deep geothermal project in the Deep Alps. It is also expected to open the doors for more geothermal development in Rhône Valley, which is believed to be hosting a significant geothermal resource. In the long run, geothermal will become a key component of Switzerland’s energy mix along other renewable options like solar, wind, and biomass.
Currently, only medium-depth geothermal projects have been implemented in Switzerland. These supply about 1.3% of the country’s heating needs. With renewed interest and state support via subsidies, geothermal projects have been planned or executed all across Switzerland – in Jura, Vaud, Geneva, Basel, and Thurgau just to name a few places.
Both the Geothermie Schweiz (Geothermal Switzerland) and the Government of Switzerland have expressed optimism about the future of the country’s geothermal industry. It is expected that geothermal will supply at least a quarter of the country’s heating needs and 7% of the national electricity demand by 2050.