France upholds geothermal; Germany project receives permit; Swiss group looking at EGS sites; UK engineers support geothermal

In Europe, France decides to ban fracking, but not geothermal techniques, noting the differences. The Taufkirchen geothermal project in Germany receives a permit. A group in Switzerland narrows three potential EGS sites. In the UK, engineers urge the government to support geothermal.


France: Court Differentiates Between Fracking and Geothermal Techniques
Germany: Taufkirchen Geothermal Project Receives Permit
Switzerland: Geo-Energie Suisse Narrows Down Three Potential EGS Sites
UK: Institution of Mechanical Engineers Urges Government to Support Geothermal

France: Court Differentiates Between Fracking and Geothermal Techniques
On October 11, France’s constitutional court upheld a ban on hydraulic fracturing, but differentiated from techniques used to stimulate geothermal systems. The court noted the ban does not apply to geothermal, upholding differences between geothermal and shale gas exploration techniques. Lawmakers sought to protect the environment. Businessweek.com

Germany: Taufkirchen Geothermal Project Receives Permit
Daldrup & Söhne, a specialized provider of drilling and environmental services, provided an update on its activities. The company is involved in geothermal projects in Germany. Daldrup acquired 40% stake in geothermal power plant in Landau. It also acquired the building permit for deep geothermal power plant in Taufkirchen, and hopes to begin operation and supply of geothermal electricity and heat in autumn 2014. Presseportal.de; Geo-energy.org, PDF

Switzerland: Geo-Energie Suisse Narrows Down Three Potential EGS Sites
Geo-Energie Suisse has three potential sites to develop Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). One possibility is Avenches, which is looking to phase out nuclear power. If an EGS project was built at Avenches, excess heat could be sold to the local district heating system. Besides Avenches, potential sites exist at Haute-Sorne in canton Jura and Etzwilen in canton Thurgau. While planning is underway, drilling bore holes would not begin before 2016. Swissinfo.ch

UK: Institution of Mechanical Engineers Urges Government to Support Geothermal
The UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers have put out a policy statement urging the government to make the geothermal market attractive for investment. The institution makes the following recommendations:

1. Make UK deep geological data available more widely and easily accessible to non-geologists, by producing and making freely available heat potential maps similar to those for heat demand already produced by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) for Combined Heat & Power.
2. Introduce licensing for geothermal heat resources and exploration risk mitigation for geothermal heat wells.
3. Secure an international treaty and structure a financially viable power purchase agreement, so that 1GW geothermal generation from Iceland can be delivered by High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) interconnector.

The statement names several potential areas for geothermal production, including Cheshire, East Yorkshire, Worcestershire, Cornwall and Northern Ireland. Imeche.org, PDF; Powerengineeringint.com

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