Geothermal boom in Germany

In the spring, the gigawatt limit is exceeded for the first time

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The use of geothermal heat is booming: in 2006 alone, 24, 000 new plants were installed in private homes, commercial buildings and public facilities - at least twice as many as in the previous year. For the first time ever, a record has come within reach: More than one gigawatt of heat is expected to be generated from geothermal resources in Germany this spring.

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These are numbers that we would not have expected so many years ago, "explains Simone Probst, President of the German Geothermal Association (GtV-BV). "An increase of 100 percent - that's what an industry has to cope with for now. If the trend continues, geothermal energy is well on the way to becoming Germany's most important source of heat in the medium term, "says Probst, assessing the future of geothermal energy use.

Skilled labor shortage as a drag?

But it is not yet time. Because especially the drilling company is currently preparing the blatant lack of skilled workers of great concern. For the construction of geothermal probes alone, staff in four-digit sizes are being sought, explains Ralf Schramedei. The head of the section "near-surface geothermal energy" of the GtV-BV explains that the industry has to invest more in new drilling rigs in order to meet the demand of the population at all. GtV-BV assumes that more than 100, 000 plants are currently installed in the area of ‚Äč‚Äčnear-surface geothermal energy. Every month at least 2, 000 new ones are added. The tendency is rising. Nearly 80 megawatts of power are also provided from geothermal district heating networks. Again, the trend is pointing upwards.

For example, three new geothermal power plants will be commissioned this year in Bruchsal, Landau / Pfalz and Unterhaching, which will not only generate electricity, but will also use heat at the same time. In addition, the geothermal heating plant in Erding has to double its capacity due to strong demand. In Neuruppin in the state of Brandenburg, another facility is being built in connection with a hotel and leisure complex. "Rising energy prices and high security of supply make the deep resources more and more interesting, " says Horst Kreuter, head of the section "Deep Geothermal Energy". "There is an urgent need for further powerful drilling rigs in this area as well. But these are in high demand worldwide. Fortunately, we have innovative machine builders who have come to the market with forward-looking plant concepts, "says Kreuter. display

Improved technology has its price

Recent technical developments have led to a significant improvement in the overall efficiency of geothermal systems in recent years. "With them, you can largely and independently of the rising costs of fossil fuels, " says Schramedei. However, customers would have to be careful to have the equipment built according to the state of the art. "You can not point that out clearly enough. Cheap is often quickly expensive, "says the geothermal expert. GtV-BV therefore offers a free brochure "Geothermal probes - Tips for home builders", which contains the most important basic information.

(Geothermal Association eV - Federal Geothermal Association, 20.02.2007 - AHE)