On 21 January 2016 a seminar was held at Priva in De Lier with the title ‘Geothermal energy, how difficult can this be?!’ Geology and engineering, as well as all the financing, success factors, benefits and risks associated with geothermal projects, were discussed extensively during the seminar.

Coen Leo, manager at PanTerra Geoconsultants, has many years of experience in geology. He explained why you can’t simply start drilling at random locations. He summarised the numerous risks in the fields of geology, engineering and operations and discussed how these could be kept in check. According to Leo, there are abundant opportunities in the Westland and Oostland regions for new geothermal projects. ‘The 70 megawatts that six working doublets can currently produce could be increased to 324, based on the available space below ground.’

Peter de Vreede, a geothermal heat specialist at Flynth, zoomed in on the organisational and financial factors and risks associated with geothermal heat. ‘As a grower, you need neighbours who will join you in setting up such a large-scale project. The project organisation and management of a geothermal heat cluster are key success factors.’ With regard to finances, it become clear that SDE Renewable Energy Production Incentive programme was highly relevant, while the MEI Market Introduction Energy Innovations programme will no longer apply to geothermal heat.

Frans-Peter Dechering, general manager at Priva, appealed to growers to stop focusing exclusively on the financial side of the matter. ‘Customers, society and nature are factors that cannot be overlooked. Consider the possibility of supplying the residential market with geothermal heat. Another factor associated with geothermal heat is its smaller carbon footprint. Besides this, it will help us decrease our reliance on oil.’

‘Not geology, but a crystal ball’

Jos Scheffers spoke of his experiences with the Green Well Westland project, a geothermal heat well to which ten growers are connected. ‘You can’t rely on geology; it’s more like gazing into crystal ball: the initial results remain unpredictable for a very long period of time,’ according to the entrepreneur. ‘You never know in advance what your flow rate per m3 per hour will be.’ Nevertheless, Scheffers is highly satisfied with the ultimate result. ‘Until today, this project has covered six years in which we have had to deal with numerous surprises. However, if asked, I would gladly do it all over again.’ He would, however, spend a little more time on choosing his materials. ‘You call in external advice because you don’t have the expertise you need. Based on what I know now, I would have made different choices.’

The seminar’s organisers PanTerra, Flynth, Priva and the Platform for Geothermal Energy look back in satisfaction at a successful event, with a full hall and plenty of interaction and in which a great deal of knowledge was shared.

Source/photo: Priva.