A group of Swiss energy companies are working on a pilot project for a geothermal power plant of up to 5 MW in the canton of Jura which could become the Alpine country's first planned power plant using deep geothermal energy.
The plant will be located in the municipality of Haute-Sorne which has already approved the initiative. The canton of Jura also gave the green light at the end of June.
The pilot project will be implemented by GEO-Energie Suisse AG (GES), a joint venture between various Swiss energy companies, in three phases -- exploration, stimulation, and construction and operation. Eventually, the site is expected to generate up to 40 GWh of energy annually.
Zurich-based utility EWZ, a shareholder in GES, will provide CHF 9 million (USD 9.21m/EUR 9.15m) to back the first phase of the project which will take place between 2022 and 2025.
Construction work on the site is likely to begin in 2028 with commissioning expected in 2029.
Commenting on the project, Michael Baumer, a member of Zurich's City Council, said that the goal is to use the latest technical innovations so that the city of Zurich can achieve its net-zero target and increase the security of supply. Deep geothermal energy can help bridge the winter power shortage in Switzerland, complementing other renewable energy sources such as wind and sun, Baumer added.
If successful, the project is expected to give the technology a boost and promote the use of deep geothermal energy in Switzerland.
Currently, geothermal heat generation in the country totals 4 TWh a year and comes mainly from the shallow area. It is used predominantly to heat single-family homes and buildings.
According to the Swiss Geothermal Association, Switzerland has the potential to generate at least 17 TWh of heat annually from geothermal energy which would be enough to completely replace gas imports from Russia and meet a quarter of the heat demand in the Alpine country.
(CHF 1 = USD 1.024/EUR 1.017)
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