Danish parliament avoids political stance on geothermal heating

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Christiansborg, Copenhagen, Denmark (source: flickr / Maria Eklind, creative commons)

The expected negotiations for geothermal energy as part of Denmark’s broader energy strategy have been postponed again with growing industry weariness given the uncertainties.

Great efforts have been made to bring geothermal development to Denmark and there was hope that the sector could finally see a kick-off to do its part in bringing climate-friendly geothermal heating to the country. Now, although it appears, the geothermal negotiations under the new energy deals have been postponed again, as reported JV in Denmark.

In the current climate agreement of June 22, 2020, it was agreed that the parties behind the agreement should be summoned for further negotiations in the second half of 2020.

“Future-proof economic regulations that take into account Denmark’s new climate goals and ensure efficiency and future consumer-friendly prices. The geothermal energy framework must also be taken into account, ”thus discussed in the text of last year’s agreement.

The crux of the matter seems to be the regulation of the district heating sector and the future economic framework conditions for geothermal heating.

The director of Sønderborg Varme has been waiting for clarification since the fall. The company has developed and operated a geothermal heating plant (Geotermi Spang) in partnership with the Danish energy company DONG. Based on seismic studies, two wells were drilled in 2010. Later, Sønderborg Varme also became the owner. With challenges for the injection well, the plant has not produced heat since 2019. The wells were drilled to a depth of 1,200 meters, with a distance between the two of 840 meters. The temperature derived from the production well was 48 degrees Celsius. The company believes have found a solution to the reinjection well allowing them to restart the project, but the economics are not clear given the current uncertainties on the policy.

Sønderborg: Originally, it was planned that the Folketing’s (Danish parliament) climate, energy and supply committee would discuss a new energy agreement and therefore also a framework for geothermal heat in fall 2020. However, it has been postponed to the second quarter of 2021. However, committee members still do not have a notice.

We would like the negotiations to start, also at a not too slow pace, it seems diplomatic on the part of Carsten Kissmeyer, one of the committee members of the Liberal Party.

However, he doubts that will happen before the summer break, and when it does, geothermal energy is unlikely to be high on the agenda.
We have to tackle many other complicated issues, such as the electrification plan and the management of the district heating sector. And in general, we in the Liberal Party are not interested in giving too many grants. As far as we’re concerned, geothermal energy only comes into play if it makes sense, he says.

Potential in heat

For its part, Unity List wants to support geothermal power plants: we have done this several times, and we would like to do it again. Because there is enormous potential in geothermal energy, especially in Jutland and Copenhagen, underlines the party’s representative on the committee, Søren Egge Rasmussen.

He mentions that plans are underway in both Aarhus and Aalborg for the establishment of geothermal power plants, which also depend on forthcoming framework agreements. Therefore, the Unit List will fight for geothermal energy to be on the agenda: According to the agreement , we need to look at the framework conditions for geothermal energy if the current conditions are not good enough. So we will continue with this, he said.

Like repairing a car

But time goes by, and it annoys Sønderborg Varme director Erik Wolff: It has long been said that you would look at the region, but that does not happen. The region is not getting the attention it deserves, he believes.

So why not just invest in getting the Spang plant back online, no matter what politicians end up agreeing on?

Because it’s consumer money. It can be compared to a broken down car. It may well be that it can be fixed here and now for a reasonable price. But if oil prices double soon, one has to wonder if the money is not better spent elsewhere, he replies.

Since May 12, JydskeVestkysten has tried to get the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Supply to indicate when the ministry intends to convene negotiations on the framework agreement.

Despite several requests, both written and oral, we were unable to obtain an answer, nor to know if geothermal energy will be part of the negotiations.

Source: JV.dk


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