Bern, 30.06.2020 - The Confederation increases the exploration grant for the deep geothermal pilot project of Geo-Energie Suisse AG at Haute-Sorne (Canton Jura) from around CHF 64 to 90 million, writes the Swiss Federal Council.
This will support additional measures to minimise earthquake risks. The geothermal power plant will have a maximum capacity of 5 megawatts and will produce electricity for around 6,000 households from geothermal energy stored in granitic rock.
The pilot project in Haute-Sorne intends to demonstrate the technical feasibility of enhanced geothermal systems in Switzerland and, at a later stage, to enable this technology to be used in other parts of Switzerland. In September 2019, the SFOE had already awarded the project in Haute-Sorne an exploration grant of at most CHF 64.1 million.These additional measures were recommended by the Swiss Seismological Service (SED).
Last year, the Canton of Jura commissioned the SED to review a report of Geo-Energie Suisse AG on earthquake risk management for the Haute-Sorne Project. Geo-Energie Suisse AG had to prepare this report in the follow-up of a damaging earthquake triggered in November 2017 by stimulation measures in a geothermal energy project in South Korea.
The currently valid cantonal permit requires that the seismic risk management to go beyond the state of the art. This includes analysing events in other projects and, depending on the results of the analysis, making adjustments to Geo-Energie Suisse AG’s risk management.The SED recommended additional measures that go beyond the current state of knowledge and technology.
These measures have an innovative and pilot character, as they are not yet used in enhanced geothermal energy projects.Geo-Energie Suisse AG intends to implement the recommendations of the SED in order to further reduce the risk of damage from earthquakes. This will lead to additional costs totalling around CHF 43 million.
Specifically, the additional measures are:The application by Geo-Energie Suisse AG was examined in detail by a group of experts mandated by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE). The group of experts certified that the project planning is of high-quality, which now includes everything humanly possible to reduce the earthquake risk as far as possible.Based on the expert opinion and the importance of deep geothermal energy for the implementation of the Energy Strategy 2050, the SFOE has now increased the geothermal energy exploration contribution of Geo-Energie Suisse AG by around CHF 26 million to CHF 90 million.
Payment will be made in stages, depending on the progress of the work..
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