Geothermal energy is when heat from below the ground is pumped upwards.
Geothermal energy can be used as a form of renewable heat when it is pumped upwards. It can also be used to produce electricity by drilling wells into the underground reservoirs and use the steam and water to move turbines.
Compared to North America and Asia, the geothermal potential in OECD Europe (including Germany) is markedly smaller and restricted to certain attractive regions, where good energy yields with high temperatures can be achieved. For example, around half of Iceland’s electricity comes from geothermal energy because of its volcanic activity.
Geothermal energy in Germany
Germany also has geothermal resources, but not to the same extent as other European countries. Growth of geothermal electricity generation is therefore expected to be significantly slower than for wind and solar.The first geothermal power plant in Germany went into operation in 2003, though it has not yet led to many subsequent projects. In 2017, 4,600 megawatts of geothermal heating power were installed, and 38 megawatts for electricity. Over the course of the year, 1.3 million euros were invested in geothermal power.
The general public remains concerned about microseismic activity, noise, and impacts on groundwater. Early community involvement, careful siting of the power plants, and the best available exploration and operation technology are therefore crucial to minimize risks and increase acceptance.