Contracting Party:   Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany

Executive Committee Member: Manuela Richter, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany

Alternate Member:   Andreas Koch, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany

Germany has three regions that are particularly well situated for geothermal energy use: the North German Basin, the Upper Rhine Graben, and the South German Molasse Basin. Each of these regions has characteristic features that pose different challenges for using geothermal heat. The main features of the thermal water in the North German Basin are its moderate flow rates and temperatures and in places very high salinity; whereas in the South German Molasse Basin there are some high flow rates, high temperatures and generally low salinity. The heterogeneous geology and numerous fault zones of the Upper Rhine Graben make it more difficult to develop; but, its high temperatures and flow rates mean it has good, possibly even the best, conditions in Germany for commercial use of geothermal energy.

A shift in emphasis is occurring in Germany with geothermal energy increasing being considered as heat for city and district heating networks rather than for electricity generation.

In 2019 there were 37 geothermal production operations across Germany with an installed capacity of 337 megawatts (thermal). Nine of these facilities generate electricity (capacity of around 37 MWe) either exclusively or supplementary to heat supply.

Stadtwerke München (SWM) is working to provide the entire district heating for Munich from renewable energy by 2040, with the majority being from geothermal energy. Project GeoMARE, initiated in 2018 is targeting adaptation of the citywide heating infrastructure along with sustainable reservoir management for a 400 MW geothermal heat supply.  Six successful wells have been drilled from April 2018 to the end of 2019 at SWM’s Schäftlarnstraße geothermal project, with this project scheduled to supply geothermal heat to 80,000 residents by 2021.

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