geothermal

Green Light for Geothermal Project in Haute-Sorne, Switzerland

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Following the positive decision on the deep geothermal project in January this year, subject to agreement on additional safety requirements, the canton of Jura, Geo-Energie Suisse and Geo-Energie Jura have signed a comprehensive agreement. 
Green Light for Geothermal Project in Haute-Sorne, Switzerland
Courtesy of Geo-Energie Suisse

The parties were able to agree on all points raised by the canton of Jura, with the concerns of the local population and local companies being taken into account in particular. The pioneering geothermal project in Haute-Sorne can be started.Step-by-step approach for maximum security.

Step-by-step approach for maximum security

"In the pilot project in Haute-Sorne, with the help of stimulated geothermal systems, renewable and CO2-neutral geothermal heat is to be used to produce electricity and heat," explained Dr. Peter Meier the long-term goal and adds, "For the population in the Haute-Sorne region and also for the future of this technology in other places in Switzerland, it is crucial to focus on safety." 

The agreement regulates the additional safety requirements of the cantonal government and the monitoring of the project by an independent group of experts. The geophysical measurement campaign, which will be used as a supplement during the exploration drilling, offers an additional safety net in this phase.

 “The exploratory drilling allows the nature of the subsoil to be determined down to the final depth of 4 to 5 kilometers to be precisely explored. Irrespective of the further course of the project and the geothermal aspects, it will bring a lot of valuable geological knowledge to the Jura arc between Geneva and Basel," said Meier. 

However, the main objective of the reconnaissance drilling and stimulation tests is to carefully evaluate the seismic risk of stimulation measures and the chances of success of the project. The decisions about a possible second well, stimulation of the subsoil to form an underground reservoir and the final construction of the power plant are only made after careful analysis of the measurement data. T

he latest experience of Geo-Energie Suisse from the successful tests of the multi-stage stimulation concept in the ETH Zurich rock laboratory in Bedretto (TI) will also flow into the Haute-Sorne project. The same applies to the knowledge gained in the FORGE project in Utah by the US Department of Energy.

Great potential for the region

With the agreement, the parties involved are making a key contribution to an extensive regional investment project, strengthening Switzerland's innovative strength and actively supporting the implementation of the Energy Strategy 2050. In addition, the forward-looking geothermal project generates substantial local and regional added value as well as national and international attention. 

After its successful commissioning, the geothermal power plant will produce clean electricity and renewable heat for the region with an output of up to 5 megawatts and thus make a long-term contribution to the security of supply with constant, CO2-free base energy.


Transparent information

Geo-Energie Suisse AG and Geo-Energie Jura SA attach great importance to comprehensive, transparent and dialogue-oriented information for the population. The information and monitoring commission, which the canton is expected to set up by autumn and will bring together representatives of the canton, the municipality, the population, associations, the project organization and the federal government, will make a key contribution to this. 

The focus is on comprehensible explanations about the various project stages, their respective goals, the possible risks and the safety precautions taken. Also by autumn of this year, the federal government will set up an additional patronage committee with representatives from the federal government and the canton. This gives the national character of the pilot project even more weight and also emphasizes its great appeal and importance for the sustainable, climate-neutral Swiss energy future.

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