According to this press release, Hochtief AG , Essen, Germany-based construction contractor, is forming a venture with Renerco and SachsenFonds to build and operate a EUR 35 million (US $50 million), 5 megawatt plant at Dürrnhaar in Bavaria. For this purpose, a company called Süddeutsche Geothermie-Projekte GmbH & Co. KG (SGG) has been set up, in which Hochtief holds 40 percent of the shares. Its partners are Renerco AG (30 percent) and SachsenFonds (30 percent).
Hochtief believes that in the future, geothermal energy will play a very important role in power generation. Theoretically, geothermal energy plants could cover Germany‘s annual electricity consumption 600 times over.
Hochtief will initially focus on the growth market of geothermal energy in Germany, but international expansion is also already being considered. In addition to the business aspect, one factor which the company regards as important is the active contribution to protecting the climate. Geothermal energy power plants reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and - unlike other renewable forms of energy - produce electricity the whole year round for base load capacity.
Left - Base map of areas with potential for hydrogeothermal exploitation: regions with aquifers with temperatures exceeding 100 °C (red), exceeding 60 °C (yellow); 100 °C is required for power generation, 60 °C for direct thermal exploitation. Based on data from deep boreholes, which by context appears to be greater than 400 meters.
By constructing the facility in Bavaria, Hochtief is positioning itself in good time for the growing geothermal energy market. With its partners, the company plans to build and operate further power plants of this kind, each with an output of four to five megawatts in the South German Molasse basin, where SGG already has the necessary permits. These projects will involve the close networking of the competencies of various Hochtief subsidiaries. Hochtief PPP Solutions is project developer and investor. Another subsidiary, Streif Baulogistik, is investing in a 52-meter tall drilling apparatus, which it has developed jointly with the firm of Herrenknecht. Hochtief Construction will be responsible for building the power plants and drilling the boreholes, which are up to 5,000 meters deep.
I don't know what type of geothermal resource that Hochtief plans on using, but in my limited research I did not find much in the way of conventional geothermal resources in Germany that are suitable for producing electricity, (> 85°C-100°C), nor in most of Europe except Italy. I did find this very recent map, above, of geothermal energy in Germany which they said was based on data from deep boreholes (>400 meters?). I also found the map on the previous page, of resources for Hot Dry Rock (HDR)/Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) in Europe, which shows considerable potential for geothermal using this new technology. I wonder if this is the type of resource that they plan on tapping? They have the capability to drill boreholes up to 5,000 meters deep which is suitable for EGS systems. Does anyone in the blogosphere have any further information on geothermal resources in Europe or the Molasse basin in particular.