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Geothermal Energy Use

Position Paper of the BUND Rheinland-Pfalz as decided at the State Assembly in Wittlich, 2002.


  • This paper references deep geothermal energy use (+100m depth). Near-surface geothermal energy is covered in the “Heat Pump” leaflet.
  • The use of geothermal energy is similar to other renewable energy sources, in that, it is particularly useful when the total consumption decreases parallel to an increase in production. The savings are shown in numerous studies to be substantial (50%).
  • The promotion of renewable energy is essential.
  • The advantages of renewable energy are found in the supply-and-demand models and in resource conservation.
  • The use of geothermal energy can make a remarkable contribution to carbon dioxide reduction and thus hinder global climate change, and geothermal facilities produce little waste.
  • In the presence of locally available energy (sufficiently high temperatures at +100m depth), geothermal energy can strengthen the economy, create jobs and increase exports.

Requirements posed by the BUND

  • To asses the effectiveness of such a facility, a full energy and ecological balance must be preformed, including the affects on groundwater ecosystems.
  • Nature and the landscape should be as little affected as possible and the facility size should be kept to a minimum.
  • BUND accepts the use of pure heat in many situations, including power generation, but the non-use of waste heat can only be approved in exceptional cases.
  • The cooling of groundwater is not acceptable.
  • On-site verifications are needed to ensure compliance with the Nature Protection Act.
  • Disturbances through the use of geothermal energy can not be avoided completely, but can be reduced to an acceptable level with consistent application of new technologies and legal policies.
  • Stalinization of surface water from deep well water is a risk, as are chemical contaminations (Boron) and land subsidence. Safety measures must be ensured and adequate.
  • Sulfur emissions must be limited, primarily by using secondary-fluid systems.
  • Areas with high water permeability, high layer separation of the rock or rock strata and un-sealable water layers should not be considered.
  • Constructing drinking water catchments and spas from geothermal discharge is not acceptable.
  • During the drilling phase, attention should be paid to noise and pollutant emissions.

Produced by the BUND Energy Working Group Rheinland-Pfalz

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