Against a background of fossil fuel depletion and soaring prices, geothermal offers encouraging prospects for controlled energy costs in the medium to long terms. Still a low-profile technology at present, geothermal is defined as a renewable, local and eco-friendly source of energy that is simultaneously efficient and economical. It shows considerable potential for heat and power generation.
ENGIE develops its geothermal interests in France and worldwide
In France, ENGIE geothermal projects are the responsibility of its subsidiary company ENGIE Réseaux, which in December last year set to work on a large-scale heat generation pilot scheme in the Paris Region.
Acting on behalf of the towns of Arcueil and Gentilly, SIPPEREC (the Outer Paris Joint Authority Syndicate for Power and Communication Networks) has contracted ENGIE Réseaux to construct and operate an extensive district heating network (for space heating and domestic hot water) built around geothermal technology.
This drilling project marks the rebirth of geothermal in the Paris Region. It is the largest undertaken in the region for more than 30 years, and will eventually provide heating for 10,000 homes in Arcueil and Gentilly. The facility will be operated by ARGÉO, a subsidiary of ENGIE Réseaux (ENGIE Group).
After Arcueil-Gentilly, it’s the turn of Rosny-sous-Bois and Noisy-le-Sec to get their own geothermal district heating network: work began on the YGéo project at the beginning of November this year. This ambitious long-term project is designed to meet the space heating and domestic hot water needs of around 10,300 homes from 2016 onwards.
Could Indonesia have its first power generating plant by the end of this year?
ENGIE is also developing geothermal technologies for power generation. The initial experiments are being conducted in Indonesia. With 140 active volcanoes, this country offers the highest level of geothermal potential on the planet, with 40% of global reserves.
The first drilling projects undertaken in 2012 and 2013 by ENGIE/Sumitomo Corporation joint venture PT Supreme Energy Muara Laboh (SEML) at Muaralaboh in Western Sumatra have confirmed the existence of a high-temperature reservoir (above 200°C).
ENGIE is also conducting a geothermal exploration project at Rantau Dedap, 225 km from the South Sumatran provincial capital of Palembang. The concession was granted to the consortium formed by ENGIE, PT Supreme Energy and Marubeni. With a target capacity of 240 MW, the project is expected to generate geothermal power for more than 30 years, supplying the electricity needs of some 480,000 households and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 1.1 million metric tons per year. ENGIE also has two other geothermal exploration projects in Indonesia: one at Muaralaboh in Western Sumatra, and the Rajabasa project at the Southern tip of the island.