As we have been facing a growing demand for electricity for several decades and this increase will continue in the years to come, energy production has become a major concern.
The stakes are high, since current and future production sources will have to be able to meet demand while respecting environmental commitments and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
Although nuclear, hydraulic, solar and wind power have found their place in the energy mix, deep geothermal energy for electricity production is the great forgotten one.
Unknown and practically non-existent in France (only 1.5MWe in Soultz sous forêt), deep geothermal energy can nevertheless produce large quantities of electricity without CO2 emissions, in a non-intermittent and sustainable manner, as is already the case, for example, in Guadeloupe with the Bouillante power plant (15 MW).
While the needs are significant, and the resource is present under our feet, France has chosen to free itself from this renewable energy.
However, there is no doubt that the current and future means of production (despite the construction of 6 new nuclear reactors and numerous wind power projects) will not be sufficient to meet the need for electricity, and the risk of shortage is real.
It is true that the recent events in Alsace do not play in our favor, but they remind us that the development of this energy requires real technical skills and the respect of good practices. To date, deep geothermal energy throughout the world represents an installed capacity of 15,600 MWe, and the first power plants are more than 80 years old. The technology is known and mastered, as well as the risks (such as induced seismicity) which can be apprehended, in order to reduce their occurrence and possible consequences.
At TLS, we believe that France hides in its subsoil a potentially enormous and largely under-exploited resource.
Indeed, the geological concept that we target (crustal fault zones) allows, according to us, to improve the circulation of geothermal fluids and to exploit waters at temperatures higher than 150°c at 3500m in a particularly permeable environment. This same concept is already used in the USA (Dixie Valley – 62 MWe) and McGinness Hills 140 MWe (2012), in France (Rittershoffen – 25 MWth), in Germany (Insheim – 5 MWe) or in Turkey (Gurmat Germencik – 47 MWe).
However, despite the noble task of producing renewable electricity on our territory, we cannot act without the support of the government.
With elections fast approaching, which candidates will be willing to make things happen?