Report: Netherlands continues growth of geothermal heat sector

Date: 08/08/2018

The Netherlands see a continued growth of geothermal development and corresponding development of heating projects, predominantly for its greenhouse sector.

The Netherlands’ Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy has released its 2017 Annual Review of the country’s Natural Resources and Geothermal Energy. It can be downloaded/ viewed here (pdf).

The report covers all the exploration, production and storage activities in onshore Netherlands and in the Dutch part of the continental shelf that fall under the Mining Act. For geothermal energy, it provides an extensive overview on all licenses, license holders, wells drilled and much more. A really useful and extensive overview.

Heat produced from geothermal installations comes from a depth between 1,600 and 2,8000 meters and mostly from rocks in the Upper-Jurassic and Lower-Cretaceous in the southwest of the Netherlands. The produced heat is mainly used to heat commercial greenhouses. One project also supplies heat to a public utility facility and several buildings. Another project will supply heat to a heating network in an urban area.

Overall it geothermal heat production has steadily increased since 2008, but 2015 to 2017 maybe not as fast and extensive as in the period from 2014 to 2015.

The report also provides a great map of all geothermal licenses (exploration and production licenses, and those that have been applied for).

Geothermal licenses as of 1 January 2018
In 2017 there were 22 new applications for exploration licences for geothermal energy. As at 1 January 2018 a total of 31 geothermal energy exploration licences were in the process of application. During 2017 2 geothermal exploration licences were awarded, 2 exploration licences were split into 4 new ones and 6 licences were spatially restricted. Further, 18 geothermal exploration licences were extended, and 6 licences expired, were withdrawn or relinquished. One application for an exploration licence was withdrawn in 2017. As at 1 January 2018 there were a total of 47 geothermal energy exploration licences in effect (see Annex 7). In 2017 there were 2 new applications for a production licence for geothermal energy. At the first of January 2018 5 geothermal energy production licences are in the application procedure and 4 geothermal energy production licences were issued. Resulting in 12 effective geothermal energy production licences as at 1st January 2018. Changes in the licences for the exploration and production of geothermal energy which took place during 2017 are listed in the tables at the end of this chapter.

Geothermal wells and production installations
In 2017 15 geothermal wells were completed (see Figure 13.1 and Table 11). The geothermal systems (will) produce heat from the deep subsurface. In general, these installations are named doublets as they consist of two wells. One well pumps up the warm water and after extracting the heat, the second well injects the cooled down water back into the aquifer Realising these wells increased the geothermal production installations in the Netherlands by four while two more installations were initiated (licence areas Andijk and Zevenbergen II). These doublets will be completed in 2018. As at 1 January 2018 there were a total of 20 geothermal installations of which the installation of Heerlerheide (wells HLH-GT-1 & 2) is actually a heat/cold storage facility and as such will not be included in the following overview. In 2017 14 geothermal systems were operational with reference to the fact that they provide (energy) production figures according to art. 111 and 119 of the mining decree.