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French geothermal know-how

More than 2 million people heated by geothermal energy in France

The installed thermal capacity is about 2,000 MWth for geothermal heat pumps which are mainly installed in the northern part of France (Alsace, Ile-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Bretagne). A new law in force since 2015, made simple the geothermal heat pumps exploitation in more than 90% of the territory. For geothermal district heating and cooling, 600 MWth are installed, mainly in Ile-de-France. The ambitious target established by the Ministry of Environment is to triple the installed capacity by 2030 in order to feed 10% of the population.

More than 80 French cities heated by geothermal deep resources

The Paris region is the most developed area in the world for geothermal district heating. The first doublet drilled in 1969 south-east of Paris is still operating. In 2020, more than 20 new geothermal doublets are planned in the next 6 years.  Exploration of new reservoirs targets after geophysics to be realized (Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous) are planned in the Paris and Aquitaine basins in order to open new frontiers in unknown zones. On the basis of existing French support schemes (ADEME Heat Fund, Reduce VAT rate), our operators have developed a strong expertise in projects financing. Innovative Risk Mitigation Schemes – covering the geothermal resource financing risk and securing developers and industrials in their investment commitment – have been developed in France:

  • SAF Environment Fund: insurance scheme that covers geological risks for district heating project,
  • GEODEEP SAS that aims at mitigating geological risk during exploration drilling for EGS projects in France mainland.

French operators are very familiar with the project management and different kind of exploitation models (Private, Public and Private/Public).

30 years of development of EGS technology

The history of EGS started in the 80’s in Alsace with the Hot Dry Rock concept tested in Soultz-sous-Fôrets. The recent doublet exploited in Rittershoffen for industrial process (exploited since 2016) and the new deep drillings in Vendenheim and Illkirch (in the Strasbourg suburbs) have proved the validity of the soft stimulation of deep rocks from both sedimentary and crystalline formations. This technology (Enhanced Geothermal System) experienced by the French engineering companies is available in order to drill deep geothermal doublet (300 to 5,000 m) and combined heat and power generation. The technology is replicable for high number of potential targets on the different continents, in area without any volcanic environment.

New technologies to produce energy using salty geothermal deep brines

Based on the 50 years’ experience of French experts, oil & gas technologies and news designed systems have been introduced in the geothermal field such as: workover with coiled tubing, soft acidizing, utilization of composite casing and tubing, downhole chemical treatment in order to manage corrosion and scaling, deep injection lines at the top of the reservoir, modelling the behavior of temperature and productivity of the geothermal reservoirs. The time life of the doublet drilled 40 years ago has been doubled applying these breakthroughs.

Good public-private partnership for the deployment of geothermal for 50 years 

The success of geothermal deployment both for shallow resources (0-200 m) and deep reservoirs has been possible because of the installation of a risk mitigation system co-financed by the public authorities, the municipalities and developers (respectively AQUAPAC and SAF Environment). Both funds are managed by “Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations” with a geothermal committee including the geothermal stakeholders). The heat fund established in 2009 by ADEME to support the economics of Renewable energies is also a strong driver to compete with the fossil energy.

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The French Know-How

Our companies are involved on the entire geothermal value chain.

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