Berlin’s Senator for the Environment, Manja Schreiner: Geothermal energy is Berlin’s future

Berlin’s environment senator sees a great “pent-up demand” in the supply of alternative energy: she now wants to rely on geothermal energy – with a large funding program.

Berlin's new environment senator Manja Schreiner (CDU)

Berlin’s new environment senator Manja Schreiner (CDU)Wolfgang Kumm/dpa

According to Senator for the Environment and Climate Protection Manja Schreiner, Berlin has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to using geothermal energy as an energy source. “We need geothermal energy. This is a very important area for Berlin too,” said the CDU politician to the German Press Agency. “We still have 90 percent conventional heat generation from fossil fuels – and not so many other options.”

With a view to the goal of climate neutrality, it is important to use all options, from waste heat to biomass. “Responsibility for the geothermal area lies in my house. In order to make our contribution, we now want to make faster progress,” said Schreiner. “The forecasts say that up to 20 percent of the heat balance is possible via geothermal energy. That’s why I’ve decided to focus more on the topic.”

Berlin: 13 potential locations for geothermal energy – who will bear the costs?

Geothermal energy takes advantage of the fact that thermal energy is stored in the earth’s crust. It can be used for heating, but also to generate electricity. “We have identified 13 potential locations in Berlin that are currently being technically and geologically examined and from which three locations will be selected for test drilling,” said Schreiner. “In this way, we also relieve project developers of work, because there is a risk of actually finding something if you dig deep.”

Investments of well over one million euros are required for the test drilling. “But investors still have a lot of money to spend. That’s why we want to support geothermal energy with a funding program,” announced the CDU politician. “There should be funding for both private and public companies. With the funding program, we also want to cushion the risk for investors if it doesn’t work out in the end.”

The German Association of Towns and Municipalities also sees geothermal energy as a central component of a climate-neutral supply via local and long-distance heating networks. However, the municipal association has also pointed out the high costs. A complete large-scale geothermal system can cost up to 50 million euros. According to the public utility, a system recently put into operation in Schwerin by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) cost a good 20 million euros.

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