German energy giant to participate in geothermal project Skip to content

German energy giant to participate in geothermal project

The Icelandic National Energy Authority (OS) signed an agreement with German energy company Energie Baden-Württemberg (EnBW) on Wednesday for research drilling and investigation into whether electricity can be transported from Iceland to Germany via an ocean-floor cable.

Director of OS Thorkell Helgason said representatives from EnBW had visited Iceland last fall, which is when they first became interested in the project, as reported in Fréttabladid.

“We didn’t hear anything from them for awhile, until a few weeks ago. Then they were very interested, especially regarding drilling. They want to participate to some extent and are prepared to contribute with considerable amounts of money.” Helgason said.

EnBW is Germany’s third largest energy company and has about EUR 13 billion (USD 18 billion) in annual turnover. The company has declared its goal to be sustainable energy production and a green vision for the future.

Helgason said it is not clear what role EnBW will have in the research project and added that the German company has not been promised anything.

“Their vision is that in the distant future they can transport considerable amounts of geothermal electricity from Iceland to Germany via an ocean-floor cable. Geothermal energy is considered greener than hydroelectric power,” Helgason said.

“It is not unlikely that in the not-too-distant future grants for green energy will be standardized across Europe, so national borders will be suspended. Then it won’t matter where good things come from,” Helgason continued.

The research drilling is a collaborative project between OS, the National Energy Company (Landsvirkjun), Reykjavík Energy Company (OR), Sudurnes Energy Company (HS) and several scientific institutions.

The idea is to drill holes down to a depth of five kilometers where the energy companies expect to find heat of up to 600°C and much more pressure than in conventional drilling holes used for harnessing geothermal energy, which are usually about two kilometers deep.

It is hoped that each hole can produce five to ten times more energy than conventional drilling holes.

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