Energy from the Earth

geothermics, energy supply, electricity generation

Switzerland’s Energy Strategy 2050 requires energy efficiency to be substantially improved, the proportion of fossil fuels in the energy supply to be considerably reduced, and nuclear power to be phased out, while meeting highly ambitious climate protection targets. One of the core implications is the need for a massive increase of the use of renewable sources for electricity generation.

In this context, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) estimates that by 2050 deep geothermal energy could contribute 4–5 TWh per year to electricity generation in Switzerland, which would be a substantial contribution to a projected annual power need of 60 TWh. Geothermal energy is attractive because of the very large scale of the resource, its expected relatively low CO2 emissions, and its reliable, all-day domestic availability. However, the future contribution of deep geothermal energy is subject to major uncertainties: How much of this resource can be exploited and at what economic cost? What are the environmental and risk-related externalities that the public must be willing to bear? How does its overall performance compare to competing energy resources? And will the regulatory framework and public acceptance be sufficient to allow geothermal energy to provide a significant contribution?

By way of this major interdisciplinary study, already considered a work of reference, TA-SWISS provides answers to these questions in a comprehensive and balanced way, thereby supplying a sound basis for stakeholder decision-making.

St. Hirschberg, St. WIemer, P. Burgherr
vdf Hochschulverlag
2015
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