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Geothermal Geothermal energy for heat and power

There is huge renewable energy potential lying untapped beneath the earth. From a depth of around 20 metres, the ground temperature is constant all year round. That’s why shallow geothermal energy is already producing heat in Switzerland – using geothermal probes for single and multi-occupancy buildings, for example.

To generate electricity using geothermal energy, however, a temperature of at least 100°C is needed. As the ground temperature in Switzerland generally increases by around 30°C for each kilometre down, the temperature necessary for electricity production can be reached by drilling to around 3,500 metres.

A major advantage of geothermal electricity production is availability: it is one of the few renewable sources that can deliver base energy regardless of the time of day or weather conditions.

In 2023 Axpo subsidiary CKW – an energy services provider in Central Switzerland – began discussions with local authorities and residents about a deep geothermal energy project in the canton of Lucerne. If successful, the project would produce electricity and heat by drilling to a depth of around 4,100 to 4,200 metres, where geologists expect a water temperature of around 140°C.

Geothermal energy project in the municipality of Inwil, Canton of Lucerne
The targeted shell limestone layer is at a drilling depth of between 4,100 and 4,200 metres (Graphic: CKW).

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