Geothermal energy overview

Geothermal licences as at January 1st 2016.

In 2015 there were six new applications for exploration licences for geothermal energy. As at 1 January 2016 a total of twelve geothermal energy exploration licences were in the process of the application procedure. During 2015 five licences were awarded and two were rejected. Six exploration licences were split into fifteen new ones. Subsequently, ten licences were merged into three new geothermal energy licences. One licence was spatially restricted. Nineteen geothermal energy licences were extended. Thirteen licences expired, withdrawn or relinquished. As at 1 January 2016 there were a total of 58 geothermal energy exploration licences in effect.

In 2015 there was one new application for a production licence for geothermal energy. At the first of January 2016 seven geothermal energy production licences are in the application procedure. One geothermal energy production licence was issued resulting in total four effective geothermal energy production licences as at 1st January 2016.

Changes in the licences for the exploration and production of geothermal energy which took place during 2015 are listed in the tables at the end of this page.

Geothermal wells and production installations

In 2015 three geothermal wells were completed (see table 1). They were drilled in the licence areas Vierpolders and Honselersdijk. The well in the Honselersdijk licence was a replacement well for the blocked production well. Realising these wells increased the geothermal production installations in the Netherlands in 2015 by one (Figure 1).

Table 1: Geothermal energy wells completed in 2014

Name of well Geothermal energy licence Operator
Brielle-GT-01 Vierpolders Aardwarmte Vierpolders
Brielle-GT-02 Vierpolders Aardwarmte Vierpolders
HON-GT-01-S2 Honselersdijk Green Well Westland B.V.

 

As at January 2016 there were a total of fourteen geothermal installations. Although the installation of Heerlerheide (wells HLH-GT-01 & 02) is classed under mining legislation as being for geothermal energy it actually is a heat/cold storage facility and as such will not be included in the following overview. The other thirteen geothermal systems (Table 2) produce heat from the deep subsurface. In general these installations are named doublets as they consist of two wells. One well pumps up the warm water and after extracting the heat, the second well injects the cooled down water back into the aquifer. Eleven of these geothermal systems are operational in 2015 with reference to the fact that they provide (energy) production figures according to art. 111 and 119 of the mining decree.

 

Figure 1. Number of geothermal wells completed per calendar year and number of installations completed since 2007

Table 2: Geothermal installations.

  Name of geothermal energy installation Wells Geothermal energy licence Operational in 2015
1 Californie Geothermie CAL-GT-1,2&3 Californie I Yes
2 De Lier Geothermie LIR-GT-1&2 De Lier Yes
3 Honselersdijk Geothermie HON-GT-1&2 Honselersdijk Yes
4 Installatie Berkel en Rodenrijs VDB-GT-3&4 Bleiswijk 1b Yes
5 Installatie Bleiswijk VDB-GT-1&2 Bleiswijk Yes
6 Koekoekspolder Geothermie KKP-GT-1&2 Kampen Yes
7 Mijnwater energiecentrale Heerlen HLH-G-1&2 Heerlen Yes, HCS
8 Pijnacker-Nootdorp Geothermie PNA-GT-1&2 Pijnacker-Nootdorp 4 Yes
9 Pijnacker-Nootdorp Zuid Geothermie PNA-GT-3&4 Pijnacker-Nootdorp 5 Yes
10   HAG-GT-1&2 Den Haag Closed In
11 Heemskerk Geothermie HEK-GT-1&2 Heemskerk Yes
12 Middenmeer Geothermie I MDM-GT-1&2 Middenmeer Yes
13 Middenmeer Geothermie II MDM-GT-3&4 Middenmeer Yes
14 Vierpolders. BRI-GT1&2 Vierpolders Nee

The heat is produced from different depth intervals between 1600 and 2700 meter. (Figure 2a) and from strata in various geological units. (Figure 2b). Most of the geothermal energy is produced from rocks in the Upper-Jurassic and Lower-Cretaceous; these installations are located in the southwest of the Netherlands. One installation in the southwest of the Netherlands expects to produce from Triassic strata. The four production installations in Noord-Holland and Overijssel produce from Rotliegend strata, whereas the installation in North-Limburg produces from Lower Carboniferous strata.                                                                      

The heat produced by the installations is mainly used to heat commercial greenhouses. One project also supplies heat to a public utility facility and buildings. Another project intends to supply heat to a heating network in an urban area (Figure 2c).

 

Figure 2. a) Stratigraphy of the productive interval, b) Depth to mid of aquifer, c) uses of the heat produced

Production of geothermal energy in 2015

Of the thirteen geothermal systems eleven were operational in 2015. These operational systems have submitted the obligatory monthly production figures. Of the two remaining non-operational installations one was in the start-up phase while the other was temporarily closed in. Three producing installations operate under a formal production licence (excluding the Heerlerheide installation), the remaining eight geothermal installations produce as an ‘extended well test’. During this test period the licence will gather data to enable an efficient operation for future times. At the end of 2015 all but one producing operators had applied for a formal production licence and had submitted a production plan.

Figure 3 shows the aggregate production of geothermal energy per month in tera joules (TJ) and also the number of installations contributing to the monthly total. Not all installations were operational throughout the year.

 

Figure 3. Monthly production of geothermal energy in tera joules and the number of geothermal energy production systems contributing to the reported production (excluding Heerlen mine water power station)

The cumulative reported annual production steadily grew since the beginning of 2008 to 2417 TJ in 2015 (Table 3, Figure 4).

Table 3: Annual production of energy and co-produced hydrocarbons

Year Energy produced Co-produced gas (x1000Nm3) Co-produced oil
  (TJ)   (Sm3)
2008 96* - -
2009 142* - -
2010 318* - -
2011 316* - -
2012 495* - -
2013 993* - -
2014 1509 3267 429
2015 2417 4378 186

‘*Figure derived from: Hernieuwbare energie in Nederland 2013. Statistics Netherlands, The Hague/Heerlen, 2014. ISBN: 978-90-357-1857-9

 

Figure 4. Annual production of geothermal energy (TJ/year)

Small amounts of hydrocarbons are co-produced with the geothermal energy. In most installations the hydrocarbon is gas, but in one installation oil is produced as well. The gas is usually dissolved in the formation water and released when the pressure of the production water in the production installation falls below the ‘bubble point’. Five installations reported the volumes of gas captured (Figure 5). In the remaining installations no gas or oil was captured.

 

Figure 5.Volumes of hydrocarbons co-produced with geothermal energy. Gas in 1000Nm3 and oil in Sm3.