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Germany wants to boost the use of geothermal energy to reduce dependency on Russian gas supplies

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File Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Kristina Jovanovski
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Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Berlin is looking at ways to reduce its dependency on gas supplied by Moscow.

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Germany is considering using an out-of-use airport to implement its geothermal plans, as Berlin looks to become more energy-independent – and cleaner.

Geothermal energy is a form of thermal energy that has been exploited as a source of both heat and electric power. The site of the former Tegel airport is just one of many proposed locations.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week the country’s goal is to get as much geothermal energy as possible by 2030, focusing on providing heating to buildings.

The war in Ukraine forced Germany to massively decrease its reliance on Russian gas. The German Geothermal Association says since then,there's been a strong spike in interest.

While a more cleaner energy source, the group’s managing director says there are obstacles to expanding geothermal use.

Andre Deinhardt, Managing Director of the German Geothermal Association, says: “We don’t have enough money in the market for geothermal. And there are some moves of the government in this direction but it’s not fast enough. And then we have to be faster, a lot faster in permitting these geothermal installations.”

One study by the Fraunhofer Institute last year found that geothermal energy could provide more than a quarter of Germany’s heating.

Berlin’s local government plans to start deep digging in 2025. But some environmentalists say the whole country should go one step further – and fully eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

“There is no other way to be aligned with the Paris Agreement and other climate targets than renewable energy,” says Anike Peters, a Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace.

“And that’s why it’s so important that the German government stops investing in fossil fuels and starts pushing really hard and only for 100% renewable energies.”

Supporters say geothermal energy will help Germany be more self-sufficient with its resources. Berlin also wants to expand into its other alternative industries – like solar.

"We are independent, it’s cheaper, you have it every time. Especially if it’s cold then you often don’t have enough sun. But geothermal energy is a heat flow that you have every time – 24 hours, 7 days,” Deinhardt concludes.

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