Renewable Energy Projects

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geothermal power

The beginning of geothermal energy utilization in Austria is actually connected with failure: In 1978, a drill well was realized in Austrian Bad Waltersdorf for extraction of oil, but a hot spring was hit. Subsequently, the municipality started to seek possibilities for utilization of hot water and decided in 1981 that it will heat local schools, kindergartens and swimming pools with the heat from the depths. Then a thermal spa was built and geothermal energy was used for supplying heat to this spa. Despite a relatively small output of the thermal spring – only 17 litres per second of water with a temperature of 61 °C spouts from a depth of 1,400 meters – responsible persons achieved really exceptional results. top

Blue Lagoon, Iceland © Miriam Matysik

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Today, the spring heats premises focused on foreign tourism with a total number of 1,000 beds, two schools and thermal spa, including therapeutic centre. Water with a temperature of 55 °C is left, so it is used for preparation of hot service water and heating of ventilation systems of the spa centre. Then healing effects of the water are utilized by the spa. Before the healing water is pumped again to original geological layers – in compliance with regulations valid in Austria – it is used also for heating local gardens. top

Under the present economical and geological framework conditions, the potential of geothermal energy in Austria is at a total level of 2,000 MW of thermal energy and around 7 MW of electric energy. Spa region of Styria, Molass basin of Upper and Lower Austria and Vienna basin are geologically suitable localities. In some of these areas, population density is obviously very low, having an unfavourable effect on economy of utilization. Up to the present time, in total, twelve geothermal facilities with a thermal output of approx. 41.5 MW were built in Austria. The plant in Altheim, supplying approx. 650 households with heat, is nowadays the biggest geothermal system of close heat distribution in Austria. In case of both plants, thermal water is utilized by means of ORC turbine also for production of electric energy. top