With an installed capacity of up to 4.7 MWe (electricity) and 6.88 MWth (heat), the plant in Garching a.d. Alz, Germany, is one of 16 geothermal plants nationwide currently producing both electricity and heat. After nearly three years of construction, operator Silenos Energy completed the plant. Since January 2021, the plant has been part of Next Kraftwerke's Virtual Power Plant Next Pool. The Virtual Power Plant now brings the electricity generated by the geothermal plant to the the spot market of the electricity exchange through its in-house trading department.
Geothermal energy refers to the existing heat energy below the earth's crust that radiates far to the earth's surface. These heat quantities, which are quite high at certain locations, can also be used to generate electricity via various processes. According to the German Geothermal Association, there are (as of 2020) 34 heating plants (heat production; incl. CHP plants), 10 power plants (electricity production; incl. CHP plants) and 6 CHP plants (heat + electricity) in Germany. The installed heat capacity is 349.71 MW and the installed electric capacity is 40.53 MW.
Geothermal energy is capable to provide base-load, i.e. electricity and heat production that is available regardless of the time of day or season and regardless of the weather. As a base load providing generator it helps balancing the volatile feed-in from wind and solar in Next Kraftwerke’s portfolio
Silenos Energy Garching a. d. Alz is a joint venture between RAG Austria AG and STRABAG SE, the European technology partner for construction services. More information is available on the Silenos Energy Garching website
Photo credit: Silenos Energy in Garching a.d. Alz