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Mid-Term Conference - Potsdam, Germany
Mid-Term Conference - Potsdam, Germany
9-12 January 2007 GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam
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Non Technical Barriers in Developing Geothermal District Heating in the Paris
The Paris suburban areas enjoy an almost unique setting, characterised by the
combination of reliable heat source - a dependable geothermal reservoir of regional
extent -and a large heat market – large concentrations of social dwelling eligible to
district heating.
It led to the launching by the State of a vast development scheme, which peaked, in
the mid 1980s, with the implementation of 55 geothermal district heating (GDH)
doublets and a yearly production nearing 2,000 GWht. As of year 2006, 34 GDH
doublets, cumulating a ca 1,000 GWht, remain online, a score regarded positive, given
many obstacles which, from the infantile disease to entrepreneurial maturity stages,
somewhat jammed the learning curve of this energy route.
Among these obstacles, non technical barriers, not totally overcome yet, took an
important share. Those analysed and discussed in this paper, address the following
1.	structural. Lack of expertise from, the often unskilled, operators in managing
industrial installations and energy processes with a strong mining impact.
2.	administrative and managerial. Unclear definition of the duties and commitments of
concerned intervening parties (operators, engineering bureaus, heating companies,
consultants…) and relevant exploitation/service contracts and/or concession/farming
agreements, inefficient marketing and negotiation of heat sales and customer
subscription contracts;
3.	economic and financial. Severe competition from conventional fossil fuels (heavy
fuel oil, natural gas) penalising heat sales and revenues, persistent low energy
prices in the aftermath of the second oil shock adding to a debt nearing 85 to 90% of
total investment costs, in a capital intensive (ca 10 M€) low equity, high interest
rates (12 to 16%!) environment. This clearly placed most operators in a typically
third world situations;
4.	fiscal. A 19.6% VAT rate applied to GDH grid subscription contracts whereas energy
producing utilities (power, natural gas) benefit from a 5.5% rate, applicable also to
maintenance/repair works in collective buildings and individual residences;
5.	image. Geothermal energy, particularly direct use of low grade heat has a
structural image problem with respect to social acceptance and public awareness. The
heat recovery remains somewhat mysterious or esoteric as opposed to obvious, visible
competing solar, wind and (bio/fossil) fuel sources. In the early days of GDH (the
so-called infancy stage) it was regarded as a poorly reliable and costly,
occasionally hazardous technology an impact widely exploited by the “antis” lobbies.
Id: 72
Place: GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam
14473 Potsdam
Room: Building H, Auditorium
Starting date:
11-Jan-2007   11:20
Duration: 20'
Primary Authors: Dr. UNGEMACH, Pierre (GPC IP)
Co-Authors: Dr. ANTICS, Miklos (GPC IP)
Presenters: Dr. UNGEMACH, Pierre
Material: slides Slides

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