Advantages and disadvantages of geothermal energy

In addition to the climate, there are other advantages to using geothermal energy:

The benefits of geothermal heat

  • Local: the heat comes from a local source and is therefore obtained close to the users.
  • Renewable: the water goes back into the ground and automatically returns to temperature. This way the same water can be used over and over again.
  • Reliable: the extraction of geothermal heat is always possible and does not depend on weather influences, as is the case with the generation of wind or solar energy.
  • Stable costs: the costs of geothermal energy are stable and predictable for a longer period of time.
  • Sustainable: geothermal energy fits within a sustainable energy mix because hardly any CO2 or particulate matter is released during extraction, transport and use.
  • Circular: in geothermal heat extraction, water is pumped up and returned: nothing is permanently removed from the earth's soil.
  • Limited nuisance: you have almost no nuisance when raising geothermal heat. During construction, there is construction noise and some light nuisance (due to work at night). This is temporary and only during the construction of the installation.
  • Large scale: a geothermal installation can provide heat to up to 30,000 homes.
  • Requires little space: a geothermal installation does not take up much space above ground. In view of the challenges surrounding spatial planning, this is a welcome bonus.
  • No effect on humans, animals and plants: as far as is known there are no effects on humans, animals, plants or the subsoil.
  • Short energy payback period: building a geothermal energy installation costs energy. This has an impact on the environment. Because a geothermal installation is very sustainable, this pollution is compensated after a few months of use of the installation. This is called: the energy payback period.
  • Suitable soil: The Dutch soil is suitable in many places for extracting geothermal energy. There is a lot of water in Dutch soil.

The disadvantages of geothermal heat

It is of great importance that geothermal heat extraction has no negative consequences for people and the environment. The exploration and production of geothermal energy is subject to strict laws and rules. State Supervision of Mines supervises the enforcement of this.

  • Not applicable everywhere: sufficient heat must be available for extraction in the subsoil.
  • Some locations are excluded: protected nature areas and drinking water extraction areas are excluded for geothermal heat extraction. In earthquake-prone areas, geothermal energy is not allowed or additional safety measures are required. Read more about risk mitigation and safety here.
  • Expensive: geothermal energy is expensive because it is still new technology. The equipment is more expensive and more frequent monitoring is required.
  • Not suitable for individual heat demand: geothermal heat is only used for groups of homes and buildings. So not for a single house.
  • Collaboration necessary: ​​cooperation between various parties is necessary for efficient supply of heat. This requires time and attention.
  • Nuisance during construction: the construction of a geothermal energy installation could cause nuisance for local residents. Read more about the nuisance during construction.
  • Heat infrastructure necessary: ​​for the use of geothermal heat, there must be a heat network nearby.
  • Small risk of vibrations: there is a very small risk of vibrations in the earth for the environment during the exploration and drilling of the wells.
  • Limited experience: all existing geothermal installations have not yet reached their maximum age of 30 years. This means that no long-term experience and knowledge is available yet
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