Switzerland to Power 900 Homes Using Geothermal Energy


A new company has been created to take advantage of geothermal heated water resources in the area of Lavey-les-Bains within Vaud, Switzerland.

Alpine Geothermal Power Production (AGEPP) has conducted a feasibility study for their project, and is now moving forward to finalize the financial arrangements and form AGEPP SA. They will then set about obtaining exploration and operational authorization from Vaud Canton. Once authorization is received, drilling can begin.

Lavey-les-Bains, home of the AGEPP SA project, is one of the most well-known sites in Switzerland when it comes to geothermal energy. The region has been known for its access to geothermal resources since the 19th century. It is home to the hottest springs in Switzerland, which led to the development of Lavey.

The plan for the project is to drill down and extract water at a temperature of 110°C (230° Fahrenheit), with the flow rate of around 40l/s. Under those conditions the project could operate year-round. If the project is successfully established, it is thought that an ORC plan would be able to provide around 4.2 GW hours of electricity per year, and about 15.5 GW hours of thermal energy to supply the Lavey Baths with thermal water for use in swimming pools and thermal energy for the heating of said pools and buildings. This is around the same electricity and heat needed for about 900 households.

Switzerland to Power 900 Homes Using Geothermal Energy

The company plans to use a single production well, running down as deep as 3000 m (9,800 feet), which will raise water to the surface. AGEPP SA will then pump the geothermal water from the highly permeable rock bed which has naturally occurring clefts, and a use it to produce electricity around the clock for those 900 households.

The groundbreaking project plans to generate power from a hydrothermal reservoir, a first for Switzerland. The project also happens to match perfectly with the Swiss Confederation’s Energy Strategy 2050. The project is uniting both public and private sector shareholders, along with several Western Swiss firms who operate in the renewable energy field. Backers include SI-REN SA, Holdigaz SA, CESLA SA, EOS Holding SA, and Romande Energie Holding SA. The municipalities of Lavey-Morcles (Vaud) and Saint-Maurice (Valais) are also heavily invested. The project is receiving much of its financial support from the Vaud cantonal authorities and Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).

Now that both scientific and financial analysis for the project has been completed, and financial arrangements have been settled, the authorization request will soon be submitted to Vaud Canton. The public consultation will happen sometime early next year, with the drilling scheduled to start in 2019. Operations are expected to start in 2020.