Geothermal Energy Oktoberfest Style

Sept. 6, 2019
Drilling for geothermal below the beer festival

With Oktoberfest right around the corner this month in Munich, Germany, I thought it would be fitting to touch upon a project in the works happening right below the infamous beer festivities.  

If you’re not familiar with this spirited celebration, then let me enlighten you! Oktoberfest is the world's largest Volksfest. Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first Sunday in October, with more than six million people from around the world attending the event every year to consume large quantities of beer. Thirsty yet? 

And happening right below this very merry fair is a fifth well being drilled for a geothermal heating plant of Stadtwerke München (SWM), the city utility of Munich. 

While everything above ground is prepared for the consumption of cool drinks, the SWM is drilling in at a depth of 2,200 meters for hot water. The fifth of six boreholes for the geothermal heating plant in Sendling leads from the Bohrplatz in the Schäftlarnstraße diagonally below the Theresienwiese, place of the Oktoberfest, as reported by local Munich Abendzeitung. 

On the surface, the drilling work goes undetected. By mid-September, the fifth well is to reach the final depth, the sixth and final hole should finally be completed by April 2020. 

As SWM project leader Michael Meinecke said at a press conference on Thursday, September 5, 2019, both the temperature of the deep groundwater and the flow rate are higher than expected. SWM expects to supply more than the previously estimated 80,000 Munich residents with geothermal district heating. 

The work should be wrapped up by 2020, after which the feed-in of heat from the deep can begin at the currently still natural gas-fired combined heat and power station Süd. The SWM expect on their website with the connection still in the year 2020, the Abendzeitung calls as date the January 2021.