Austrian energy company OMV and the country’s largest regional energy provider Wien Energie have established a joint venture called “deeep”, with the goal of making deep geothermal energy a reality in the greater Vienna area.
They want to develop deep geothermal plants with an output of up to 200 megawatts (MW), thereby generating climate-neutral district heating for the equivalent of up to 200,000 Viennese households. The partners are also planning to implement up to seven deep geothermal plants in Vienna as part of drilling programs.
“Founding deeep with our long-standing partner Wien Energie marks an important milestone in expanding climate-neutral energy supply,” said Alfred Stern, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of OMV. “We are using innovative technology to deliver solutions to combat climate change. OMV brings many years of experience and expertise in exploration and production to this partnership, in addition to our unique knowledge of the geology of the Vienna Basin. Here, in the cradle of OMV, we are launching our sustainable district heating project for Vienna. We look forward to working together with Wien Energie.”
Peter Weinelt, designated CEO of Wiener Stadtwerke, is convinced that the switch to sustainable sources is crucial to the success of the heating transition. “District heating is a key component of climate-neutral heating supply in Vienna,” he stated. “We have the clear goal of generating climate-neutral district heating by 2040 and deep geothermal energy plays a key role in this. This joint venture means that we are well equipped for this task.”
Several factors are needed to successfully exploit deep geothermal energy: a hot water reservoir below ground, a mature distribution network above ground and the right customers. All of these requirements are met in Vienna.
“The heating transition is one of the biggest challenges we face in combating the climate crisis. No one can accomplish this task alone; it calls for new ways of working together,” added Michael Strebl, Chairman of the Board of Wien Energie. “The joint venture between Wien Energie and OMV is unparalleled and serves as a prime example throughout Europe of how the heating transition can succeed in a city of millions. With this joint venture, we are also getting the long-term expansion of deep geothermal energy in Vienna off the ground.”
The first deep geothermal plant announced by Wien Energie in the area of Aspern is the first major project to be realised together by the partners in the joint venture. The plant will generate up to 20 MW of climate-neutral district heating – in combination with heat pumps from Wien Energie. The aim is to supply up to 20,000 Viennese households with district heating from this plant. Approval procedures are currently underway and drilling is due to start towards the end of 2024. The plant is scheduled to go into operation in 2027.