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Wien Energie and OMV establish joint venture for deep geothermal energy

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Energy Global,

In a joint venture called deeep, OMV and Wien Energie are working closely together to make deep geothermal energy a reality in the greater Vienna area.

They want to develop deep geothermal plants with output of up to 200 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 programmes.

“Founding deeep with our long-standing partner, Wien Energie, marks an important milestone in expanding climate-neutral energy supply. 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,” said Alfred Stern, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of OMV Aktiengesellschaft.

With the joint venture, Wien Energie and OMV are working together to decarbonise district heating in Vienna. 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. 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. Wien Energie operates one of the largest district heating networks in Europe with around 440 000 private and 7800 commercial customers. Together with other partners, OMV and Wien Energie have also already explored and proven the geothermal potential in the eastern Vienna Basin as part of the ‘GeoTief Wien’ research project.

“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. 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,” added Michael Strebl, Chairman of the Board of Wien Energie.

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. Making the project part of the joint venture allows the partners to glean valuable insights and data for follow-up projects, enabling Wien Energie and OMV to realise the further expansion of geothermal energy in Vienna more quickly and efficiently.

For OMV and Wien Energie, the deeep joint venture is the basis for the comprehensive expansion of deep geothermal energy in Vienna: The partners plan to jointly implement up to seven deep geothermal plants in the districts of Donaustadt and Simmering in joint drilling programs. The timetable for implementation and the output of the plants will depend on the learnings from the pilot plant in Aspern.

A drilling programme involves planning and realising several boreholes and plant locations in parallel. The advantage here is that the resources required for drilling and construction work can be utilised even more efficiently and synergies can be exploited when realising the plants. Wien Energie and OMV are already starting to design the first drilling program as part of the joint venture. As soon as the drilling for the first facility in Aspern has been completed, the planning can be finalised and implemented on the basis of this experience. The joint investment in the planning of these deep geothermal projects amounts to around €20 million.



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