Swiss geothermal project left cool after only finding a trickle of hot water

Swiss geothermal project left cool after only finding a trickle of hot water

In what can only be described as a canton-wide running gag, authorities and local businesses in Canton Vaud, Switzerland have been digging giant holes in the ground in an attempt to find geothermal energy, with little success. Unlike last time, when excavators couldn't find hot or constant enough water to fuel the pumps, instead of finding a flood of hot water, authorities found only a trickle.

Geothermal power in Canton Vaud faces a rocky road

In an effort to be more sustainable and reduce their reliance on energy sources from abroad, local authorities in the Romande have been trying to source reliable geothermal energy from beneath the soil. Entrepreneurs have also seen the power source's potential as a way to reduce their sky-high energy costs. However, while some power has been found, most of the efforts so far have ended in failure.

Unlike last time, when authorities dug a giant hole only to find that the water wasn’t hot or constant enough to support any kind of geothermal plant, the hole in Montagny looked far more promising. The plant was going to be used to heat the greenhouses of a local garden centre, and when excavators dug deeper, they discovered a trickle of water that was the perfect temperature for heating.

Expecting a flood, Swiss authorities only find a trickle

Unfortunately, instead of the 80 litres of water a second that was expected by surveyors, the source only gave a petty two to three litres of water a second - meaning it wouldn't be enough to heat a domestic greenhouse, let alone a garden centre. According to 20 Minuten, authorities have described the excavation work in Montagny in Canton Vaud as "disappointing."

However, speaking to Vaudois Daily, local authorities said they saw the positive side. A spokesperson said that the failed project could teach them a lot about geothermal power in the region - such as whether it's worth digging the holes in the first place perhaps - and they could always dig down deeper to see if they can find a more promising source.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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