A.P. Møller Steps Up Geothermal Investments

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – A.P. Møller Holding, the investment branch of A.P. Møller Mærsk, a Danish leader in global transportations and logistics, is preparing to invest several billion Danish crowns in geothermal energy following the discovery of water deep beneath Danish soil sufficiently warm that it can be utilised in the Danish district heating network, according to the business daily Berlingske Business.

    “We find that there is a gap in the market where the heating sector has invested heavily in biomass, which is welcome, but something more is needed, which is the geothermal energy,” said A.P. Møller chief for geothermal energy Samir Abboud.

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    Investments of DKK 1-2 billion will be required to establish a large-scale 100-150 megawatt geothermal plant, Abboud explained. This is slightly less than the electricity production from the Horns Rev 1 offshore wind farm in Esbjerg, which supplies electricity to 150,000 households, or the equivalent of about two per cent of total Danish electricity consumption.

    A.P. Møller Holding’s initial objective will be to build geothermal installations in the largest district heating areas in Denmark, e.g. Aarhus, Aalborg, Copenhagen and the North Seeland region. The larger objective is to have geothermal power supplying 30 per cent of all district heating in Denmark, which is currently produced mainly with biomass, coal and natural gas.

    The investment company also sees great export potential in geothermal energy. “We believe that when we have established ourselves in Denmark, it can become an export success to the same extent that wind energy has become,” Abboud said.

    “Geothermal is very interesting technology,” said Dansk Fjernwarme director Kim Mortensen, in welcoming A.P. Møller Holding’s investment. “If we have to go from coal to fuel-free hearing, geothermal energy is one of the solutions in play, and it is therefore very interesting that such a big company is getting involved.”

    Energy, Utilities and Climate Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt of the governing Venstre party was equally excited about the prospect: “It’s amazing that Mærsk has signed up and wants to invest billions in geothermal energy. This opens up new opportunities for green district heating, so I see great prospects,” he told the state news channel Danmarks Radio.

    Lilleholt professed to be in dialogue with A.P. Møller Holding and is aware of the need to establish the “right frames” for using geothermal energy, but would not yet comment on whether the state should provide financial support for the development of geothermal energy in the same way that helped the Danish wind turbine industry become an export success with the support from taxpayers.

    “It’s too early to say anything about it. What is crucial is that we are in the process of phasing out support for renewable energy. But I also see the prospects for the market economy to drive this. We are currently looking at the opportunities,” Lilleholt said.

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