Seismicity in geothermal systems: Occurrences worldwide and implications for geothermal systems in the Netherlands

Sep 18, 2019 | Lecture Archive

Loes Buijze (TNO)

Abstract
Geothermal energy is a viable alternative to gas for the heat demand of buildings, industry, and greenhouses, and can contribute significantly to the transition to a more sustainable energy mix in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, heat is produced from the subsurface through circulation of water between two wells in deep (> 1.5 km) geothermal formations with temperature of up to ~100°C. Currently, 17 of these so-called doublets are operational, but this number is expected to increase significantly over the next decades. One of the potential hazards associated with geothermal energy production is the occurrence of felt seismicity that can potentially cause damage to surface infrastructure, cause resistance of local populations to operations, and thereby hamper a social license to operate. Felt seismicity has been observed in several geothermal systems in other countries. In this study, we review the occurrence (or the lack of) felt seismic events in geothermal systems worldwide, and identify key factors influencing the occurrence and magnitude of these events. We compare these geothermal systems to the geothermal targets found in the Netherlands, and draw implications for the potential occurrence of induced seismicity in geothermal systems in the Netherlands.

 

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