30 April 2010

Underground systems are becoming more common in the Netherlands

Since the late 90s, use of geothermal systems has become increasingly common in the Netherlands for sustainable cooling in offices by means of aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) systems. Besides this form of low-energy cooling, ATES systems are increasingly equipped with a heat pump system, mainly for space heating. More than 1,200 ATES systems with a total thermal capacity of more than 900 MWth are currently in operation. Approximately 60% are linked to a heat pump system. The ambition of the Dutch government is to continue this process of sustainable heating and cooling. Interference in this context becomes a real danger. Development of new regulations facilitates maximum usage of underground energy systems without adverse effects. In the case of smaller utility buildings, the borehole thermal energy storage (BTES) systems are a good alternative. These do not thermally exceed property boundaries. Besides the simplicity in maintaining closed systems, their robustness and low-profile of licensing and inspection procedures are also advantageous.