RWE Innogy has set up a joint venture with Daldrup & Sohne in Ascheberg, Germany, to develop, plan and construct a range of geothermal power stations.

According to RWE Innogy, the first step of the joint venture (JV) is to develop its existing deep geothermal drilling areas, for which permits have already been obtained, and to apply for further permits.

The geothermal facilities that will be developed by the two partners are to be realized and operated by independent project companies, said the company.

Plans are also in place to participate in geothermal and project development companies in Germany and other European countries. The JV has been set up on the proviso that it will be approved by the German antitrust authority, Bundeskartellamt.

The energy utility said that unlike geothermal energy close to the surface, which is mainly used for heating, the generation of deep geothermal energy can also meet the demand for baseload electricity. This is because water is of a much higher temperature in such deep strata (down to 4,000 metres or 13,100 feet).

Fritz Vahrenholt, chairman of RWE Innogy, said: “The use of geothermal heat for the production of electric power and heat has good potential, not just in Germany, but also in southern and south-eastern Europe. This JV enables us to ensure the development of a young form of energy in our latitudes and to use this energy on a major technical scale.”