Drilling work begins for the Haute-Sorne project

The first drilling of the Haute-Sorne geothermal project, expected to reach 4000m, has begun

Drilling of a 4000m well has begun at the Haute-Sorne geothermal project in Switzerland Credit: Geo-Energie Suisse AG

Drilling of a 4000m well has begun at the Haute-Sorne geothermal project in Switzerland Credit: Geo-Energie Suisse AG

After obtaining all the required authorisations, the first drilling of the Haute-Sorne geothermal project has begun and is expected to reach a depth of around 4000m by September. The drilling is part of the first phase of the pilot project.

The initial drilling will provide essential information for the continuation of the project and for the creation of future geothermal power plants in Switzerland.

After a complete review of the project by the Jura authorities with the support of external experts, Geo-Energie Jura SA obtained the green light to start the first exploration drilling.

The project is subject to environmental monitoring, which guarantees the preservation of water, air and biodiversity. In addition, the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) of the ETH Zurich has locally densified its measurement network and thus provides independent basic seismic monitoring.

Exploration drilling will last until approximately September. This drilling will make a decisive contribution to the exploration of the deep subsoil, since it is the first drilling in the Swiss Jura Arc between Geneva and Basel to completely penetrate the sediments and reach the crystalline basement. Perceptible earthquakes can be practically excluded during drilling. However, the drilling phase is intensively monitored by a seismic monitoring network.

"Over the past three years, great advances have been made in the US in drilling technology in hard rocks like granite. These technological developments will also be applied in Haute-Sorne," Peter Meier, CEO of Geo-Energie Suisse, explained.

After a detailed evaluation of the geological data obtained during drilling, stimulation tests are planned for the first quarter of 2025. The results of these tests will be instrumental in deciding whether the second phase of the project can be implemented as planned.

Geo-Energie Suisse and Geo-Energie Jura welcome this crucial step which opens up innovative future prospects for a sustainable energy supply in Switzerland.

Noise protection, security, information pavilion

Although the work takes place around the clock, the legal standards for noise protection will be respected. A noise barrier has been erected to protect the nearest residents. In agreement with the authorities and emergency services, an extensive security concept has been put in place to enable an efficient and rapid response in the event of unforeseen events. Given the great technical know-how of the drilling company, however, such events are highly unlikely.

For safety reasons, the drilling platform is not accessible. However, the public will soon be able to observe this unique construction site from a panoramic terrace located above an information pavilion. A webcam will allow real-time viewing of work in progress.