Netherlands: Two geothermal wells almost done, third in preparation

Eight hectares of new construction, two geothermal projects realized and a third one in preparation. It is no wonder that Lodewijk Burghout of greenhouse area Californië is looking forward to the coming year. "The great thing about geothermal projects is that the returns go directly to the growers," he says.

The start of a new project for T&T van Leeuwen is the first positive news coming from Greenport Venlo. The company, known among others for growing Sweet Lions cherry tomatoes, decided to start expanding last year. The realization of 8 hectares will commence this April. Previously, the Van Leeuwen Brothers stated that geothermal energy makes the location ideal. "We find that the interest among growers is twofold," says Burghout. "On the one hand, they are obviously interested in lowering energy costs. On the other, the cultivation of a sustainable product is very motivating: CO2-free cucumbers or peppers. This attracts the possible attention of consumers."

In horticultural area Californië, three geothermal wells are currently realized. Two of these are made ​​operational in the coming weeks, the third is being prepped for drilling by the end of 2013. "The great thing is that the proceeds of geothermal wells go directly to the growers themselves,” says Burghout. "There is no energy company taking anything away, it belongs to the growers."

Californië does offer support, for example, in the regulations and the technical side of the story. Burghout: "We can guarantee or back up certain ventures. In the following project for instance: two growers, Frank van Lipzig and Roland Gielen, already have a greenhouse and want to start with geothermal energy. But for their 18 hectares an actual well is far too big. We actively participate in the procedures until another grower fills the adjacent plot. We basically want as many growers as possible to benefit from the energy.

Currently, there are 90 hectares of greenhouses in Californië, about thirty ha. is issued but not yet built and about thirty ha. is freely available. To show to growers the potential of the area, the Tour de Chance is held on 21 March: a tour combined with lectures on the area and on sustainable cultivation. Growers wanting to participate in the Tour de Chance can register here.

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