News 2016

#6 SCCER-SoE Blog
In our new blog post, the SCCER-SoE's program manager Ueli Wieland explains how geothermal probes used for heating can not only extract but also store energy for future use. Additionally, he provides examples of implemented and planned systems in Switzerland and Europe. The post is available in English, German, and French. Feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter & Co. and recommend our blog to interested people. December 2016

New issue of the SCCER-SoE newsletter
The leading motto of the fourth SCCER-SoE newsletter is "towards the future". It's available in German and French and tells you more about several hydropower and geo-energy projects of great importance for the future. In addition, it's worth reading until the end, where the SCCER-SoE reveals the focus areas of its second phase during the next four years. November 2016

Paper on risk governance for induced seismicity of geothermal projects
Evelina Trutnevyte and Stefan Wiemer of the SCCER-SoE task 4.1 just released a new paper in which they propose the screening tool GRID for geothermal project operators and regulators to get a sense of the extent to which induced seismicity is a concern for a specific project. Furthermore, they recommend tailor-made risk governance measures, including for example hazard and risk assessment, seismic monitoring, insurance, traffic light systems, and public and stakeholder engagement. November 2016

#5 SCCER-SoE Blog
Our new blog post addresses the problems that hydropower has to face due to sediments and identifies promising countermeasures. The author, Professor Robert Boes, is Director of the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW) at ETH Zurich and Principal Investigator at the SCCER-SoE. The post is available in English, German, and French. Feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter & Co. and recommend our blog to interested people. November 2016

#4 SCCER-SoE Blog
In our fourth blog post you get to know DESTRESS – a recently started EU project that aims to pave the way for economically successful, sustainable, and environmentally responsible geothermal energy plants. Professor Stefan Wiemer and Michèle Marti, the authors and both involved in the SCCER-SoE and DESTRESS, discuss frequent pitfalls of geothermal projects and how demonstration sites and collaborative research can help to overcome them. The post is available in English, German, and French. Feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter & Co. and recommend our blog to interested people. October 2016

Project posters and presentations ready for download
Did you miss our Annual Conference 2016 or want to catch up on a specific project? Click here to download a presentation held during the two days or here to download the latest project posters ordered by tasks. October 2016

The ISC experiment in the spotlight
On 7 September 2016, the SCCER-SoE invited journalists for a visit to the Grimsel rock laboratory to explore the experiment „In-Situ Stimulation and Circulation (ISC)“ led by Dr. Florian Amann. Learn more about the journalists‘ impressions and the project in the following TV reports and newspaper articles:

First results of damage tests on brick walls
The team of the SCCER-SoE task 4.1 entered a new field of research. In collaboration with the Chair of Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering at ETH Zurich it completed the first phase of a test to investigate the probability of non-structural / cosmetic damage (i.e. cracks) on brick walls in case of induced earthquakes. Whereas similar studies mostly focus on the impacts of strong natural earthquakes and on preventing buildings from collapsing, induced earthquakes are usually smaller but of interest for operators, insurances, and homeowners. Preliminary observations of the test indicate that magnitudes above 3.8 cause non-structural damage to the wall specimens. The second phase of the project will consist in testing ten additional wall samples and in extracting empirical vulnerability functions. To get a better impression of the test, look at some pictures and watch a video, or read the project description in the last SCCER-SoE newsletter in German or French. August 2016

#3 SCCER-SoE Blog
Our third blog post is online now! Prof. Dr. Anton J. Schleiss from EPF Lausanne answers the question „Does Switzerland need more dams and reservoirs?“ and explains how this need could be fulfilled. The post is available in English, German, and French. Feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter & Co. and to recommend our blog to interested people. August 2016

New grants and assistant professors
The SCCER-SoE proudly announces that Matteo Lupi received an Assistant Professor Energy Grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Ueli Angst was awarded with a SNSF professorship, and Daniel Farinotti was appointed as Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich. Matteo Lupi’s new project is called GENERATE (GEophysical and Numerical Experiments for Reservoir Analysis and fluid-Transported Energy). Starting in January 2017, Ueli Angst will lead the group Durability of Engineering Materials at the Institute of Building Materials at ETH Zurich. Daniel Farinotti will be the head of a glaciology group at the WSL and the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW) at ETH Zurich. August 2016

#2 SCCER-SoE Blog
The SCCER-SoE launched its new blog in order to regularly provide exclusive insights and opinions on current developments in the field of geo-energy and hydropower in Switzerland. Now, François Avellan, deputy head of the SCCER-SoE and professor at EPF Lausanne, wrote the second post entitled "Hyropower in Switzerland - meeting the challenges of the future?". Feel free to recommend our blog to interested people and share the current post on Facebook, Twitter & Co. July 2016

Third SCCER-SoE Newsletter
The third issue of the new SCCER-SoE newsletter is available now (in German and French). It includes a short report about the long-term future of the eight SCCERs, details of the project "Vulnerability of the Swiss built environment", and the most important information about the SCCER-SoE Annual Conference 2016. Click here for more information and to read the third issue of the newsletter. July 2016

New Software Publicly Available
Within task 2.4 of the SCCER-SoE, the group AHEAD (Applied Hydroeconomics and Alpine Environmental Dynamics) at EPF Lausanne developed a software to find the optimal water allocation policies at the water intake that maximize the energy production and preserve the riverine ecosystem in the case of a Small Hydropower Plant. It can be used either to evaluate the performances of an existing hydropower scheme or as a planning tool for future projects. The software is publicly available at this link. July 2016

Job vacancy
The SCCER-SoE is looking for a project member for the integration and management of geodata. Click here to read the job description and apply for the position. July 2016

Recommendable newsletter by GEOTHERMIE-SCHWEIZ
The Swiss association for geothermal energy has recently sent a newsletter with many interesting articles about different aspects of geothermal energy in Switzerland (written in German, French, and Italian). Learn more about the traffic light system by the Swiss Seismological Service, read the interview with the CEO of our industrial partner SIG, and get an overview of the current situation of the Federal Assembly’s negotiations about geothermal energy. June 2016

#1 SCCER-SoE Blog
The SCCER-SoE launched its new blog in order to regularly provide exclusive insights and opinions on current developments in the field of geo-energy and hydropower in Switzerland. Domenico Giardini, head of the SCCER-SoE and professor at ETH Zurich, introduces the blog with his post “It’s time to go geothermal!”. He claims that we should waste no more time in further exploring the potential of geothermal energy in Switzerland. Feel free to recommend our blog to interested people and share the current post on Facebook, Twitter & Co. June 2016

Imagining the worst for Europe’s riskiest assets
The STREST project (within task 4.1 of the SCCER-SoE) has been featured by the TV channel Euronews. Watch the video with Anton Schleiss, Arnaud Mignan and José Pedro Gamito. May 2016

TV report about carbon capture and storage in Switzerland
Carbon capture and storage is one of the main research areas of the SCCER-SoE. Watch this short TV report of RTSinfo to get a good overview of this technique, some risks, and ongoing research activities in Switzerland. April 2016

Using turbulent water jets to keep dams clean
Sediments continuously build up in reservoirs and therefore reduce the storage volume of dams worldwide. EPFL researchers came up with a method of keeping sediments in suspension and allowing them to be flushed out. A prototype is in the works and will be tested on several dams in Switzerland as part of the SCCER-SoE. Click here to read the news article by the EPFL that was recently cited in several newspapers (including a video and links to the original reports). April 2016

10th Swiss Energy Research Conference
On April 14 and 15, 2016 the 10th Swiss Energy Research Conference took place in Lucerne. About 240 participants came to discuss strategies, priorities, and results of Switzerland’s energy research. Take a look at the presentation of Domenico Giardini (SCCER-SoE head), Larryn W. Diamond (SCCER-SoE task 1.1 coordinator, University of Bern), and Peter Meier (CEO Geo-Energie Suisse AG) with an overview of the eight SCCER’s coordinated research content. If you want to know more about the event, read this detailed article (only in German). April 2016

Media analysis shows potential for conflict
Dr. Olivier Ejderyan of the USYS TdLab and the SCCER-SoE’s task 4.1 conducted a qualitative media analysis with 115 articles of Le Temps, Tribune du Genève, and Le Quotidien Jurassien. The goal was to provide an overview of social perceptions on Deep Geothermal Energy (DGE) in parts of Switzerland where most advances on concrete projects are currently under way. Results indicate that DGE is perceived as a technical matter managed by the public hand. The main risk to which DGE is associated is induced earthquakes. Seismic risk is mostly perceived as a phenomenon, whose negative consequences are not dramatic and can be managed. However, articles addressing questions of governance of DGE projects tend to report disagreements between authorities and the population on whether information were communicated properly and public involvement was sufficient. Therefore, the analysis suggests that this is a contested issue that must be addressed by DGE project planners and developers. April 2016

Second SCCER-SoE newsletter
The second issue of the new SCCER-SoE newsletter is available now (in German and French). It includes an interview with Peter Burgherr about the „Global Observatory“, details of the new project FLEXSTOR and task‘s 4.1 report about a fully renewable Switzerland. Click here for more information and to read the second issue of the newsletter. March 2016

New project to raise the flexibility of hydropower plants
The SCCER-SoE got the grant funding approval by the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) for the project FLEXSTOR. Starting in May, 2016, the project will last for two years. It’s a cooperation with the Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG (KWO) and aims at improving climate and market resilience, as well as eco-compliance of the Swiss hydropower production. New tools and methodologies are proposed for design and operation of flexible hydropower schemes. Flexibility of storage plants is addressed in terms of production scheduling and sediment management. One of the first projects that will benefit from FLEXSTOR is the new Trift hydropower scheme developed by KWO, precursor of a new series of projects in the periglacial environment. If you want to know more about FLEXSTOR, read the article in the latest SCCER-SoE newsletter. March 2016

White Paper about the competitiveness of hydropower
The Competence Center for Research in Energy, Society and Transition (SCCER CREST) published its first White Paper entitled “Wasserkraft: Wiederherstellung der Wettbewerbsfähigkeit”. Hydropower plant operators and politics are called upon to make their contributions in order for hydropower to regain competitiveness and play an important role in the future energy supply. Topics like new trade strategies, cost savings, water rates, and coordination with the EU are addressed. Click here to read the full White Paper. March 2016

A fully renewable Switzerland
The team of the SCCER-SoE task 4.1 carried out a first order assessment of a future Swiss energy system powered exclusively by renewable energy. The results show that the optimal configuration of the infrastructure would involve a careful trade-off between the spatial averaging effects of a highly meshed transmission network and the time averaging effects provided by large quantities of grid level storage. A strong transmission capacity would be needed because the sparsely populated alpine regions produce a disproportionately large fraction of the country’s energy, whereas the demand centres are situated mainly in the northern plateau. On the other hand, transport of electricity would not be able to alleviate the considerable seasonal variation in energy production and demand (higher production during summer, when demand is low, than in winter, when demand is high). To solve this problem, extra storage capacity would be required. A significant amount of energy trade with neighbouring countries would also be an inevitable component. Please follow this link to read the full paper or click here to get to the project website. February 2016

Communication analysis of the deep geothermal project of St. Gallen
Within the framework of a teaching course called “Transdisciplinary Case Study”, which was organized by the USYS TdLab at ETH Zurich and among others supported by the SCCER-SoE, Master students retrospectively analysed the deep geothermal project of St. Gallen (stopped in 2014). The focus of the case study was on the communication of risks and benefits, based on a “sender and receiver” model (in this case the project management and the citizens of St. Gallen). Click here to read the 40-pages brochure (in German) or here to get a short summary of the case study (in English). January 2016