The Paris region has an abundance of naturally heated water deep underground, which has the potential to provide a wealth of sustainable energy. Discover how Aéroports de Paris tapped into that energy with superb results.

At Paris-Orly airport, a 10 megawatt geothermal power plant takes advantage of deep underground water naturally heated to 74°C. This technology makes it possible to heat all the terminal buildings with renewable energy, allowing for vast reductions in greenhouse gas. This project was initiated and conducted by Aéroports de Paris and the plant inaugurated in 2011.

The geothermal power plant draws hot water from a depth of more than 1,700 metres from the Dogger aquifer in the Paris basin and uses it to heat the site facilities. It provides heating mainly to the terminals, but also to office buildings and hotels at the site. The life span of the geothermal plant is up to 30 years.

Aéroports de Paris received an incentive from a government agency ADEME (Agency for Energy Management and Environment) to help finance this project.  During the works, which took place from September 2009 to November 2011, the digging required particular expertise and precision because of the constraints of working in an aviation environment, which required close coordination with the French Civil Aviation Authority.

In 2014, the plant generated 30,100 MWh of thermal energy, providing 64% of the power required for internal heating and 23% of the total energy needs of the airport.

Orly’s sister airport, Charles de Gaulle, installed a wood-fuelled heating system in 2013 which cuts CO2 emissions by 18,000 tonnes per year. All this is part of a group-wide goal to reduce emissions by 25% between 2009 and 2015.