The small town of Staufen is still paying for a drilling mistake a full decade later.
By David Grossman
Whenever local energy sources are extracted, there’s usually some sort of trade-off. It could be something serious like air quality in coal, or something minor like an altered view with a wind farm. But nobody starts an energy project with a plan to destroy a town. That’s exactly what’s happening in Germany since 2007, when a drilling operation started sending cracks through the town.
YouTuber Tom Scott went to visit. Watch the video above.
Staufen has not been ignored in the German media. According to an analysis a decade later, “sales of vertical ground source heat pump (GSHP) systems have declined…Our investigations revealed nine cases of serious damage in Germany, causing financial losses of more than 100 million Euros.”
The analysis reveals that 9 areas in German have been affected by the GSHPs, including Staufen, which the analysis reports as having issues with “ascending groundwater into anhydrite-bearing layers resulting in ground heaves at the surface.”
Working with the ground always has risks. In the United States, fracking has come under similar controversy. While it doesn’t make the ground heave, an increasingly robust amount of evidence suggests that it causes earthquakes.