Deep geothermal energy has huge potential as environmentally friendly CO2-free district heat source in urban centres. A drawback is that geothermal systems can induce earthquakes that pose seismic risk to critical sensitive infrastructure such as hospitals, data centres and underground construction (e.g., underground trains). Risk can be mitigated with implementing transparent regulatory processes, defining adequate seismic monitoring plans and regional planning. The SEISMIC RISK project focuses on how to evaluate, mitigate and communicate seismic hazard and risk in an urban environment. One of the associated challenges is the unclear regulatory process and unclear roles of the different actors in Finland. It is also necessary to clarify what sort of information and at what level of detail the authorities need information on induced seismicity and associated risks.
The project is centered around the Otaniemi deep geothermal system, using and creating high quality datasets on induced seismicity as well as geological background data. As both scientific and societal impact is targeted, the work is organized into nine work packages each focusing on different but interrelated challenges.
The project consortium consists of the University of Helsinki, VTT Technical Research Centre and the Geological Survey of Finland. The SEISMIC RISK –project is funded through the Academy of Finland’s special funding for Crisis preparedness and security of supply during 8/2020-11/2023.