The city of Hoogstraten, in Belgium, signed up to the Covenant of Mayors in 2014, voluntarily committing to a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020.

Through the ‘Kempen 2020’ initiative the city of Hoogstraten is aiming at implementing the EU objective of 20% emission reduction from 2011 levels in the 29 municipalities. The region has recently engaged in a pioneering project on deep geothermal energy. The project was kicked off in 2014 to search the underground in the view of using local sustainable energy sources to heat Flemish homes and businesses.


Drilling for geothermal energy in Kempen region. Source: Covenant of Mayors

A gigantic rig is gradually drilling up to about 4 kilometres under the soil. If the previsions are correct, hot water will be found at a depth of about 3.5 km, at a temperature of more than 120 degrees Celsius. According to the project manager, this would allow to convert the heat into electricity. A second drilling is planned later this year.

This technique is a key action in the action plan for Kempen and a potential new economic boost for the region – Tinne Rombouts, Mayor of Hoogstraten .

The objective is first to provide energy to heat the headquarters of the research centre by 2017 and to spread progressively this approach to supply energy to the whole region by 2050. The exploratory drilling project, costing €7 million, is funded by VITO – a research organisation based in Flanders – and the government of Flanders, which contributed €2 million. The construction of about 100 power plants is expected to require an investment of about €6 billion and could directly create 2,000 new jobs.

Discover the city of Hoogstraten’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan on the Covenant of Mayors.

The Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy brings together thousands of local and regional authorities voluntarily committed to implementing EU climate and energy objectives on their territory.

Writer: Floriane Cappelletti, Communication Manager at the Covenant of Mayors Office.