No fun without gas – crisis mood in thermal baths

The CHP plant is sufficient for hot water and electricity at the Limes thermal baths in Bad Gögging this summer, plant manager Franz Bauer (left) and Ulrich Heindl, deputy technical manager of the thermal baths. – Photo: Jochen Dannenberg

Kelheim. The Kelheim district is just experiencing the hottest day of the year. Nobody thinks about the next winter. But it can be inconvenient.

Cold in the apartments and without the usual winter fun: Kaiser Therme in Bad Abbach and Limes Therme in Bad Gögging can remain closed.

This question from district councilor Niklas Neumeyer at a meeting of the Bad Gögging association, which manages the thermal baths in Limes, put the topic on the committee agenda on Tuesday. “What happens if the gas supply is completely shut off?” Niklas Neumeyer asked.

The question is of fundamental importance, namely whether gas is the most important medium in both Limes Therme and Kaiser Therme. The water for showers is gas-heated, as are the radiators and thermal water in the pools. Bathing in the cold months of the year is not possible without gas.

The answer of the head of the special union and the chairman of the district council, Olaf Heinrich, to the question of the district council was unambiguous. “The legal situation is crystal clear,” said the head of the association. If the “red alert” level, as the district president put it, hospitals and retirement homes would be given preferential treatment. Then come, for example, companies from the chemical industry. “Leisure centers and swimming pools are not a very high priority,” said district president Olaf Heinrich.

Thermal baths insist on contracts

No fun without gas. The gas is needed to heat the thermal water and to produce warning water. The amounts used by the Limes thermal baths, for example, are difficult to replace. Not at all in the short term. In normal years, such as before the corona pandemic, the facility consumed 15 million kilowatt hours. This cost around 600,000 euros a year or 1,650 euros a day, calculates plant manager Franz Bauer.

Franz Altmannsperger, managing director of the Lower Bavaria thermal bath community where Bad Abbach, Bad Birnbach, Bad Gögging, Bad Füssing and Bad Griesbach are closed, warns against panic. “We have existing contracts,” he says. “As long as they are met, we are well priced. However, if deliveries are not made, we have a huge problem. “

If that happened, the thermal baths would probably have to close. There would probably be no alternative to this step. In this case, thermal baths should only be concerned with avoiding further damage that may result from systems being switched off too quickly or a lack of heating in winter. However, in this respect, thermal baths could benefit from the experience of the corona pandemic. The company had to close very quickly. At least the staff has practice in this situation.

If there can be closures now – what will happen then? There are two answers to this. First: the Federal Minister of Economy expects the Federal Republic to be largely independent of Russian gas in the summer of 2024, i.e. in two years.

Second: the Kaiser-Therme in Bad Abbach and Limes-Therme in Bad Gögging investigate to what extent the current generation of electricity and heat can be converted into renewable energy sources. For example, guest parking spaces can be converted into carports on which PV systems can then be installed.

More pace

Thermen manager Franz Altmannsperger explained that an alternative energy source at Lower Bavaria’s thermal baths has been considered for some time, “but maybe not under high pressure,” he added. Altmannsperger assumes that solutions cannot be implemented in the blink of an eye. This will take “probably a few years.”

The indoor pools in the Kelheim district are completely different. For example, the heating energy in the indoor swimming pool of Neustadt and Keldorado Kelheim was converted into renewable energy years ago, which should mean that water rats can continue their hobby in indoor swimming pools this winter.

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