The two wells in Groß Schönebeck extend four kilometres into the Earth to water-bearing zones that are hot enough to operate the steam turbines of the power plant. Last year GFZ experts closed the thermal water cycle between the two wells at the surface. A corrosion bypass was integrated into this cycle to expose a test specimen to the extremely saline water and to improve the reliability of technical system components based on corrosion-resistant materials. A geothermal research power plant is currently under construction and will be put into operation in 2012 in order to investigate plant performance and identify optimisation potential for making geothermal power generation cost-effective and energyefficient. In the long-term view, Huenges expects that geothermal energy will have the potential to meet about five percent of the demand for electricity and heating in Germany.