Plans for a geothermal power plant at the Eden Project have been given the go-ahead by Cornwall Council.
The plant will be built by EGS Energy. A two-borehole system – one injection well and one production well, both around four and a half kilometres deep – will be drilled next year.
Water will circulate between the bottoms of the two wells, where it will be heated by the hot rocks and returned to the surface at approximately 180 degrees celsius.
The plant will provide electricity for the Eden Project, with surplus going back into the grid.
In Cornwall, geothermal technology is easier to implement than elsewhere in the UK because there is no need to drill down as deep.
EGS is a Cornwall renewables company specialising in geothermal technology. Its managing director Guy Macpherson-Grant said Cornwall was “the UK’s natural home for geothermal activity and where there is a world class geothermal resource”.
Eden’s energy manager Matt Hastings said: “We are in the early stages of a massive project which we hope will be the catalyst for a series of geothermal power plants throughout Cornwall. If all goes according to plan, EGS technology will provide well-needed resilience to the Cornish power grid while also helping to meet the daunting national challenge of a six-fold increase in renewable electricity and a 22-fold increase in renewable heat by 2020.”
The Eden Project is backing a bid by the Renewable Energy Association to win more government support for geothermal energy.