Despite plans to build two geothermal plants in Cornwall, the government cut deep geothermal development subsidy by half to £1million last year. This has led some industry experts to criticise the Government’s aims for renewables.
Matt Hastings, Energy Manager at The Eden Project said: “There has to be some sort of government commitment to the long-term of the geothermal industry, whether that’s through feed-in tariffs or renewable heat incentives or even licensing; they just need to show some interest in the future.”
Countries such as Australia and Germany, are said to be market leaders in geothermal development, where legislation has been in place for some years. Experts believe the UK government must learn from these nations if the UK’s geothermal energy potential is to be realised.
Professor Horst Rueter, a leading expert on Deep Geothermal and seismic monitoring said: “Geothermal development in the UK could be fast. Technically we have globalisation; a network where different countries are able to learn from each other and so any nation can develop [geothermal technologies] very quickly.”
Although Deep Geothermal projects currently have steep start-up costs, many in the renewables sector see it as a straightforward and strong source of renewable energy that can benefit all around the world.
Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association said: “The REA philosophy is that all forms of renewable energy have the opportunity to take their place at the table. You need a portfolio of renewable technologies. You can’t just rely on meeting the UK’s targets through the cheapest renewable alone, but you can’t keep endless support going for those that don’t have any prospects of bringing their costs down. I think deep geothermal hasn’t had its chance yet and we’re all about enabling it to have its chance.”