Geothermal projects get £1.1m funding

The government’s Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund has issued £1.1m to three geothermal projects. In the second round of cash allocations, the money has been divided between Keele University, Cofily District […]

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By Kelvin Ross

The government’s Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund has issued £1.1m to three geothermal projects.

In the second round of cash allocations, the money has been divided between Keele University, Cofily District Energy, and a joint venture between Newcastle and Durham universities.

Deep geothermal energy uses the natural heat found miles underground to produce electricity and heat at the surface. Geothermal energy is non-intermittent, low-carbon, renewable and could be a valuable technology in diversifying the UK’s energy mix and reducing the UK’s dependence on imported fuels.

The first round concentrated on deep geothermal power and funding went to two Cornwall-based projects. Yesterday’s second round concentrated on heat-only projects.

The Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund was set up to help companies carry out exploratory work needed to find viable sites for this technology.

Keele will use £500,000 to to drill a 1200m borehole to provide geothermal heat for its proposed sustainable campus. Funding of £400,000 to Newcastle/Durham University project will be used for the drilling, hydraulic testing and geophysical logging of a 2km deep borehole at ‘Science Central’, a large development in central Newcastle.

Cofily District Energy has got £200,000 to part fund a refit of the Southampton deep geothermal well.

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said yesterday: “I want to ensure that geothermal energy – which is both renewable and can be produced locally – can become one of the energy technologies of the future.”

He said the second round of funding was “an exciting step forward in the UK, and I’m looking forward to seeing these innovative projects get off the ground and working”.

He added: “Geothermal sources in the South West of the UK alone have the potential to meet 2% of the country’s annual electricity demand”.