Drilling starts at UK geothermal electricity plant

Posted on 02 Dec 2018 and read 501 times
Drilling starts at UK geothermal electricity plantGeothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) recently began drilling operations at United Downs — the UK’s first deep geothermal ‘electricity farm’.

The aim of the £18 million project near Redruth is to demonstrate the potential of the UK’s geothermal resources to produce electricity and renewable heat. If successful, it will supply up to 3MWe of electricity, which is enough energy to power 3,000 homes.

Two deep geothermal wells will be drilled into the granitic rock at United Downs, one of which will reach a depth of 4.5km.

Water will then be pumped from that depth at a temperature of about 190°C, fed through a heat exchanger at the surface and then re-injected into the ground to pick up more heat (in a continuous cycle).

The extracted heat will be converted into electricity and supplied to the National Grid.

Ryan Law, managing director of GEL (www.geothermalengineering.co.uk), which is also drilling at Jubilee Pool in Penzance as part of a geothermal pool-heating project, said: “The UK’s largely untapped geothermal resources have the potential to deliver up to 20% of the country’s electricity and heat-energy needs in a reliable and sustainable way.

"As coal-fired power stations are switched off, the need for renewable base-load energy can only increase. It is incredibly exciting to see this pioneering project getting off the ground in what we hope will be the start of many similar initiatives around the UK.”

Sarah Newton, the MP for Truro and Falmouth, said: “Renewable heat sources will be vital for decarbonising our energy systems, and I look forward to seeing many more projects of this type in Cornwall and beyond.”

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