Monday, May 27, 2024
Insights

Building a Geothermal Power Network Can Help Level-Up UK

Geothermal power is commonly employed in Iceland. In the UK, Teesside, Newcastle and east Yorkshire are all potential locations for geothermal sites.

The UK may benefit from the installation of an underground geothermal system, according to a report that discovered many of the regions with the most potential for this technology are located underneath the towns and cities that most require investment.

An academic study, funded by No 10, found that regions designated in the government’s ‘levelling up agenda’ are nearly three times as likely to have untapped energy sources beneath the surface.

Research conducted by the University of Durham discovered that six regions are in the top 10 of the index that the government utilises to distinguish places that need to be “levelled up”. These areas are Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough, East Lindsey, Hartlepool, Northumberland and Bassetlaw.

The North East of England is especially favourable for the production of geothermal energy and electricity. This includes Newcastle upon Tyne, North East Derbyshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire and Nottingham.

In order to gain access to geothermal energy, a borehole must be drilled down to a depth of approximately two to three miles. Then, cool water is pumped through the hot rocks below Earth’s surface. Afterward, a second borehole brings the warmed water back to the surface, where it can be used to heat up buildings and produce electricity.

According to Kieran Mullan MP, the author of the report, it was quite unexpected for there to be a “strong overlap” between places requiring investment and those that are ideal for geothermal energy. However, this could be an additional incentive for the government to reconsider their backing of this renewable energy source.

Mullan expressed that this technology offers reliable power and that their experience in drilling in the North Sea makes them well suited for further advancement. He stated that it is different from wind or solar in that it provides constant energy.

The UK has begun experimenting with geothermal energy with a project in Seaham, County Durham which intends to utilise water from old mineshafts to provide warmth to 1500 new residences. Simultaneously, the Eden Project in Cornwall has commenced a scheme which is intended to generate heat to heat up the rainforest and Mediterranean biomes, as well as offices, kitchens, and greenhouses.

The amount of geothermal energy located underground in the UK is theoretically enough to supply the heat needed in all homes for the next century. Even if one takes into consideration practical commercial and logistical concerns, geothermal energy could assist the UK with decreasing its reliance on fossil fuels and be solely dependent on the North Sea for its gas.

Mullan noted that government intervention in other European countries has been much more robust in its support of developing deep geothermal industries, and he believes this is an area in which we need to strive to match.

Due to its distinctive geology, Iceland has an abundance of deep geothermal energy; however, nations in western Europe are relying increasingly on geothermal energy to generate eco-friendly heating.

Approximately a quarter of a million houses in Paris use geothermal systems to heat their residences and the German government has pledged to fund €1bn (£860m) for 100 such projects by 2035.

Rishi Sunak stated that the study would be instrumental in allowing the government to make a determination regarding the potential of deep geothermal energy in the UK’s economy.