An Early Day Motion has been tabled in Parliament to put forward the case for greater investment in deep geothermal development in the UK.
The motion was sponsored by a number of MPs from all parties, including Cornish duo Andrew George (LibDem) and Stephen Gilbert.
Deep geothermal energy is accessed by drilling into hot rocks at depths of up to 5 km. The energy stored in the hot rocks is used for electricity generation and heating.
The motion notes that technological advances have widened the number of geographical areas available for deep geothermal development. Currently in Cornwall, plans for commercial hot rocks plants are being investigated for the Eden Project and St Day.
“Heat produced from deep under our land is one of the key resources that can provide Cornwall with national and international leadership”
However, the motion notes its regret that DECC’s Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund has been cut in half in 2010; that current financial support under the Renewables Obligation is inadequate, and that deep geothermal energy is not included in the Renewable Heat Incentive or the Feed-In Tariff scheme.
The motion urges the Government to introduce early legislation to support deep geothermal exploration licences and to ensure early inclusion of deep geothermal heat and power in mainstream renewables support.
Julian German, a cabinet member of Cornwall Council, says: “Cornwall Council is extremely positive about the opportunities that geothermal energy will bring to Cornwall and its communities. It is essential that we utilise our vast array of renewable energy potential and electricity.
“Heat produced from deep under our land is one of the key resources that can provide Cornwall with national and international leadership. It is very gratifying to see that the research completed 20 years ago when the Hot Rocks Project was operational in Cornwall is now being turned into a commercial reality. We therefore support any moves to increase the Government investment required to maximise these opportunities.”
Ryan Law, MD of Geothermal Engineering Ltd and chair of the Renewable Energy Association’s Deep Geothermal Group, added: “Geothermal energy can be a significant contributor to the UK’s energy portfolio, offering both heat and power from the same process. We can feed electricity into the Grid while simultaneously providing energy-efficient, decentralised heat to local communities – it sounds revolutionary but across Europe this is commonplace.”
The full text of the Early Day Motion can be found here: