UK's first Geothermal plant at Eden

I've just seen that the Eden Project has announced it will pioneer the first UK geothermal plant. Geothermal literally means "earth heat". The planned plant at the Eden Projects St Austell quarry, could provide heat and electricity for the tourist attraction's giant greenhouses and 5,000 local homes as well as provide as much as 10 per cent of the UK's entire electricity requirements.

There is a vast quantity of geothermal energy stored in the rocks below Cornwall and the geothermal technology has existed since the 1970s in order to capture this. However with our dependence on fossil fuel, the technology was not picked up and it seems only now that the time is right for it to be viable for developers. The plant would be a carbon neutral source of heat and power, which is 100% controllable and on an industrial scale. Compared to other clean technologies, it has a small footprint above ground, and since it consists of a closed loop system its potential negative environmental impact is small.

The 2009 Budget included £405 million of targeted support for low-carbon industries so hopefully we will soon see developers having more confidence for investment in technologies such as this.

Alex Damms

Topics: edie
Tags: | Geothermal | low carbon | technology
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