REA urges government to back geothermal report

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Eden Project founder Tim Smit have called on the government to back geothermal energy in the UK.

It follows a report published today by engineering consultants Sinclair Knights Merz (SKM) which concludes that geothermal could produce 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs and supply heat to millions of homes. According to SKM, UK geothermal resources could provide 9.5GW of baseload electricity – the equivalent to nine nuclear power stations – and over 100GW of heat.

SKM’s report also finds that significant hotspots exist in Cornwall, Weardale, Lake District, East Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Cheshire, Worcester, Dorset, Hampshire, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Cost reduction potential is high in the UK despite an existing support regime for geothermal which lags heavily behind other European countries.

Dr Ryan Law, chair of REA’s Deep Geothermal Group, said: “We don’t want to be left out of a global industry which is estimated to be worth £30 billion by 2020. We could be at the forefront of this industry given the strength of British engineering skills. If the UK wants to seize a share of this booming global market we must prove our competence at home. Clearly investment at home could also go a long way to meeting our future energy needs cleanly and safely.”

Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project and writer of the report’s foreword, added: “Every politician of whatever hue should read this report because it is much more than a case for siloed activity to build a power or heat plant; it is the platform for the birth of a new industry. Deep geothermal is part of that vision; for a small investment today we could be creating something that our grandchildren will thank us for.”