First Cornish geothermal power expected in 2022; companies announce four further plants and long term target of 500MW

Geothermal Engineering has announced that its ‘proof of concept’ power plant on the United Downs industrial estate in Cornwall is now producing geothermal steam at 175degC extracted from 5.1km underground, and it has plans for four deep geothermal power plants in Cornwall.
It says heads of terms have been signed on the sites, each with a 5MWe electrical capacity and 20MW of heat for the local area. It says each plant will each take around 18 months to complete, with all four sites anticipated to be up and running by 2026.

GEL and Thrive Renewable’s United Downs plant will deliver approximately 3MWe and is “on track” to deliver its first electricity during 2022. Heat will be used by the Cornwall Geothermal Distillery Company now in the planning process (2.5MWt) and potentially in a large housing development planned at Langarth (10MWt).

Ryan Law, managing director of Geothermal Engineering Ltd said: “We have proved the technology works at United Downs, we have progressive funding in place, and we now have four additional sites which our experienced team is ready to start work on. Over the next 20 years, our target is to produce in excess of 500MW of power from geothermal resources making this one of the most significant and reliable baseload power sources in the UK.”

Matthew Clayton, managing director of Thrive Renewables plc said: “As the UK produces increasing amounts of variable renewable energy like wind and solar power, this form of baseload power production plays an essential role in stabilising and securing our power supply. We are delighted to have backed geothermal in the UK at an early stage at United Downs and firmly believe that geothermal energy will form a valuable part of the UK’s future energy mix.”

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for the economy Stephen Rushworth said: “We are excited to support this emerging industry as it continues to take shape in Cornwall, and to realise the benefits it will deliver for the residents of Cornwall. Unlike almost any other form of energy production, geothermal heat energy must be used close to its source. This means that new plants will benefit local communities by attracting new business, jobs and inward investment, as well as offering the potential for delivering local heat networks for residents. Our initial focus, part funded by the governments Heat Network Delivery Unit (HNDU), will be to supply a proposed new housing development of 3800 homes and commercial buildings at Langarth Garden Village.”

Further reading
Lincolnshire’s exhausted oil wells investigated as source of geothermal energy

Stoke on Trent geothermal district heat project moves forward with planning approval granted