Cornwall’s first geothermal power plant wins funds to start by 2024

Geothermal Engineering Limited (GEL) has won funding from Kerogen Capital (£12 million) and Thrive Renewables (£3 million) to take forward its geothermal project at the United Downs site in Cornwall and its Geogen geothermal development portfolio.
The new funding will be used to start power production at the United Downs plant by 2024. United Downs is the UK’s first integrated deep geothermal power and heat project. It will deliver 2MWe of baseload electricity and up to 10MWt of heat to be used in a housing development at Langarth.
The funding will also help prepare new geothermal sites in Cornwall which have recently received planning permission. GEL says the further projects across the county will each to deliver 5MWe of baseload power and 20MWt of heat. The new plants will each take approximately 36 months to complete.
In total, the company says the investment will help initiate 25MWe of renewable electricity and 100MWt of renewable heat across its portfolio by 2028.
Kerogen Capital, a private equity firm focused on international energy, will fund the investment through its dedicated energy transition platform, CelerateX.
Thrive Renewables made its first commercial investment of £3 million into United Downs in January 2020 to support final testing of wells at the site, as well as £0.47 million in 2021 to fund planning applications for additional potential geothermal sites.
GEL has also found significant concentrations of lithium within the deep geothermal fluid at United Downs and is working with partners to trial direct extraction technology to extract this key battery mineral.
Jason Cheng, chief executive and co-founder of Kerogen Capital, said, “The UK has large geothermal natural resources with the potential to satisfy the UK’s entire heat demand, as well as playing a significant role in decarbonising heat and power. In addition, geothermal can provide security and independence from imported energy. We believe geothermal in the UK has enormous potential to create a new industry, grow a domestic supply chain and drive employment. The investment in GEL represents our third in the geothermal sector, following our backing of Yeager Energy (Netherlands) and GTML (Norway).”
Matthew Clayton, managing director at Thrive Renewables, said, “Having provided the first commercial funding into United Downs, which has enabled it to reach the construction stage, we are delighted to make a further investment to get this ground-breaking project into operation.”