Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Geothermal Country Notes
There is no recorded high-temperature resource in the UK and although the country possesses a low- and medium-enthalpy resource it is, unlike some of its European neighbours, very under-utilised. Research into HDR technology has ceased.
There has been no direct Government support for geothermal energy despite the country being required to produce 10% of electricity generation from renewable energy by 2010. The only application of low-enthalpy geothermal energy has been a large-scale scheme to supply combined heat and power to 3 000 homes, 10 schools and numerous commercial buildings in the city of Southampton.
There are only isolated instances (estimated at 550 at end-2004) of ground-source heat pumps in existence, representing about 10 MWt. The Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) was introduced in April 2006 (replacing The Clear Skies Project) to provide grants for a range of renewable technologies including ground-source heat pumps. It is hoped that this will stimulate the market.
The UK has many disused mines and at the present time there are two projects in Glasgow using water that has accumulated in the mines and then pumped via heat exchangers to heat apartment blocks. Several other schemes are under consideration.
An ambitious plan to regenerate the site of a cement works which closed in 2002 will hopefully lead to a renewable energy village in Upper Weardale, County Durham. The area, which was formerly mined for lead and fluorspar, is known to possess a source of geothermally-heated water (46°C at a depth of
1 000 m). The Weardale Task Force's Master Plan for the eco-friendly village envisages that the heat will be utilised for a public hot-springs spa and fish-breeding ponds. Additionally, the development will include environmentally-friendly commercial and residential property and a range of tourist and leisure activities based on the use of biomass (for a district heating scheme), wind, solar and hydro technologies.
Following the viability studies currently being conducted, it is expected that a planning application for the village will be submitted in early autumn 2007.