Geothermal makes funding bid for Cornwall power plant

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Geothermal Engineering, the company developing Britain’s first commercial-scale deep geothermal power plant in Cornwall, has bid for a share of the £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund.

The fund is designed to stimulate enterprise by providing support for projects that can create long-term, private-sector-led economic growth and employment.

The company said it plans to develop up to 30 further plants in Devon and Cornwall with the capacity to meet half of Cornwall’s current electricity demand.  

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the deep geothermal resource of Cornwall alone could supply 10 per cent of the National Grid’s baseload electricity demand.

In August 2010 Geothermal Engineering obtained planning permission to build its first geothermal power plant near Redruth, Cornwall.

The plant will use Cornwall’s geothermal resources to produce 10MW of electricity, to be fed into the National Grid; and 55MW of heat energy, which will be used locally.

Geothermal Engineering believes the development of Cornwall’s geothermal resource would contribute towards a new private-sector industry in a region where GDP per head is said to be less than 75 per cent of the EU average.

According to the Geothermal Energy Association of the United States, for every 1GW of capacity added, the new facilities will support 6,400 manufacturing and construction jobs and 740 operation and management jobs per year.

Ryan Law, managing director at Geothermal Engineering and chair of the Renewable Energy Association’s Deep Geothermal Group, said: ‘The deep geothermal sector represents an enormous opportunity for the economy and as an industry could provide up to 30,000 jobs in the UK.’