Geothermal power plant

Geothermal Engineering has outlined plans to establish the UK’s first commercial-scale geothermal power plant near Redruth in Cornwall.

Geothermal systems use the Earth’s natural heat as a sustainable power source. Wells will be drilled to approximately 5km where temperatures are expected to exceed 170C.

Water will be pumped down into the rock where it is naturally heated, before being pumped back to the surface as hot water or steam. The heated water will be used to power turbines to generate electricity and as a source of renewable heat.

The plant will supply 10MW of base-load electricity to the National Grid and up to 55MW of renewable heat for local use. The planned start date for drilling is 2010, subject to planning approval, with the plant operational by 2013.

Over the next 20 years, Geothermal Engineering plans to deliver up to 300MW of clean, sustainable electricity and up to 1GW of renewable heat for communities across the South West of England.

Geothermal Engineering will work with Cornwall Council, local universities and residents in the area to plan how the renewable heat from the plant can be used to best serve the community.

Geothermal Engineering was founded in 2008 by Ryan Law who has 10 years’ experience in geothermal energy, primarily working with the global engineering consultancy Arup. Geothermal Engineering’s technical board includes Dr Tony Batchelor who ran the original Hot Dry Rock geothermal research project in Cornwall that was in operation between 1976 and 1991.

Ryan Law, managing director of Geothermal Engineering, said: ‘Geothermal energy has been in use for millennia, even in the UK where the Romans used it for bathing. Modern technology allows us to target deeper, hotter geothermal resources to provide a sustainable source of electricity and heat. Our vision is to provide renewable heat and power at minimal environmental cost.’