Shift Geothermal calls for national geo-energy centre

Shift Geothermal is launching a bid to establish a new national centre for geo-energy to realise the potential of a huge untapped UK energy source.

Shift Geothermal
(Image: Shift Geothermal)

The organisation, a non-profit comprised of academics and energy sector specialists, believes geological resources from the UK’s oil and gas sectors can be repurposed to produce geo-energy but a lack of collaboration and coordination is undermining progress.

According to Shift Geothermal, geo-energy could deliver up to 25 per cent of the UK’s energy mix by 2050 but this would require government commitment and a strategic approach to sharing research to propel innovation and pilot projects.

In a statement, Dr Alison Auld, a director of SHIFT Geothermal said: “Geo-energy has huge potential in the UK, but this has been largely overlooked and we now risk being left behind in terms of both investment and projects despite that potential.

“The future energy mix will be increasingly diverse, and technologies must be accelerated to rapidly enable sources of net zero carbon energy. People all too often think of Iceland and volcanoes when they think of geo-energy, but the technology has moved on. Repurposing and reusing existing offshore infrastructure for geo-energy is a transformational pivot for the UK to develop a new, limitless, home-grown clean energy source whilst supporting the economy and creating jobs.”


Geothermal power generation is estimated to have grown by approximately 75 per cent in the last five years and this growth has been aided by similarly rapid developments in geothermal technology that generate power from relatively low temperatures. Consequently, the number of viable sites including existing oil and gas production facilities has increased.

Concepts including power generation from co-produced fluids from oil and gas wells saw initial research projects dating back to the early 1990s and are being developed globally. Continually improving technology has meant that the rate of development has increased, and useful amounts of power have been generated at several oil and gas sites.

Shift Geothermal is seeking government and industry support to accelerate coordinated research and act as a catalyst for projects. It will identify and progress demonstrator and at scale projects and lobby for legislative and regulatory structures to establish geo-energy as part of the future energy mix.

Professor Jon Gluyas of Durham University and executive director of Durham Energy Institute said: “The UK has an opportunity to be a leader in how it recycles and repurposes its existing oil and gas infrastructure. Why charge ahead with decommissioning when we can rethink the future offshore sector and create new value by creating geo-energy hubs that provide clean power to existing oil and gas platforms, bring power to the shore and safeguard and create many thousands of jobs. It’s simply too big a resource to be ignored.”