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Geothermal Engineering plans commercial scale geothermal power plan in UK

Geothermal Engineering Ltd is planning a hot rock geothermal power plant in Cornwall, UK – possibly the first commercial scale geothermal power plant in the UK.

The geothermal power plant will supply 10 MW of base load electricity to the National Grid and up to 55 MW of renewable heat for local use.

Subject to planning permission, the start date for drilling is mid 2010, with the geothermal power plant commercially operational by 2013. Over the next 20 years, Geothermal Engineering Ltd plans to deliver up to 300 MW of clean electricity and up to 1 GW of renewable heat for communities across the South West of the UK.

Over the coming months, Geothermal Engineering Ltd will be consulting with the local community, council and universities on their preferred options for using the renewable heat.

The geothermal wells will be drilled to approximately 5 km where temperatures are expected to exceed 170°C. 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 the source of renewable heat.

Geothermal Engineering Ltd chose Cornwall for the first geothermal plant as previous research proved that Cornwall has a suitable heat resource.

Ryan Law, MD of Geothermal Engineering Ltd, says: “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 power in the UK at minimal environmental cost."

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