• REA and ARUP publish a new report ‘Deep Geothermal Energy: Economic Decarbonisation Opportunities for the United Kingdom’
  • Endorsed by over 30 businesses, academics, NGOs and industry experts, the report calls for a ‘Geothermal Development Incentive’ for up to 30 projects
  • By 2025 there could be 12 projects operational, creating 1,300 jobs and generating more than £100 million of investment largely centred in towns and cities in the North of England, Midlands and South-West
  • 360 sites could be established by 2050, providing: £1.5 billion of investment; 10,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs; 15,000 GWh of heat for over 2 million homes ; and an annual carbon saving of 3 million tonnes

The Government has been urged to provide targeted support for the deep geothermal sector to aid the ‘green recovery’ and help deliver a ‘world leading’ industry.

The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) and ARUP have published their ‘Deep Geothermal Energy: Economic Decarbonisation Opportunities for the United Kingdom’ report which underlines the environmental and economic potential of deep geothermal. It has the backing of over 30 businesses, academics, NGOs and industry experts.

The report estimates that, should the Government establish a Geothermal Development Incentive, 12 deep geothermal projects could be operational by 2025, creating 1,300 jobs and generating more than £100 million of investment, predominately in towns and cities in the North of England, Midlands and South-West. The scheme would provide a catalyst to the industry, with 360 sites being established by 2050. This would provide an additional £1.5 billion of investment, 10,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs, and an annual carbon saving of 3 megatons.

Deep geothermal energy is a space efficient utility scale renewable heat resource that can be deployed in urban areas, specifically with the potential to heat thousands of large commercial and other properties for generations. Heat accounts for around 40% of the UK’s energy consumption and nearly a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that there is currently enough deep geothermal heat energy to supply all of the UK’s needs for at least 100 years.

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), said:

“As this report demonstrates, deep geothermal must be central to the Government’s energy policy for the next 30 years, but with real and tangible benefits in the immediate future.

“Deep geothermal has the potential to become a world leading industry here in the UK, provide a stable transition away from oil and gas, and help meet the Government’s net zero ambitions by decarbonising heat on a mass scale. It would also create 1,000s of new jobs and generate tens of millions of pounds in new investment.

“The REA believes that urgent work is required to aid the roll out of all heat technologies, however, with the right support from the Government, deep geothermal will play a major role in Britain’s heat generation for decades to come.”

 

There is a significant opportunity to create a world leading geothermal industry in the UK which could export internationally in terms of expertise, as with the North Sea. As the Government looks to deliver a ‘green recovery’ and meet their net zero ambitions, deep geothermal would act as a catalyst for new green jobs and investment, particularly in towns and cities in the North of England, Midlands and South-West.

This week in Parliament, Dr Kieran Mullan, Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich, urged the Prime Minister to get behind the report and its proposals. He said:

“As we recover from the huge economic challenges of the lock down we need to grab every opportunity available. We have the chance here to turbo charge investment, often in places in the North like Crewe which are at the heart of the levelling up agenda. We can create new skilled jobs and importantly, sustainable green jobs which are so important now.”

“We have lagged too far behind for too long in this area and now as the whole economy pivots, we can’t afford to fall further behind.”

 

Professor Iain Stewart, UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society; Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth, also added his support:

“Exploiting the natural heat from deep beneath our feet seems to me to be a no-brainer. Its clean, green and renewable and can really support the push to reach the UK’s net-zero climate targets. What’s more, there’s a window of opportunity for the UK to be a technical  leader in this emerging energy field, which has got so much potential globally.”

 

Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace, commented:

“Aside from providing clean, reliable, renewable electricity, geothermal has its own distinct advantages – advantages that neatly fill some of the gaps in current policy. It is a source of renewable heat, lower carbon than trying to integrate hydrogen into our gas supply, and it can provide good quality employment in its local area, helping to distribute the economic benefits of decarbonisation. And that economic opportunity could be built on – geothermal power is an increasingly attractive option in many parts of the world, the potential market is huge and the UK has plenty of geologists and engineers with drilling expertise and limited prospects in their current industry. This is a technology perfectly tailored to meet the challenge of decarbonising without leaving oil and gas workers behind.”

 

Germany’s use of deep geothermal energy reduced the country’s emissions by more than 1.7 Mt CO2 equivalent in 2017. In addition, there is the creation of skilled jobs, the industry is estimated to have created more than 22,000 jobs and added €13.3 billion to the German economy since 2000.

The success of geothermal developments in countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands is closely linked to their governments’ commitment to supporting this technology through policies, regulations, incentives and initiatives. This success is specifically linked to the availability of a long-term, stable regulatory framework and the willingness of the state to share economic risks during the early stages of development.

Michael Chendorain, Associate Director at ARUP, said that UK can match or even surpass this success should the Government provide the right support package:

“The UK’s deep geothermal resources are proven and can play a key role in decarbonising heat which makes up around 40% of the UK’s energy consumption and nearly a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions. Homes, universities, hospitals, and a broad range of industries can all benefit from a deep geothermal revolution but this will require Government support.”

 

The REA will be hosting a launch event with Dr Kieran Mullan MP at 10am on 19th May 2021 – a link to sign up for the free virtual event is here: https://staging.r-e-a.net/events/deep-geothermal-report-launch-2/

You can read the full report here: Deep Geothermal Energy – Opportunities for the UK

 

—ENDS—

 

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