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DECC awards £1.1M in geothermal competition

Three geothermal projects run by Keele University, Newcastle and Durham University and Cofily District Energy in Southampton have won a total of £1.1M in funding from the Government’s Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund’s second round.

The Deep Geothermal Challenge fund was set up to help companies carry out exploratory work needed to find viable sites for this technology. The funding has been split as follows:

- Keele University - £0.5M - to drill a 1200m borehole to provide geothermal heat for their proposed sustainable campus

- Newcastle/Durham University £0.4M - to fund the drilling, hydraulic testing and geophysical logging of a 2km deep borehole at ‘Science Central’, a large development in central Newcastle;  

- Cofily District Energy £0.2M - to fund the refit of the Southampton deep geothermal well.

“I want to ensure that geothermal energy – which is both renewable and can be produced locally – can become one of the energy technologies of the future,” said Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.

“Today’s announcement is an exciting step forward in making this happen here in the UK, and I’m looking forward to seeing these innovative projects get off the ground and working.”

“Geothermal sources in the South West of the UK alone have the potential to meet 2% of the country’s annual electricity demand”.

Deep geothermal energy uses the natural heat found kilometres underground to produce electricity and heat at the surface. Geothermal energy is non-intermittent, low-carbon, renewable and could be a valuable technology in diversifying the UK’s energy mix and reducing the UK’s dependence on imported fuels.

The first round concentrated on deep geothermal power, and the two successful Cornwall-based projects continue to move ahead.  This second round has concentrated on heat-only projects.  The Government continues to see a strong future for all types of deep geothermal energy.

This is the second of the Challenge Fund, £4M was awarded in the first round.


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