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EGS geothermal potential in the Great Britain estimated at 2,280 MW

Looking over the River Thames in London, England/ UK (source: flickr/ Dun.can, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 21 Jun 2017

Today, a paper providing an assessment of the resource base for engineered geothermal systems in Great Britain was released by the British Geological Survey, providing an estimated technical potential of 2,280 MW.

A paper was released today on an “Assessment of the resource base for engineered geothermal systems in Great Britain” by the British Geological Survey.

“An assessment of the engineered geothermal system (EGS) resource base that might be available for the generation of electricity for Great Britain has been undertaken by adopting a globally self-consistent protocol that if universally adopted, would allow estimates of EGS made for different countries and regions to be comparable.

Maximum estimated temperatures at depths of 5 and 7 km are greater than 200 and 300 °C respectively, a considerable increase over previous estimates. The total heat in place in the basement, to a depth of 9.5 km that is theoretically available for EGS is 357,197 EJ. If it were possible to develop just 2% of this resource, this would be equivalent to 1242 times the final UK energy consumption in 2015.

The theoretical and technical potential power has been calculated from the available heat in place. The total technical potential power, to a depth of 6.5 km, is 222,393 MWe and represents just 0.4% of the theoretical potential power. Current EGS exploitation is more likely to be restricted to a depths of around 4.5 km and reservoir temperatures greater than 175 °C.

In which case technical potential power is mainly restricted to regions of high heat producing granites and represents a total technical potential power of 2280 MWe. However, improvements in drilling technology are expected to enable economic drilling to depths of 7 km or greater that will enable EGS exploitation in all regions of Great Britain.

Source: Busby, Jon; Terrington, Ricky. 2017 Assessment of the resource base for engineered geothermal systems in Great Britain.Geothermal Energy, 5 (1). 18, pp. 10.1186/s40517-017-0066-z NERC