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Engineering group Arup to buy power from UK’s first deep geothermal power plant

United Downs Deep Geothermal Project Video screenshot
Alexander Richter 16 Nov 2018

British engineering group ARUP has committed to buying power from the UK's first geothermal power project to power its offices in the UK, under the Renewable Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs).

UK-based engineering and design company Arup has signed a commitment to purchase Renewable Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs) from the UK’s first deep geothermal electricity plant when it starts producing electricity.

The plant operator Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) this week announced drilling has started at the United Downs Industrial Estate in Cornwall. The project is aimed at demonstrating the potential of geothermal resource in the UK to produce electricity and renewable heat.

Arup has committed to purchasing 9,000 MWh/year allowing Arup to supply zero carbon electricity to all 15 of its offices across the UK, based on the firm’s current energy usage.

“We believe geothermal energy has huge potential to contribute to the UK’s renewable energy sources and that’s why we’ve been investing in geothermal technologies since 2013. This agreement contributes significantly to our efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of our UK operations.”, so Nigel Tonks, UKIMEA Sustainable Development Director

Two deep geothermal wells will be drilled into the granite rock beneath the site, the deepest of which will reach 4.5 kilometres. Water pumped from the deepest well at a temperature of approximately 190C will be fed through a heat exchanger at the surface and then re-injected into the ground to pick up more heat from the rocks in a continuous cycle. The extracted heat will be converted into electricity and supplied to the National Grid.

Geothermal Engineering Ltd was established in 2008 to deliver deep geothermal heat and power projects in the UK and abroad. Arup and GEL have worked together on a number of geothermal projects through a joint venture called Geon Energy which develops and leases geothermal technology. Geon’s first project is the Jubilee Pool in Cornwall.

Discussing the project, Nigel Tonks, Arup’s UKIMEA Sustainable Development Director, said, “As well as taking responsibility for reducing their carbon emissions, companies can encourage the renewable energy market by securing low carbon renewable energy supplies. We believe geothermal energy has huge potential to contribute to the UK’s renewable energy sources and that’s why we’ve been investing in geothermal technologies since 2013. This agreement contributes significantly to our efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of our UK operations. We believe this project will stimulate the growth of geothermal plants in the UK.”

The largely untapped geothermal resources in the UK have the potential to deliver up to 20% of the UK’s electricity and heat energy needs in a reliable and sustainable way. As coal fired power stations are switched off, the need for renewable, baseload energy can only increase. It is incredibly exciting to see this pioneering project getting off the ground in what we hope will be the start of many similar initiatives across the UK. ”, so Dr Ryan Law, Managing Director of Geothermal Engineering Ltd

Source: ARUP