Aberdeen firm evaluating geothermal potential at Balmoral Estate, UK

Aberdeen firm evaluating geothermal potential at Balmoral Estate, UK Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, UK (source: Bill Kasman / flickr, Creative Commons)
Carlo Cariaga 1 Dec 2022

Aberdeen-based ZeGen Energy is evaluating the feasibility of deep geothermal development at the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire, UK.

ZeGen Energy, an Aberdeen-based company, has completed phase one of a two-phase pre-feasibility study at Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire, the Royal residence in the Highlands of Scotland. The study aims to evaluate the deep geothermal potential of the Estate and its benefits, showing that interest in deep geothermal in the UK is gaining pace.

The project is co-funded by the Balmoral Estate and the Net Zero Technology Centre in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen, and with support from Ross DK and Xodus.

Phase one of the study demonstrates the technical feasibility of the potential geothermal resource available on the estate. The project team worked closely with shareholders to understand demand-side constraints and the challenges surrounding energy supply in rural and isolated communities. As a result, several geothermal-use scenarios have been proposed that would benefit the estate in terms of baseload and affordable low-carbon energy provision and security of supply whilst reducing fossil fuel reliance.

“The heart of this project lies within the community. Not only in provision of low-carbon heating, but also in skills transfer from a local and highly skilled workforce and provision of jobs for young locals wishing to remain in the area,” says Kirsten Pasturel, CEO of ZeGen Energy.

“Understanding the resource potential holistically in terms of energy provision and the wider community benefits is the first step to bringing geothermal energy to the region. Geothermal in the Cairngorms is definitely something to be excited about. We are delighted to be involved in determining the feasibility and commerciality of a deep geothermal resource in the Scottish Highlands.”

The second phase of the study will aim to understand the environmental, socio-economic, and legislative considerations of such a geothermal project and create a comprehensive development strategy that could see the Balmoral Estate adopt deep geothermal energy as part of its renewable energy mix. This reflects the growing interest within the UK to explore the myriad of uses that deep geothermal has in residential and commercial applications to satisfy energy demands and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Iain Martin, Project Manager at the Net Zero Technology Centre said:  “Geothermal energy has the potential to provide long-term, low-carbon, sustainable power and heat. The north-east of Scotland has a rich potential for deep geothermal energy. Projects like this are part of a growing portfolio of projects and initiatives undertaken by the Net Zero Technology Centre to promote and demonstrate the huge potential of geothermal energy to decarbonise offshore and onshore operations The Balmoral project provides an exciting step towards commercialising the onshore geothermal industry in Scotland, providing heat and power networks in rural and urban areas.”

Prof. Clare Bond of University of Aberdeen, said: “It was exciting to be involved in this scoping project investigating the potential of Grampian granites for geothermal heat and energy, and to apply geological expertise from the University of Aberdeen to the energy transition challenge for Net Zero Technologies.” 

Dr. Anthony Millais, Environmental Engineering Lead at Xodus, said:  “We are delighted to continue our relationship with NZTC and partners, working together to understand novel ways of accelerating the energy transition. We look forward to further defining the role geothermal energy can play in our future energy mix.”

ZeGen Energy

ZeGen Energy is an Aberdeen-based geothermal company that combines decades of energy industry experience and expertise to unlock scalable geothermal energy projects as part of the renewable energy future by effectively identifying potential heat and power production in unconventional settings. From optimising idle or producing oil and gas to tapping into natural heat deep underground to support stranded energy communities, ZeGen Energy provides solutions to make geothermal a sustainable source of heat and power in non-traditional markets. 

Source: Email correspondence