Institute of Mechanical Engineers urges support for geothermal in the UK

Institute of Mechanical Engineers urges support for geothermal in the UK Southampton Geothermal District Heating Plant, UK (source:
Alexander Richter 19 Oct 2013

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers in the UK urges the UK to embrace the potential energy option of geothermal energy in the UK, both from local resources for heat and power, but also potentially tapping into geothermal power from Iceland via transmission cable.

In a recently published position paper, the UK Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IME) urges the UK to embrace the potential energy option provided by geothermal in the United Kingdom.

“The main potential for geothermal resources in the UK is for district heating and industrial uses. Longer term there are opportunities for geothermal electricity generation to be exploited by the UK, but in the short term it is more cost-effective to import geothermal-produced power from Iceland.”, so the paper.

The provision of a comprehensive scheme to manage exploration risk is the most critical issue to allow widespread cost-effective utilisation of the geothermal resources in the UK. The provision of grants and risk insurance is economically more effective than rewarding the production of power and heat. Furthermore, heat resource licensing and providing easily accessible information on resource potential offer low-cost options for reducing the exploration risk. These measures are particularly important to stimulate the early development of direct heat use, as this offers the most significant potential contribution to meeting the UK commitment to the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers therefore urges Government to adopt the following recommendations:

  • Make UK deep geological data available more widely and easily accessible to non-geologists, by producing and making freely available heat potential maps similar to those for heat demand already produced by the Department of Energy & Climate Change for Combined Heat & Power.
  • Introduce licensing for geothermal heat resources and exploration risk mitigation for geothermal heat wells.
  • Secure an international treaty and structure a financially viable power purchase agreement, so that 1GW geothermal generation from Iceland can be delivered by HVDC interconnector.

To learn more about geothermal energy in the UK attend the 3rd  UK Deep Geothermal Symposium held in London next week, October 22, 2013, details and registration via event website.

Source: Institute of Mechanical Engineers statement (pdf)