New $85 million geothermal heating project planned for Stoke-on-Trent, UK

New $85 million geothermal heating project planned for Stoke-on-Trent, UK Southampton Geothermal District Heating Plant, UK (source:
Francisco Rojas 18 Sep 2014

A new geothermal district project could be underway in the UK. Despite some skepticism, it already has central government backing and construction is expected to start in 2016.

Geothermal district heating seems to be on the rise again in the UK. According to local sources, “the Stoke-on-Trent City Council is developing a business case for an 11km district heating network (DHN) powered by renewable energy from the earth.”

The current plan is still awaiting for the funds to be transferred from the central government. There is some skepticism, due to a previous abandoned plan earlier this year to drill for coal bed methane, spending a considerable amount of money for the development of the proposals, “after finding they were not economically viable.”

The reality for the DHN is different, since the current plan does not carry the same risks, by having Government backing said Andy Platt, cabinet member for green enterprises.

The same source informs that the local government has chosen geothermal since “this form of heating will protect customers from volatility in the gas and electricity markets, which could attract firms to the city.”

Other benefits are estimated to be around 210 jobs that will be provided by the DHN itself, while a further 1,300 could be a created or safeguarded once the network is up and running.

Private sector partners are expected to provide £28.25 million for the project, and the city council will invest £3.4 million. While the council will take responsibility for building the network of pipes, commercial partners will build the geothermal plant and sell the heat to customers.

Mr Platt added: “The private sector will take the risk of developing the geothermal heat extraction. If that doesn’t work, we have three or four other ideas, such as waste-to-energy and biomass.”

“The council is due to present its outline business case to the Government in January. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has already contributed £365,000 towards the development of the plans, while the city council is paying £273,000. If all goes according to plan, construction could begin in 2016.”

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Source: The Sentinel Website