UK’s first geothermal plant

November 08, 2018 by Denis Pombriant

Renewable energy is becoming mainstream. CNBC reported today that “Drilling at the U.K.’s first deep geothermal electricity plant is to start this week.”

The significance of this event can’t be over stated. Geothermal represents a renewable, safe and pollution-free energy source that can be directly converted into electric power.

The geothermal wells will reach depths of 4.5 kilometers in solid granite where the rock temperature is estimated at 190 degrees Celsius. Hot enough to make good, high pressure steam to drive electric turbines.

Geothermal is a largely untapped source of electric power in the U.K. could deliver as much as 20 percent of the nation’s electric power when fully exploited.

The demonstration project received the equivalent of £18 million (about $23.54) in funding including more than £10 million from The European Regional Development Fund. Other partners include British Geological Survey, GeoScience Ltd., and the University of Plymouth Sustainable Earth Institute.

Geothermal is not a power generating solution suitable everywhere since the heat gradient in an area must be high to make the effort worthwhile. Just as hydro-power isn’t suitable except at a powerful river. Nevertheless, there are ample places on the earth’s surface where each is possible. With most major rivers in populous countries already supporting hydro-power to the maximum extent possible geothermal could become a logical replacement.


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