Geothermal could supply 20% of UK electricity

The UK could meet a fifth of its electricity demands through deep geothermal energy, according to a new report

Sites identified in Cornwall, the Lake District, Northern Ireland and Scotland, could also meet 100% of the country’s space heating requirements, according to the report, which was commissioned by the Renewable Energy Association (REA).

Deep geothermal power stations produce electricity by pumping water to hot rocks deep underground, which is heated, creating steam used to drive turbines that generate power. In the UK, geothermal energy currently receives a low level of subsidy, around half the levels of support seen in Germany and Switzerland.

Ryan Law, chair of the REA’s deep geothermal group, said: “We don’t want to be left out of a global industry which is estimated to be worth £30bn by 2020. We could be at the forefront of this industry given the strength of British engineering skills. Clearly investment at home could also go a long way to meeting our future energy needs cleanly and safely.”

Eden Project founder Tim Smit, who is planning to build a geothermal heat and power station at the Cornwall attraction, backed the report.

Critics of deep geothermal have argued that it has the potential to cause earthquakes if unsuitably located.