The potential for exploiting geothermal energy in the United Kingdom on a commercial basis was initially examined by the Department of Energy in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. Several regions of the country were identified, but interest in developing them was lost as petroleum prices fell. Although the UK is not actively volcanic, a large heat resource is potentially available via shallow geothermal ground source heat pumps, shallow aquifers and deep saline aquifers in the mesozoic basins of the UK. Geothermal energy is plentiful beneath the UK, although it is not readily accessible currently except in specific locations.
Ancient legend credited the early Celtic kings with the discovery of the thermal springs at the Roman Baths in Aquae Sulis (modern city of Bath) which then fell into disrepair during the Dark Ages and were not rediscovered until the 18th century, along with the springs at Buxton in the Peak District.
The potential for exploiting geothermal energy in the United Kingdom on a commercial basis was initially examined by the Department of Energy in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. Several regions of the country were identified, but interest in developing them was lost as petroleum prices fell.
The geothermal potential of the UK was investigated by a program funded by the UK government and the European Commission that ran from 1977 until 1994, and saw a Hot Dry Rock experiment drilled in Carnmenellis granite of Cornwall. The project, which was never intended to produce electricity, was a rock mechanics experiment to research the hydraulic stimulation of fracture networks at temperatures below 100˚C. Three wells were drilled to a total vertical depth of 2.6 km where the bottom-hole temperature was around 100˚C. In 1994, the Hot Dry Rock project was closed, and research effort was transferred to the European Geothermal Project at Soultz-sous-Forêts.
Geothermal energy development in the UK has been limited, partly due to the lack of high enthalpy resources, but also due to the availability of cheap fossil fuels. However, when comparisons are made to countries in a similar tectonic setting, it is clear that the UK is underutilizing this potential resource. The lack of geothermal development has largely been a result of the availability of North Sea natural gas during the 1980s and 1990s.
Interest in the geothermal energy resources of the UK rose again in the 2000s, as a potential way of addressing some of the UK's "energy gap"
There is what may be mistakenly known as geothermal energy at shallow depths but it is technically solar energy; the upper 10–15 m of ground is heated by solar radiation and not (except in rare exceptions) geothermal energy. This acts a heat store and can be exploited in a number of different ways. This heat can be utilised by ground source heat pumps that can substantially reduce heating bills and reduce the associated carbon footprint. The heat from the sun is conducted downwards into the ground. At a depth of about 15 metres, ground temperatures are not influenced by seasonal air temperature changes and tend to remain stable all year around at about the mean annual air temperature (9–13 °C in the UK). Hence, the ground at this depth is cooler than the air in summer and warmer than the air in winter. This temperature difference is exploited by ground source heat pumps that are used for heating and/or cooling of homes and office buildings.
Groundwater in Permo-Triassic sandstones in the UK has the potential to provide an exploitable geothermal resource at depths of between 1 and 3 km. Since 1979 the basins of principal interest are East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Wessex, Worcester, Cheshire, West Lancashire, Carlisle, and basins in Northern Ireland. In addition, some of these basins are in areas of elevated heat flow, or are overlain by less thermally conductive strata, providing in effect an insulating layer. The following table lists the primary UK Geothermal aquifer resources for areas where the temperature is greater than 40 °C and the transmissivity is greater than 10 Dm, except as indicated:
|Aquifer/Basin name||Geologiocal Formation||Geothermal
|East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire||Sherwood Sandstone||99||6.7||?|
|Basal Permian Sands||6.7||0.9(2)||?|
|Wessex||Sherwood Sandstone||22.9||3.2(3)||1,700 to 2,200|
|Permian, including some Triassic||27.9||3.8||4,000|
|Northern Ireland||Sherwood Sandstone||35.4||4.7||?|
|(1) Identified resource calculated assuming an end of process heat rejection temperature of 30 °C; direct use of the fluid, and re-injection of the fluid after use.|
(2) Transmissivity ≥5 Dm
In the 1980s, the United Kingdom Department of Energy undertook a research and development programme to examine the potential of geothermal aquifers in the UK. However, after some initial success drilling a well in the Wessex Basin in 1981, it was deemed too small to be commercially viable. The project was abandoned by the Department of Energy, but Southampton City Council refused to let the project fall and took the decision to create the UK's first geothermal power scheme. This was undertaken as part of a plan to become a ‘self sustaining city’ in energy generation, promoted by then leader of the city council Alan Whitehead. The scheme was eventually developed in conjunction with French-owned company COFELY District Energy and the Southampton Geothermal Heating Company was then established. Construction started in 1987 on a well to draw water from the Wessex Basin aquifer at a depth of 1,800 metres and a temperature of 76 °C.
The scheme now heats a number of buildings in the city centre, including the Southampton Civic Centre, the WestQuay shopping centre, Royal South Hants Hospital, Solent University and the Carnival offices; and is part of an enlarged city centre district heating system that includes other combined heating, cooling and power sources. As of 2011 the district heating and cooling scheme provides annually 26GWh of electricity and over 40 GWh of heat. Brine from the geothermal well provided 18% of the total district heating mix, with fuel oil (10%) and natural gas (70%) making up the rest. The electricity generated from the scheme is used by Associated British Ports via a private electrical connection to the Port of Southampton, with any surplus electricity sold back to the grid.
In 2014, Stoke-on-Trent City Council announced plans for a £52m project to create a district heating network powered by geothermal energy. This will provide heating, in the form of hot water, to local customers. Work started in 2017 and the first customers will be connected in early 2019.
Another area with great potential for geothermal energy is in the North Sea, on the continental shelf where the Earth's crust is thin (less than 10 kilometres). The offshore platforms extract hydrocarbons from this region, but each year the output falls by 5% and soon it will be uneconomic to continue using these platforms for fossil fuel extraction. An alternate use could be geothermal power generation. A 1986 work on this was undertaken by Total Energy Conservation and Management Co. Ltd. An overview document was produced called "Single Borehole Geothermal Energy Extraction System for Electrical Power Generation".
The average geothermal gradient in the UK is 26˚C per km depth. There is no deep geothermal power generation in the UK. The granite regions of South West England, the Lake District and Weardale and the Eastern Highlands of Scotland are considered most likely to have the best prospects for power generation. In addition to using geothermally heated aquifers, Hot-Dry-Rock geothermal technology can be used to heat water pumped below ground onto geothermally heated rock. Starting in 1977, trials of the technology were undertaken at Rosemanowes Quarry, near Penryn, Cornwall.
Heat-only projects are generally considered to have the greatest potential in the UK because the resource is more widespread and shallower. This includes the hot aquifers (i.e. subterranean bodies of water) in the North East, Wessex, Cheshire, and Northern Ireland. The UK's only existing geothermal heat-generating station (heat only) is at Southampton, where an 1800-metre borehole taps into the edge of the aquifer under Wessex and provides heat to the Southampton district heat network. The borehole is being refurbished.
In 2008 a planning application was submitted for a hot rocks project on the site of a former cement works at Eastgate, near Stanhope in County Durham. The geothermal plant will heat the Eastgate Renewable Energy Village, the UK's first geothermal energy model village.. However this was shelved in 2010.
In 2010 planning permission for a commercial-scale geothermal power plant was granted by Cornwall Council. The plant will be constructed on the United Downs industrial estate near Redruth by Geothermal Engineering. The plant will produce 3MW of renewable electricity. Drilling commenced at the site in November 2018.
In December 2010, the Eden Project in Cornwall was given permission to build a Hot Rock Geothermal Plant. Drilling was planned to start in 2011, but as of May 2018, funding is still being sought. The plant will be on the north side of the Eden Project, a showcase for environmental projects at Bodelva, near St Austell. It should produce 3-4 megawatts of electricity for use by Eden with a surplus, enough for about 3,500 houses, going into the National Grid.
In early 2013 the government pulled a multimillion-pound grant from Geothermal Engineering Ltd, which seemed to put to an end the UK's first commercial hot rocks power scheme, The £50m United Downs project, after the company failed to secure the necessary additional investment to meet the terms of the grant.
Newcastle University Science Central Borehole Project, at 1800 m is the deepest geothermal well drilled for nearly 30 years. built on the former Tyne Brewery in the city. The temperature profile of 3.9˚C/100m is higher than that found in Weardale. The project failed as flow rates of hot water from the borehole were not great enough to be exploitable, leaving the development to be heated by conventional sources.
On 30 May 2012, the UK government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Icelandic government on a number of energy issues, including supporting the development of deep geothermal energy in the UK.
Alan Patrick Vincent Whitehead (born 15 September 1950) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Southampton Test since 1997.Eastgate, County Durham
Eastgate is a village in County Durham, England. It is situated in Weardale, a few miles west of Stanhope. In the 2001 census Eastgate had a population of 163.Eastgate originally marked the eastern border of the private hunting park of the Prince Bishops of Durham. This was second in extent only to the royal hunting park of the New Forest in Hampshire. Emerson Muschamp Bainbridge, the founder of the world's first department store, was born in the village.Energy in the United Kingdom
Energy use in the United Kingdom stood at 2,249 TWh (193.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2014. This equates to energy consumption per capita of 34.82 MWh (3.00 tonnes of oil equivalent) compared to a 2010 world average of 21.54 MWh (1.85 tonnes of oil equivalent). Demand for electricity in 2014 was 34.42GW on average (301.7TWh over the year) coming from a total electricity generation of 335.0TWh.Successive UK governments have outlined numerous commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. One such announcement was the Low Carbon Transition Plan launched by the Brown ministry in July 2009, which aimed to generate 30% electricity from renewable sources, and 40% from low carbon content fuels by 2020. Notably, the UK is one of the best sites in Europe for wind energy, and wind power production is its fastest growing supply. Wind power contributed 15% of UK electricity generation in 2017.Government commitments to reduce emissions are occurring against a backdrop of economic crisis across Europe. During the European financial crisis, Europe's consumption of electricity shrank by 5%, with primary production also facing a noticeable decline. Britain's trade deficit was reduced by 8% due to substantial cuts in energy imports. Between 2007 and 2015, the UK's peak electrical demand fell from 61.5 GW to 52.7.GW.UK government energy policy aims to play a key role in limiting greenhouse gas emissions, whilst meeting energy demand. Shifting availabilities of resources and development of technologies also change the country's energy mix through changes in costs. In 2016, the United Kingdom was ranked 12th in the World on the Environmental Performance Index, which measures how well a country carries through environmental policy.Hydroelectricity in the United Kingdom
As of 2012, hydroelectric power stations in the United Kingdom accounted for 1.65 GW of installed electrical generating capacity, being 1.8% of the UK's total generating capacity and 18% of UK's renewable energy generating capacity. This includes four conventional hydroelectric power stations and run-of-river schemes for which annual electricity production is approximately 5,000 GWh, being about 1.3% of the UK's total electricity production. There are also pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations providing a further 2.8 GW of installed electrical generating capacity, and contributing up to 4,075 GWh of peak demand electricity annually.The potential for further practical and viable hydroelectricity power stations in the UK is estimated to be in the region of 146 to 248 MW for England and Wales, and up to 2,593 MW for Scotland.
However, by the nature of the remote and rugged geographic locations of some of these potential sites, in national parks or other areas of outstanding natural beauty, it is likely that environmental concerns would mean that many of them would be deemed unsuitable, or could not be developed to their full theoretical potential.
Interest in hydropower in the UK has been renewed in recent years due to new UK and EU targets for reductions in carbon emissions and the promotion of renewable energy power generation through commercial incentives such as the Renewable Obligation Certificate scheme (ROCs) and feed-in tariffs (FITs). Before such schemes, studies to assess the available hydro resources in the UK had discounted a large number of sites for reasons of poor economic or technological viability, but more recent studies in 2008 and 2010 by the British Hydro Association (BHA) identified a larger number of viable sites, due to improvements in the available technology and the economics of ROCs and FITSsSchemes up to 50 kW are eligible for FITs, and schemes over 5 MW are eligible for ROCs. Schemes between 50 kW and 5 MW can choose between either. The UK Government's National Renewable Energy Action Plan of July 2010 envisaged between 40 and 50 MW of new hydropower schemes being installed annually up to 2020. The most recent feedback for new hydro schemes is for 2009, and only about 15 MW of new hydropower was installed during that year.Outline of the United Kingdom
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; a sovereign state in Europe, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK), or Britain. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, it includes the island of Great Britain—a term also applied loosely to refer to the whole country—the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islandsRenewable energy in Scotland
The production of renewable energy in Scotland is an issue that has come to the fore in technical, economic, and political terms during the opening years of the 21st century. The natural resource base for renewable energy is extraordinary by European, and even global standards, with the most important potential sources being wind, wave, and tide.
At the start of 2019, Scotland had 10.9 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable electricity capacity. Renewable electricity generation in Scotland was 26,708 GWh in 2018, making up 74% of gross electricity consumption. Scottish renewable generation makes up approximately 25% of total UK renewable generation (down from 32% in 2014). In 2014, Scotland exported over 24 per cent of generation.In 2015, Scotland generated 59% of its electricity consumption through renewable sources, exceeding the country's goal of 50% renewable energy by 2015. Moving forward, the Scottish Government's energy plan calls for 100% of electricity consumption to be generated through renewable sources by 2020, and 50% of total energy consumption (including transportation) by 2030.Continuing improvements in engineering and economics are enabling more of the renewable resources to be utilised. Fears regarding peak oil and climate change have driven the subject high up the political agenda and are also encouraging the use of various biofuels. Although the finances of many projects remain either speculative or dependent on market incentives, it is probable that there has been a significant, and in all likelihood long-term change, in the underpinning economics.In addition to planned increases in large-scale generating capacity and microsystems using renewable sources, various related schemes to reduce carbon emissions are being researched. Although there is significant support from the public, private and community-led sectors, concerns about the effect of the technologies on the natural environment have been expressed. There is also an emerging political debate about the relationship between the siting, and the ownership and control of these widely distributed resources.Renewable energy in the United Kingdom
Renewable energy in the United Kingdom can be divided into production for electricity, heat, and transport.
From the mid-1990s renewable energy began to contribute to the electricity generated in the United Kingdom, building on a small hydroelectric generating capacity. This has been surpassed by wind power, for which the UK has large potential resources.
Interest has increased in recent years due to new UK and EU targets for reductions in carbon emissions and commercial incentives for renewable electricity such as the Renewable Obligation Certificate scheme (ROCs) and Feed in tariffs (FITs), as well as for renewable heat such as the Renewable Heat Incentive. The 2009 EU Renewable Directive established a target of 15% reduction in total energy consumption in the UK by 2020.
In 2017 renewable production generated:
27.9% of total electricity
7.7% of total heat energy
4.6% of total transport energyRosemanowes Quarry
Rosemanowes Quarry, near Penryn, Cornwall, United Kingdom, was a granite quarry and the site of an early experiment in extracting geothermal energy from the earth using hot dry rock (HDR) technology.Southampton District Energy Scheme
The Southampton District Energy Scheme is a district heating and cooling system in Southampton, United Kingdom. The system is owned and operated by ENGIE.United Downs Deep Geothermal Power
United Downs Deep Geothermal Power is a planned geothermal energy power plant in Redruth in Cornwall, England. It aims to begin live operation by 2020.
Sited on the United Downs industrial estate, the plant will generate 10 MW of electricity to be sold to the National Grid; and 55 MW of thermal energy, to be distributed locally. It is being developed by Geothermal Engineering Limited, a privately owned British company founded in 2008 specialising in the development of geothermal resources.
The Enhanced Geothermal System being employed to generate power at United Downs targets volumes of rock that already exhibit enhanced permeability. The plan for United Downs is to drill three boreholes to a true depth of 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi). Water is pumped down a borehole which then travels through fractures in the rock, capturing the heat, until it is pumped out of one or more production boreholes as very hot pressurised water, which is then converted into electricity using a steam turbine. The water for charging the reservoir will come from flooded mines, not from the local water supply. The hot water produced by the plant can also be used to supply thermal energy and air conditioning (via an absorption chiller) to the surrounding area.Westquay
Westquay (formerly WestQuay) is a shopping centre in Southampton, United Kingdom. It has an area of 800,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of retail space and contains around 130 shops, including major retailers such as, John Lewis and Partners, Marks and Spencer, Zara, Schuh, Waterstone's, Hollister Co., Apple, and many more top brand names.
It is situated in the city centre, close to the docks, with entrances on the main High Street (Above Bar Street), on Portland Terrace, through Waterstone's and through John Lewis, and on Harbour Parade, through the new (2016-2017) Westquay South. There is a built-in multi-storey car park with an entrance into the centre along with a 3 tier car park beneath. Building work began in 1997 as the former Daily Echo building and Pirelli Cable Works were demolished to make way for the centre. Westquay North was opened on 28 September 2000.
The building is heated using geothermal energy, as is the civic centre. A centralised plant uses heat from an aquifer underground and then distributes it to the buildings in the city centre via a district heating scheme.
The John Lewis store replaced the local department store Tyrrell & Green (a branch of the John Lewis Partnership), which met with mixed emotions from the local people. Marks & Spencer relocated from Above Bar Street to take the second anchor store.
There have been a few major changes to the Westquay North's shops since its opening. Tower Records (which faced fierce competition from the HMV store across the street) was replaced with a Nike store, which closed after just a few months. This unit is now Pret A Manger, a sandwich retailer. Waitrose moved to Portswood in 2006 and the old Waitrose space has now been replaced by New Look, which was originally located in a smaller store a floor above. The former New Look store is now River Island. Waitrose did return, however, to Westquay North in 2015 within the lower ground floor of the John Lewis store, branded as Little Waitrose.
In mid-May 2009 the first Hollister store to be opened outside of the extended London area opened in Westquay North; this is considered to be a major coup for Westquay as it reflects well on the strength of the retail offering available within Westquay.Wind power in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is one of the best locations for wind power in the world and is considered to be the best in Europe. Wind power contributed 15% of UK electricity generation in 2017 and 18.5% in the final quarter of 2017. Onshore wind power has the lowest levelised cost per MWh of electricity generation technologies in the United Kingdom when a carbon cost is applied to generating technologies. In 2016, the UK generated more electricity from wind power than from coal.Wind power delivers a growing percentage of the electricity of the United Kingdom and by mid-March 2019, it consisted of 9,685 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of over 20.7 gigawatts: 12,848 megawatts of onshore capacity and 7,895 megawatts of offshore capacity.
This placed the United Kingdom at this time as the world's fourth largest producer of wind power. Polling of public opinion consistently shows strong support for wind power in the UK, with nearly three quarters of the population agreeing with its use, even for people living near onshore wind turbines.Through the Renewables Obligation, British electricity suppliers are now required by law to provide a proportion of their sales from renewable sources such as wind power or pay a penalty fee. The supplier then receives a Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) for each MW·h of electricity they have purchased. Within the United Kingdom wind power is the largest source of renewable electricity and the second largest source of renewable energy after biomass.Overall, wind power raises costs of electricity slightly. In 2015, it was estimated that the use of wind power in the UK had added £18 to the average yearly electricity bill. This was the additional cost to consumers of using wind to generate about 9.3% of the annual total (see table below) – about £2 for each 1%. Offshore wind power has been significantly more expensive than onshore, which raised costs. Offshore wind projects completed in 2012–14 had a levelised cost of electricity of £131/MWh compared to a wholesale price of £40–50/MWh. In 2017 the Financial Times reported that new offshore wind costs had fallen by nearly a third over four years, to an average of £97/MWh, meeting the government's £100/MWh target four years early. Later in 2017 two offshore wind farm bids were made at a cost of £57.50/MWh for construction by 2022–23, nearly half the cost of a recent new nuclear power contract.