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02 Jun 2009 09:06:05

Plans for first UK commercial geothermal power plant announced

Plans for first UK commercial geothermal power plant announced
Proposals have been unveiled for a geothermal power plant that could potentially generate enough carbon-neutral electricity to supply ten percent of the UK's power needs.

The renewable energy plans, which were unveiled by EGS Energy and the Eden Project, would see the creation of a facility in Cornwall that could initially generate 3MW of energy and power the sprawling botanical complex.

However, engineers have suggested that the sheer amount of heat energy stored in underground granite rocks at the proposed site would allow them to create electricity for the national grid.

If it is approved, the site will contain two boreholes - each up to 4km deep - that would be able to heat water to 150 degrees C, enough to drive binary power generation turbines; the hot water could also be used to provide heat to other buildings in the community.

Roy Baria, EGS Energy's technical director, said: "The geology in the vicinity of the Eden Project [is] ideal for creating our power plant and its reservoir.

"We would not only expect to be able to supply virtually all of the Eden Project's power and heat requirements, but generate power that could be fed into the grid to help meet the government's CO2 reduction and renewable generation targets."

Subject to planning permission, the Cornwall Hot Rocks project is scheduled to begin producing power in 2012.

Geothermal energy is already being harnessed in Southampton, where hot water from 1.8km below the city is used to heat a number of public buildings.

EGS currently operates a geothermal power station in Landau, Germany, which provides power to 6,000 households.



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