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26 Apr 2010 02:04:11

What are the possibilities for geothermal energy?



What are the possibilities for geothermal energy?
Members of the energy industry are currently meeting in Bali, Indonesia, for the World Geothermal Congress 2010.

The event is already being called the largest forum ever held on the utilisation of the world's natural heat energy.

And from its location on the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire, one of the most active volcanic regions in the world, Indonesia seems like the ideal host.

The BBC reports that the country has "ambitious plans" to make use of the natural heat energy to power the homes of its growing population.

Indonesia estimates that it may have total reserves of 13,070 MWe contained in a number of different areas under its many islands.

To harness this, the country would have to drill into the earth before pumping down water to be naturally heated. It is then brought back to the surface and used to power generators and create electricity.

Scientists believe that it is possible the earth holds enough geothermal energy beneath its surface to meet the needs of the entire global population.

This conclusion is understandable when countries such as Indonesia and Iceland are used as examples. However, what about countries like the UK, which don't have an abundant supply of geothermal energy?

Well the UK government seems to have a number of options in mind.

Late last year it launched a £6 million investment fund to be used for the exploration of deep geothermal energy in Britain.

It estimates that the energy stored within the south-west of England alone could meet two percent of the country's energy needs, and, as such, plans for a geothermal power plant in the region are being looked into.

The Scottish Highlands are also thought to hold genuine promise as a centre for the production of electricity from geothermal energy.

Currently, the UK only uses geothermal energy for heat, through the Southampton District Energy Scheme. There is also a series of ground-source heat pumps installed in homes and businesses across the country which are being used to provide hot water and heat.

It is thought that the take-up of this microgeneration technology will increase following the introduction of the feed-in tariff scheme.

So, is geothermal power really an option for the UK, or should it be consigned to the countries which have the abundant resources to properly utilise it? ADNFCR-1235-ID-19741737-ADNFCR


Discussion Thread  

26 Apr 2010

Just a couple of clarifications relating to this article:

1. Ground source heat pumps are not harnessing the same energy source as deep geothermal sites. They are taking advantage of the sun heating the surface of the earth, from 1-2m deep if using trenches as the collector, or 20-100m or so deep if using boreholes to sink the pipes. This is solar rather than geothermal energy, although seems to be called geothermal quite widely across North America and mainland Europe.

2. The feed-in-tariff pays a guaranteed rate for generating small/medium scale renewable electricity, not heat/hot water. Heat pumps are consumers rather than producers of electricity. A Renewable Heat Incentive has been proposed for April 2011, but I believe this is still currently out to consultation. This would provide a financial incentive for installing heat pumps. See the DECC website for details.


Duncan wrote:

27 Apr 2010





Members of the energy industry are currently meeting in Bali, Indonesia for the World Geothermal Congress 2010.

The event is already being called the largest forum ever held on the utilisation of the world's natural heat energy. And from its location on the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire, one of the most active volcanic regions in the world, Indonesia seems like the ideal host.

The BBC reports that the country has "ambitious plans" to make use of the natural heat energy to power the homes of its growing population. Indonesia estimates that it may have total reserves of 13,070 MWe contained in a number of different areas under its many islands.

To harness this, the country would have to drill into the earth before pumping down water to be naturally heated. It is then brought back to the surface and used to power generators and create electricity.

Scientists believe that it is possible the earth holds enough geothermal energy beneath its surface to meet the needs of the entire global population. This conclusion is understandable when countries such as Indonesia and Iceland are used as examples. However what about countries, like the UK, which don't have an abundant supply of geothermal energy?

Well the UK government seems to have a number of options in mind.

Late last year it launched a £6 million investment fund to be used for the exploration of deep geothermal energy in Britain.

It estimates that the energy stored within the South West of England alone could meet two per cent of the country's energy needs, and, as such, plans for a geothermal power plant in the region are being looked into.

The Scottish Highlands are also thought to hold genuine promise as a centre for the production of electricity from geothermal energy.

Currently the UK harnesses the thermal energy stored within the earth to produce heat through the Southampton District Energy Scheme.

There is also a series of ground-source heat pumps installed in homes and businesses across the country which are being used to provide hot water and heat.

/i]




Discussion Thread  

 


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