GT Energy will unveil plans today to establish the UK’s largest geothermal heat plant in Manchester.
The Anglo-Irish company is looking to build the 10 megawatt thermal plant in the Ardwick district
, located in the Cheshire Basin
, where it would tap into one of UK’s largest geothermal
Geothermal power is an energy source with a minimal carbon footprint and is captured by drilling down to depths of 1,000 to 10,000 metres, pumping water down to be heated by the hot rocks to temperatures of 200 degrees centigrade.
It is estimated the energy reservoir beneath the Cheshire Basin contains enough renewable heat to supply around seven million homes.
, GT Energy signed a Memoradum of Understanding (MoU) with energy company E.ON to develop five new deep geothermal heating schemes in the UK. The Manchester project would be the first one of these.
Oxford Road Corridor
It will be based on two wells of approximately 3,000 metres depth at a half acre site. It will power a district heating network to supply heat to the Oxford Road Corridor.
GT Energy said the proposed development will generate green jobs and will support the development of low carbon economic zone in Manchester. Under the Local Government Finance Bill, business rates generated from the renewable energy project to be retained within the local authority for investment in the community.
The project is being made possible by the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which aims to incentive renewable heat projects in the UK. The scheme has budget of £70 million to spend during 2012/13.
In its recent heat strategy report,
the Government highlighted heat networks as providing a potentially important means of slashing heating emissions from UK buildings
and factories. About half of the UK’s carbon emissions derive from the energy used to produce heat, far more than from generating electricity. A recent report by engineering consultants Sinclair Knight Merz estimated the UK has enough deep geothermal resource to match 20 per cent of the UK's electricity demand and to provide 100 gigawatts of heat.
Commenting on the Manchester project, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: "This is exactly the sort of innovative green project we want to see sprouting up across the country. This builds on the Coalition’s ambitious heat strategy published in March, and I wish the project every success."
GT Energy said it would be consulting on the project with local residents and stakeholders to inform the final design proposals for the site in advance of submitting a planning application to Manchester City Council in September.
"We are delighted to be working on this ground breaking project. At present, energy for heating is almost entirely fossil-fuel based, but as geothermal energy is abundant we believe that we can utilise this resource in an economical and efficient way for the benefit of the citizens of Manchester," said Padraig Hanly, ceo of GT Energy.
GT plans to develop 500 megawatts of geothermal capacity in the UK. The company, which already has a number of projects underway in the UK and Ireland, said it will be announcing a range of further investments in the coming months.
Like this story? Please subscribe to our free weekly e-newsletter at the top of the page for more content like this.