The glorious geothermal revolution!

The new report on the UK potential for geothermal energy, by Sinclair Knight Merz and commissioned by the Renewable Energy Association, concludes that it should be possible for geothermal energy to provide the UK with a cumulative benefit of 5,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity and 32,000 GWh of heat by 2030. This is power equivalent to nine nuclear reactors.

Oooooh! Excellent!

Mr Jackson continued, “SKM’s analysis suggests that a feed-in tariff level of approximately £300/MWh for electrical generation and combined heat and power projects is required to develop these geothermal projects in the UK. This is approximately equal to five Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) per MWh.”

Eh? Doesn\’t that mean they\’ve found something even more expensive that fucking solar PV let alone nuclear? 30 p a kWhr…..

15 thoughts on “The glorious geothermal revolution!”

  1. I tried to do the maths about this a few years for a domestic geothermal installation. For a new build home, geothermal for domestic heating and hot water appeared to break even after 15 years or so. On that basis, if the providers can provide longevity and reliability, it might work for people who can afford £10,000 extra up front on the cost of a house. Retrofitting to an existing home was not economic when I did my calculations.

    So I am a bit puzzled by the numbers in this story. Industrial scale geothermal extraction should be orders of magnitude more efficient than a domestic plant. Somebody is telling tall stories or somebody is innumerate or both.

  2. The piece says gbp30/mWh for heating only, and gbp300/mWh for electricity. In other words, geothermal heat is well worth it (as Charlieman’s analysis suggests), whilst geothermal electricity isn’t.

  3. Re: Charlieman – they seem to be talking about deep geothermal (‘hot rocks’) which is totally different to exploiting near surface heat sources. A company called Geodynamics (I think) has been trying to get this to work in Aust for a while now without much success. The concrete industry has been very grateful for the work involved in capping their collapsed bores however.

  4. agrees with Charlieman – I did the sums based on figures from various suppliers. Retro-fitting would only pay back on the same timescales as non-subsidised solar – eg never.

  5. I wish people hadn’t started mendaciously referring to ground source heat pumps as “geothermal” – they’re not. As a result, my “environmentalist” father in law thinks he’s getting free heating and cooling, so draws an average of 2200 kWh per month off the grid…

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