Thursday, November 30, 2017

United Kingdom: Opinion - Geothermal Power is an Option that Shouldn’t be Overlooked

Southampton's Geothermal Pursuit: A Success or Failure? (The Wessex Scene)

Spoiler! It's a success!

(Source: Suitcivil, Wikimedia Commons)
In 1987, drilling for the well started in the city centre. The well draws water from an aquifer 1800m under the surface, at a temperature of 76°C. The system is contained under a red corrugated building  next to WestQuay and IKEA. It provides 13 GWh of energy a year, and helps to provide the heating for several buildings, including WestQuay, the Civic Centre, and Royal South Hants Hospital. The amount of energy the system supplies is relatively low considering the amount of research and money put into developing it, but it is still considered as an efficient method of heating several buildings in the city centre around 30 years later!

With that in mind, as far as I can tell, Southampton’s very own geothermal project has been a success. To date, there has still been very little further research and development into the practical use of geothermal energy in the UK. There has been a small amount of research in Cornwall, and a similar system to Southampton’s is currently being developed for use in Stoke-on-Trent. Despite this, there’s evidence that geothermal has the potential to be able to supply a fairly significant portion of the UK’s energy and heating needs, and increased use and research would surely decrease the cost.

While there are several methods of sustainable energy sources that can be implemented in the UK to help replace the use of fossil fuels, it seems clear to me that perhaps geothermal power is an option that shouldn’t be overlooked.

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