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The Eden Project could use hot rocks to generate energy

The Eden Project could use hot rocks to generate energy

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 12:57pm 1st May 2018.

By Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

Cornwall Council could provide £1.4million towards an Eden Project scheme aiming to use hot rocks to generate energy.

The council’s Cabinet will decide whether the match funding should be provided from the council’s business, energy and industrial strategy grant fund.

Cornwall Council has already provided funding for another scheme after giving £2.4m towards the £18m United Downs Deep Geothermal Project. The match funding helped secure £10.6m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Eden scheme is the second to come forward and has been invited to make a full application for money from the ERDF and needs the match funding from the counci to support that application.

A report going to Cabinet tomorrow explains where the funding will be coming from.

It states: “The council receives ‘an extraordinary grant’ of £1,193,500 per annum capital funding from Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for the duration of the EU Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) programme, with the expectation that the Council would spend it on EU projects. The current balance of this grant is £2.974m.”

The project at Eden is being led by Cornwall-based EGS Energy which has planning permission for a 3-4MW geothermal power plant on a site at the Eden Project.

On its website Eden states: “On a site the size of a football pitch, the geothermal power plant would produce enough power for the Eden Project and around 4,000 houses, plus all the heat we can use, and more.”

EGS Energy is part owned by a team which has already built three geothermal sites in Europe.

The plant would use a two-well system which would have two boreholes. Cold water is pumped down one hole, picks up the heat from the rocks below the surface and then is pumped back to the surface at around 180°C. The hot water is then run through a turbine to create electricity.

Geothermal energy is said to be one of the most reliable forms of renewable energy and is it not reliant on the weather and plants are operating 90% of the time.

The report going to Cabinet states: “Estimates suggest that deep geothermal could provide heat and power to all of the homes in Cornwall; if the geological risk is reduced by proving the resource and investment is unlocked. This level of generation will require significant inward investment and provide substantial jobs, increased Gross Value Added (GVA), carbon reductions and could potentially help to eradicate fuel poverty; all helping to deliver the ‘Cornwall energy future’ vision endorsed by Cabinet in January 2017 to provide the basis for the Council’s future energy policy and investment decisions.”

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