Search for hot rocks heats up with £1m fund

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Deep Geothermal Energy Fund, administered by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, will be open to applications until 29 October.…

The Deep Geothermal Energy Fund, administered by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, will be open to applications until 29 October. The fund will help companies carry out exploratory work needed to find viable sites for this technology.

Deep geothermal energy uses the natural heat found kilometres underground to produce renewable, non-intermittent electricity and heat at the surface. Many countries worldwide - including the US and Australia - are working to develop deep geothermal power’s potential. Energy from deep geothermal would strengthen and diversify the UK’s energy mix, and would not depend on imported fuels.

The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:

“Deep geothermal energy is a real hot prospect as we dig deeper for new technologies that cut carbon emissions and provide home-grown power.

“Geothermal power from the South West alone could provide up to two per cent of the UK’s electricity needs. Offering this funding will give UK-based innovators a chance to get their projects off the ground and into our energy mix”.

Project bids will be assessed and managed by a panel established by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The closing date for bids for the will be Friday, 29 October 2010 with the successful bids announced shortly after that.

Notes for editors

  1. The fund is part of DECC’s support for energy technology innovation. Potential bidders to the Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund can find out more about the bidding process, including the list of the criteria, at:
  2. This is the second round of the Challenge Fund: £4 million was made available in the first, which was fully allocated and spent, and £1 million in this second round. Projects in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are eligible to bid to the fund.
  3. One of the bidders from Round One - Geothermal Engineering Limited- recently obtained planning permission for a project in Redruth. Further information is available here - The company received £1.475m from DECC last year for geothermal initiatives.
  4. Following the banding of the Renewables Obligation, which came into effect on 1 April 2009, electricity generated from geothermal technology falls into the ‘innovative’ technology band and is thus eligible for support at a rate of 2 Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) per MWh generated. More detail about the Renewables Obligation can be found at: Heat generated from deep geothermal power would be renewable heat.
  5. Heat produced from deep geothermal energy sources would be renewable in nature. As was made clear in the Annual Energy Statement, the Government is fully committed to taking action on renewable heat
  6. It has been estimated that the deep geothermal power from the South West of England alone could meet 2% of the UK’s annual electricity demand. In the UK as a whole, it has been estimated there is geothermal resource to produce up to 35 TWh of electricity per year for around 50 years.