Cuadrilla in hunt for earth’s green energy

The GEL team at the field test in Cornwall
The GEL team at the field test in Cornwall
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The company which wants to frack for shale gas on the Fylde coast is set to team up with a green energy firm in a bid to tap the earth’s heat store.

Cuadrilla, which is bidding to drill at Roseacre and Little Plumpton, has signed a deal to look into getting geothermal heat energy from drill sites to power nearby homes.

The possibility of using existing wells enables us to not only deliver renewable geothermal heat at a much lower cost but also to recycle wells that would otherwise be wasted

The project, backed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, comes from Geothermal Engineering Ltd and follows the success of trials in Cornwall last year.

The project aims to show that carbon-free geothermal renewable heat can be delivered from deep wells that were originally drilled for other purposes such as oil and gas extraction.

By using existing wells, costs will be reduced by up to 80 per cent. As heat can only be delivered locally, it offers the opportunity for local communities to access low cost heat energy from existing wells drilled in their locality, the firm said.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has provided the project with £55,000.

Dr Ryan Law, managing director of Geothermal Engineering, said: “The possibility of using existing wells enables us to not only deliver renewable geothermal heat at a much lower cost but also to recycle wells that would otherwise be wasted.”

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said: “There is still some investigation to be done, but significant potential exits to utilise appropriately located onshore oil and gas wells.”

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Geothermal heat could play a huge role in Britain’s low carbon future.”