Geothermal Engineering Limited (GEL) has signed agreements for the purchase of both the baseload renewable electricity and the zero carbon heat generated from its deep geothermal plant on the United Downs site in Cornwall, UK.
It is the first time that geothermal electricity will be produced and sold in the UK and follows the latest round of successful testing at the site.
The first agreement is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Ecotricity for 3-5MW of baseload electricity produced by the deep geothermal power plant. The power will be distributed to Ecotricity’s customers via the National Grid.
The second agreement is with the Cornish Geothermal Distillery Company (CGDC). The distillery has submitted plans for the UK’s first geothermally heated biome, which will be used to mature and then distil sustainable rum.
CGDC proposes to bring ethically produced, Bonsucro rum to the site, lay it down in oak casks and store it in the maturation biome to enhance the product’s quality and flavour. From the summer of 2022, a total of 640,000 litres of rum is anticipated to be tropically matured over a period of five to ten years. The team hopes that a demonstrable success of this “Catalyst Phase” could draw further interest and investment into the creation of a full £30 million ($41 million) Cornish geothermal rum distillery with potential to create up to 100 jobs.
Dr Ryan Law, founder and managing director of Geothermal Engineering commented: “We have been working for many years towards this point and are absolutely thrilled to see the different aspects of this pioneering geothermal power plant coming together. The testing we have completed recently on the wells, including the deepest well ever drilled on shore in the UK (over 3 miles deep), shows the significant potential of geothermal energy to supply heat and power, not only at our site but right the way across Cornwall. This comes on the back of the recent discovery of high lithium content in our geothermal water. We are very excited for the industry, investment and jobs this renewable resource could bring to the region.”
Dale Vince, CEO of Ecotricity, commented: “Geothermal is a really exciting form of energy that is, as yet untapped in the UK. We’re pleased to be part of this project and to add the power to our customer’s energy mix. It has a big role to play in our plans to decarbonise the country.”
On top of this recent success, GEL is hoping to secure planning for future sites over the next two years. Each new site will aim to produce a minimum of 5MW of renewable baseload electricity and up to 20MW of renewable heat which will be available 24/7.