UK urged to exploit geothermal energy potential ‘without delay’ by readers

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The UK should invest in exploiting the nation’s geothermal energy potential, a new poll of readers has found. Geothermal energy utilises heat from below the earth’s surface using hot water and steam to power turbines to generate electricity.

The UK currently uses geothermal energy to generate 0.3 percent of the country’s annual heat demand but the renewable source has the potential to heat millions of homes.

Earlier this month some MPs urged the Government to explore the potential of the UK’s geothermal reserves, writing to then-Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg. On October 19, Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee called for Mr Rees-Mogg to give an update on the potential of geothermal technology in Britain.

The cross-party body suggests that geothermal energy could help meet much of the UK’s heating demands over the next century, help meet net-zero emission targets and offer 25,000 jobs by 2050.

However, the committee warned: “The Government has been slow to exploit the potential of geothermal, and has not integrated it fully into the net zero strategy: this appears to be holding back a sector which could be transformative for the UK’s capacity to meet climate goals, use homegrown energy and grow the economy.”

READ MORE: UK urged to access ‘untapped potential’ of geothermal energy

In a poll that ran from 3.30pm on Wednesday, October 26, to 3.30pm on Friday, October 28, asked readers: “Should the UK exploit the geothermal potential to help energy crisis?”

Overall, 1,104 readers responded with the overwhelming majority, 96 percent (1,058 people), answering “yes” in favour of the UK making use of geothermal energy.

Whereas four percent (41 people) said “no” and a further five people said they did not know.

Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers discussed the benefits of geothermal energy.

Many readers suggested that geothermal sources should be exploited to help ensure energy security, with username nm2 commenting: “Yes, without delay.”

Username skygazer said: “We should be investigating every possibility of providing energy. Never mind all the naysayers – we are in a global crisis. Get real.”

Likewise, username DonnaM12, said: “The UK should investigate all methods of fuel production that would reduce reliance on others.”

And username Grumpy added: “The Government should have been doing this years ago.”

Similar to fracking, geothermal energy requires drilling down into the ground which has raised concerns about the risk of seismic activity. One expert claimed that this could be a reason behind stalling investment.

A senior geologist from the British Geological Survey, Darren Jones, said: “The main stumbling block at the moment is getting the Government to buy into [it]. Deep geothermal in particular, is costly, you’re looking for a few million pounds to drill a well so having an insurance incentive scheme, loan incentives, and things like that to attract investment to explore is the only way it’s going to start.”

The UK already utilises a number of small-scale ground source heat pumps across Cornwall and already has one geothermal heat-generating station located in Southampton.

More projects are under consideration across the southwest of England, around South Tyneside and in the Cairngorms.

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