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UK should turn to geothermal energy to help decarbonisation, new group says

Shift Geothermal brings together academics and experts in the energy sector to call for more Government support for geothermal initiatives

UK should turn to geothermal energy to help decarbonisation, new group says

BusinessLive on Shift Geothermal

By Graeme Whitfield Regional business editor

Academics from the North East have joined a new organisation that is aiming to promote heat under the earth as an important addition to the UK’s energy system.

Durham University’s Prof Jon Gluyas, executive director of the Durham Energy Institute, is among a group of academics and energy sector specialists who have formed Shift Geothermal to call for a national centre for geo-energy to be established.

Geo-energy is heat from the earth’s core, which can be harnessed from areas such as oil rigs that are already drilling into the earth, or water in abandoned mine workings in areas like the North East.

Shift Geothermal says that geo-energy could deliver up to 25% of the UK’s energy mix by 2050, and has the advantage of being carbon zero and more reliable than renewable energy sources such as wind or solar.

The group says geothermal energy in the UK could support 15,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs.

Prof Jon Gluyas said: “The UK has an opportunity to be a leader in how it recycles and repurposes its existing oil and gas infrastructure.

“Why charge ahead with decommissioning when we can rethink the future offshore sector and create new value by creating geo-energy hubs that provide clean power to existing oil and gas platforms, bring power to the shore and safeguard and create many thousands of jobs? It’s simply too big a resource to be ignored.”

Shift says that geothermal power generation is being developed in many parts of the world and argues the UK is at risk of being left behind. It wants Government and industry support to accelerate research and act as a catalyst for projects.

Shift director Dr Alison Auld, a former Durham student, said: “Geo-energy has huge potential in the UK, but this has been largely overlooked and we now risk being left behind in terms of both investment and projects despite that potential.

“The future energy mix will be increasingly diverse, and technologies must be accelerated to rapidly enable sources of net zero carbon energy. People all too often think of Iceland and volcanoes when they think of geo-energy, but the technology has moved on.

“Repurposing and reusing existing offshore infrastructure for geo-energy is a transformational pivot for the UK to develop a new, limitless, home-grown clean energy source whilst supporting the economy and creating jobs.”

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