Plans are revealed today by GT Energy that UK’s biggest commercial deep-geothermal heat plant is going to be developed in Ardwick district in Manchester. The news comes just weeks after the Anglo-Irish energy company announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with energy giant E.ON to jointly develop up to four urban geothermal heat networks.This brings to mind how the invention of the steam engine catapulted Manchester into the Industrial Age. This particular project , when commissioned successfully paves the way for similar viable projects in years to come. GT Energy is targeting untapped heat resource sitting beneath Manchester. The project intends to drill two wells around 3,000 meters deep at a half acre site in the district of the city to tap into the huge geothermal resource below.
Although planned only for 10MW capacity, said project will be able to supply direct heating to homes and businesses through a direct heating system in the area including the corridor of the University of Manchester that stretches along Oxford Road
The project was welcomed by Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, who hailed the initiative as “exactly the sort of innovative green project we want to see sprouting up across the country”.
The Manchester plant is part of GT Energy’s goal of developing 500MW of geothermal capacity across the country and will run alongside a number of projects that the company already has underway in the UK and Ireland.
Geothermal energy is seen by the government as a way of reducing the amount of emissions generated by producing heat, which stand at about a third of the country’s total as the vast majority of production relies on fossil fuels.
However, consultants Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) said earlier this year the subsidies provided through Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) are not sufficient to meet this target and the UK is at risk of missing out on market estimated to be worth £30bn by the end of the decade.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the Philippines in particular, geothermal energy is a shining beacon of how indigenous resource has been fully tapped to provide a substantial share of clean electricity to the power grid. Power produced from geothermal resources averages from 12 to 18 percent of the Philippines’ energy supply mix, with another bigger chunk coming from natural gas, hydro and other renewable sources. The country is still an importer of oil but is not entirely dependent on it. Just this week I ran a story that the Philippine government has made new agreements with New Zealand to invest $8 billion worth of geothermal projects in the next 10 years or so. Indonesia, another country blessed with geothermal resources has been aggressively pushing for its expansion program as well with the Ring of Fire being promoted by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Energy Development Corporation (EDC), one of the world’s biggest vertically integrated geothermal company based in the Philippines. Both countries are world leaders in geothermal energy production with the former on the number two spot just behind USA while the latter is the third biggest producer.
(With news excerpts from Will Nichols of Business Green)