UK’s first national centre launched to advance geothermal energy in the UK

14/06/2024

THE Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC), Durham University, SHIFT Geothermal, and The Reece Foundation have announced the launch of the UK National Geothermal Centre (NGC). 

The NGC aims to accelerate the UK geothermal sector by stimulating and supporting research and innovation, transitioning and developing expertise, and driving the creation of a policy, regulation and investment framework which enables geothermal advancement.  

The new Centre will drive collaboration between government, industry, and academia, championing the integration of geothermal energy into the future renewable energy mix, as a low carbon option for heating homes and industries, and power generation.  

The geothermal sector has the potential to be a significant contributor to the UK’s energy targets and economy, meeting 10GW of the projected heating demand and 1.5GW of the anticipated electricity demand by 2050. Geothermal expansion could create 50,000 jobs for the future and result in an annual reduction of 10 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions. 

The centre is now actively seeking sector engagement to accelerate the uptake of geothermal projects across the UK.   

Anne Murrell, Director at the NGC, said: “Geothermal energy is the foundation of energy security in the UK. It is an inexhaustible source of clean heat and power beneath our feet. The new UK National Geothermal Centre will work to unearth geothermal energy.  

Already in the UK geothermal projects are providing stable, low-cost, green energy to homes and businesses. With its expert stakeholders from industry, academia, finance and government, the NGC will expand geothermal development, at speed and at scale.” 

Dr Charlotte Adams, Director at the NGC, said: “Geothermal has been my personal passion for over 20 years, I remain convinced of its potential for reducing carbon emissions and improving energy security. There is growing interest in UK geothermal and significant progress has been achieved in recent years. 

The timing is perfect for launching the National Geothermal Centre, it will shape and accelerate our growing geothermal sector through collaborative cross-sector working. The Centre will ultimately help to unlock geothermal for more people and secure its’ position as an essential part of our low carbon energy mix.” 

Nigel Lees, Chair of the NGC, said: “The launch of the National Geothermal Centre today represents a significant step in realising the opportunities that geothermal energy provides the UK. For several decades there has been a growing and meaningful contribution to our understanding of geothermal potential in the UK, yet we remain in the nascent stages of development with pockets of knowledge and expertise.  

The Centre will embrace and build on this, working collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure a common understanding of the opportunities and challenges whilst giving a consistent voice and advocacy to fully unlock the geothermal potential in the UK and play a crucial part in the delivery of our net zero ambitions. 

I am honoured to serve as Chair of the National Centre and looking forward to working with the board, the executive, and our stakeholder community in the realisation of our collective vision.” 

Professor Jon Gluyas, Ørsted/Ikon Chair in Geoenergy, Carbon Capture & Storage, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, said: “Geothermal energy is essentially inexhaustible, ultra-low carbon, its use has negligible environmental impact since surface facilities are typically small and unobtrusive, and it occurs everywhere in Earth. 

“Harnessing the UK’s resource will help us meet international carbon reduction targets, as we strive to make secure energy supplies and deliver our own destiny as an energy-independent nation. 

“Coupled with use of wind, solar, other renewable, sustainable energies as well as carbon capture and storage technologies, geothermal energy will enable the UK to once again become world renown in energy and this time in sustainable green energy.” 

Rebecca Allison, Chief Operations Officer at the NZTC, said: “As NZTC continues to accelerate the development and deployment of key transitioning technologies, we are fully embracing the opportunities that come with the geothermal sector. We look forward to supporting the NGC, helping it drive change and form a significant contribution to an integrated energy future.” 

Innes Auchterlonie, CEO of SHIFT Geothermal Ltd and Founding Member of Imrandd CEO, said: “Our goal has long been to see the establishment of a UK wide body to support the growth of a geothermal energy sector in the UK. We are so pleased to see the establishment of the UK’s National Geothermal Centre, making that goal reality.  

The NGC presents the opportunity for collaboration amongst key players in the UK’s geothermal sector, to help accelerate a just transition. We have always believed that with the right infrastructure and expertise, geothermal energy could provide a significant proportion of the UK’s domestic energy needs, while creating jobs and boosting the UK’s economy. I look forward to seeing the exciting projects and initiatives to emerge from the Centre’s work.” 

Anne Reece, Chair of the Reece Foundation, said: “The Reece Foundation supports the advancement of engineering in the North East of England – in the belief that engineering is the way, the only way, the challenges of now and the future will be overcome. In doing this, the prosperity of the region will be enhanced and good valuable jobs will be created. We are delighted to support the creation of this National Geothermal Centre, which will provide a very significant boost to the UK’s attempt to combat climate change.” 

Dr. Marit Brommer, CEO of the International Geothermal Association, said: “Congratulations to the UK for setting up the National Geothermal Centre: having a shared learning hub for the UK with the aim to accelerate the offtake of geothermal energy projects is a superb initiative and I on behalf of the global geothermal community wish you all a fantastic start.” 

Chris Sladen, PhD, CBE, Chair of Founding Members at the Geothermal Energy Advancement Association (GEAA), said: “Today is a milestone for geothermal in the UK. All at GEAA, both in the UK and abroad, including our global ambassadors, look forward to collaborating and supporting the NGC to advocate geothermal as a sustainable source for near zero-carbon heat and power. We calculate that geothermal energy, particularly for heat, can create a step-change in the UK and reduce harmful emissions.” 

OEUK Supply Chain and People Director Katy Heidenreich, said: “Geothermal energy, drawn from the earth’s interior to provide heating and cooling has a significant role to play in the low carbon energy mix. Using the oil and gas sector’s skills and technologies, including geoscience and drilling expertise, will help us seize this exciting opportunity and we look forward to collaborating with governments, industry, and academia and supporting the NGC in this exciting venture.” 

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