The country may not have the volcanoes and geysers of Iceland but thousands of Scots could soon be following the example of their northerly neighbours and harnessing the natural warmth of the Earth’s core to heat their homes. More than half of all energy used in Scotland goes towards heating, and it is also responsible for nearly half of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Scots stump up as much as £2.6 billion every year to warm homes and businesses, with official figures suggesting that around 845,000 households suffer from fuel poverty. Now, if a pioneering new scheme gets the go-ahead, around 700 households in one of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas could benefit from a cheaper and greener source of warmth than they currently rely on. And the secret lies in the legacy left behind from Scotland’s coal-mining past, according to experts. In a joint effort with local councillors, scientists from the James Hutton Institute are exploring the possibility of creating a cutting-edge geothermal district heating system in North Lanarkshire by tapping the warmth of underground floodwater at the disused Kingshill Colliery at Allanton. Though commonplace across much of Scandinavia, district heating systems are a relatively novel concept in Scotland. The same applies to geothermal power. Two existing installations currently tap mine water in Scotland: Shettleston in east Glasgow and Lumphinnans in Fife. Both are small schemes, each serving fewer than 20 dwellings, and have been operating since approximately 2000.
Scotland on Sunday 8th May 2016 read more »