SCOTLAND’S coldest city could generate large amounts of heat from the earth. A “fracking free” plan to drill a deep geothermal well below Aberdeen has the potential to cushion the economic blow from the crisis in the North Sea. A government-funded report suggests that a demonstration scheme – tapping into high temperatures found miles underground to heat local homes and businesses – could help position the region as a global energy hub and highlight the potential from this form of energy for the rest of the UK. Report author Iain Stewart, professor of geoscience communication at Plymouth University, said Scotland could do more with the geothermal resources on its doorstep as part of a push for clean, renewable energy. Stewart’s study into the feasibility of installing a deep geothermal single well (DGSW) at the new site of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), at a cost of £1.5m-£2.5m, concludes that it represents a unique opportunity. He said it would supply low-carbon heat to the AECC and nearby homes, be a catalyst for deep geothermal energy in Scotland by acting as a showcase project, work as an educational tool to raise public awareness, and help develop crossover skills with the oil and gas industry. The project does not require fracking and so it is more likely to be acceptable to the public than some other geothermal projects involving “stimulation techniques”. Aberdeen is one of five areas where geothermal feasibility studies have been backed by the Scottish government. The others are Guardbridge in Fife, Polkemmet in West Lothian, Hartwood in North Lanarkshire, and Hill of Banchory in Aberdeenshire. Heat is estimated to account for more than half of Scotland’s total energy use and to be responsible for nearly 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. The government believes that geothermal energy could cut the estimated £2.6bn a year spent on heating by householders and businesses.
Times 27th March 2016 read more »