The Glasgow observatory, part of the UK Geoenergy Observatories, is now producing open access data that will help researchers and commercial operators fill in the gaps and use geothermal to decarbonise the supply of heat. The UK has made great strides towards decarbonising its electricity supplies, through onshore and offshore wind, tidal and solar. Geothermal has enormous potential to help the UK decarbonise its heat supply. From shallow ground source heat to kilometres deep, high-temperature systems there are numerous opportunities. For example, Central Scotland, northern England and south Wales all have flooded, abandoned mines that could be tapped to supply local communities or industry with heat. Geothermal has been viewed as a risky business – it involves long-term investments and arrangements for heat supply, uncertainty over resources and high initial costs. Compared to the oil and gas industry, research and innovation have been lacking. This changed in 2014 when the UK government decided to invest £31 million in the UK Geoenergy Observatories through UK Research and Innovation and the Natural Environment Research Council. The UK Geoenergy Observatories comprise two new, world-class facilities in Glasgow and Cheshire. The Glasgow Observatory focuses on mine water heat and heat storage and comprises 12 boreholes fitted with state-of-the-art sensors together with a wide range of environmental monitoring. It will open later this year and is already publishing open access data. Construction will soon begin on the Cheshire Observatory, which covers a range of geoenergy technologies including shallow geothermal and heat storage. In addition, an existing urban geo-observatory in Cardiff provides data on shallow geothermal heat recovery and storage.
Energy Voice 31st Aug 2020 read more »