- Prime Minister urged to provide a ‘revitalised package of incentives’ for geothermal at PMQs
- REA’s campaign says that geothermal is critical to delivering UK’s net zero ambitions
- Thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions pounds worth of investment could be generated by funding boost
The REA has today urged the Government to provide a catalyst the UK’s geothermal industry by delivering a package of support for the sector, as the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) looms.
At Prime Ministers Questions, Kieran Mullan, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, asked the Prime Minister to meet with him with a view to delivering a ‘revitalised package of incentives’ for the geothermal sector. He added that the UK had fallen behind Europe in untapping the potential of geothermal heat and power in places like his constituency.
In his response, the Prime Minister recognised the importance of deep geothermal energy in Crewe and committed to a meeting.
European countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy are already market leaders for geothermal, with France’s sector supporting more than 30,000 jobs and generating more than £350 million a year. However, despite the UK having a total potential of 91M GWh[i] of heat from geothermal (100 years of the UK’s total heat demand), few sites are in operation.
The RHI is set to close at the end of March, putting a number of potential geothermal sites – which have been delayed by the pandemic – at risk. The REA is urging the government to offer a targeted extension to the scheme or to offer an alternative package of measures which would enable the first tranche of projects to be delivered.
Potential sites for geothermal are largely situated in the Midlands, North of England and the South-West/south coast.
Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), said:
“Last year, the government made a big statement of intent with the release of the Energy White Paper, but the real test is now delivering a set of policies and support that can help deliver on the UK’s net zero targets and rapidly decarbonise heat – a thriving geothermal sector is absolutely vital to achieving that.
“Countries such as Germany and France are already ahead of the UK on this, but the REA believes that, with the right support, we could quickly close the gap and position the UK as one of the leading producers of geothermal in Europe. The French geothermal sector supports more than 30,000 jobs and generates more than £350 million a year – there is no reason why the UK cannot be even more ambitious.
“By 2024, the UK could have at least one geothermal site operational in every area that has the ability to host one. That means much needed jobs and investment for towns and cities like Crewe, Stoke and Sedgefield, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle as we look to recover from this pandemic and transition away from oil and gas.
“If the government can provide a catalyst through a targeted package of support, this could be the start of a ‘geothermal decade’.”
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Notes to editors:
Full question from Kieran Mullan, MP for Crewe and Nantwich at PMQs: “The UK has fallen behind Europe in untapping the potential of geothermal heat and energy in places like Crewe. Will the Prime Minister meet with me to discuss how we can ensure geothermal helps us build back better with a revitalised package of incentives for industry?”
Full response from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson: “I thank my honourable friend for the point he makes about Crewe, and the way it’s now at the forefront of deep geothermal energy exploration and [I am] very happy to meet with him to discuss what we can do to further geothermal energy in Crewe, diary permitting.”
About the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA):
The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (known as the REA) is the UK’s largest trade association for renewable energy and clean technologies with around 550 members operating across heat, transport, power and the Circular Economy. The REA is a not-for-profit organisation representing fourteen sectors, ranging from biogas and renewable fuels to solar and electric vehicle charging. Membership ranges from major multinationals to sole traders.
For more information, visit: www.r-e-a.net
[i] 91M MWh is a conversion of the Petajoule figure presented in the BGS technical report: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/528738/1/BGSScienceBriefingNote_DeepGeothermal.pdf