MPs launch inquiry into role of geothermal tech towards UK’s net zero goal

The Environmental Audit Committee will examine any potential challenges and what support, if any, the government should offer to accelerate deployment of the technologies – and is seeking views on it

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A new inquiry to look at the role geothermal technologies can play in the UK’s journey towards meeting its net zero goal has been launched.

MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) will examine any potential challenges and what support, if any, the government should offer to accelerate deployment of the technologies – and is seeking views on it.

The technologies available to harness the energy source include mine energy systems, which can extract water from disused mines to provide heat on a large scale and enhanced geothermal systems, which take heat from radioactive decays in granite deposits deep underground to provide energy.

There are currently no UK mine water heating systems in operation – though a number are in development – and no enhanced geothermal systems are currently in operation.

A few are in development, including the Eden Geothermal project and the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power Project.

The EAC already examined ground source heat pumps in December 2020 and now intends to explore the potential role of mine energy systems and enhanced geothermal systems in decarbonising the energy system.

The Committee is inviting views until 21st July 2022.

EAC Chair Philip Dunne MP said: “Harnessing the heat beneath our feet could play a material role in decarbonising our energy system. For a low carbon future, we should be considering all possible options to change how we heat and power our homes. Geothermal energy could hold part of the answer and our new inquiry will explore this potential and any risks to rolling out the technologies at scale.

“I invite anyone with views on geothermal technologies to contribute to our inquiry.”