British renewable energy company Ecotricity has signed the UK’s first geothermal PPA with Geothermal Engineering. The utility will buy the electricity generated by Geothermal Engineering’s United Downs demonstration project in Cornwall under a power purchase agreement (PPA). The historic PPA marks the first sale of geothermal energy in the UK.
Ecotricity will purchase the 3-5MWp of baseload electricity produced at the United Downs site in Cornwall, southwest England. A distiller company, Cornish Geothermal Distillery Company (CGDC) will purchase heat from the plant to warm its maturation facility.
Geothermal Engineering founder and managing director Dr Ryan Law said: “We have worked towards this point for many years. The testing we have completed recently on the wells, including the deepest well ever drilled onshore in the UK, shows the significant potential of geothermal energy to supply heat and power, not only at our site but right the way across Cornwall.”
“This comes on the back of the recent discovery of high lithium content in our geothermal water. We are very excited for the industry, investment, and jobs this renewable resource could bring to the region,” Law added.
Geothermal PPA pioneers UK’s geothermal sector
Ecotricity chief executive Dale Vince says geothermal is a really exciting form of energy that is still untapped in the UK.
“We’re pleased to be part of this project and to add the power to our customer’s energy mix. It has a big role to play in our plans to decarbonise the country,” said Dale Vince.
Geothermal Engineering is looking to secure planning for future sites over the next two years which will aim to produce a minimum of 5MW of renewable baseload electricity each. An additional 20MW of renewable heat will be produced as a by-product per day. The company would need to secure funding of $271m (200m) to develop these projects.