Geothermal Energy — [Mr Nigel Evans in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:17 pm on 19th June 2018.

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Photo of Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change) 3:17 pm, 19th June 2018

I congratulate my hon. Friend Helen Goodman on securing this important debate and on putting her case with such clarity and precision. After what she found out about geothermal during her research for this debate, I am sure she will agree with me that it is indeed Britain’s forgotten renewable. It is not forgotten because it is not feasible or because it does not bring tremendous benefits. It is forgotten simply because no one has done much about it, even though that resource is under our feet in many parts of the country and is relatively easy to access. When that resource is accessed and developed, it provides potential free heat and power, probably for 100 to 150 years, as a result of a single borehole drilled down into the ground to unleash it.

Why it should be forgotten is a source of puzzlement to me, because it is a universal and beneficial renewable. Some people may regard deep geothermal as not quite renewable, in that if there is drilling into a deep geothermal aquifer, the aquifer, in theory, depletes over time. However, if water is being raised from the aquifer at the typical temperature level in the UK of about 73° or 74° Celsius, that resource will deplete at only 1° in heat per 100 years. Yes, it depletes a bit, but it is not exactly calamitous—unlike, one might say, drilling a fracking well, where the well depletes after about eight years.