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Arup linked to showcase geothermal scheme announced by Scottish government

Development of geothermal energy for the proposed new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre is to be the showcase project of five new geothermal schemes announced by the Scottish government.

The projects are being promoted with £234,025 of funding under the Scottish Government’s Geothermal Energy Challenge Fund which is supported by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Fund, the first strategic intervention established under the new European Structural Funds Programme.

The Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre is being led by Geothermal Engineering which is working with Arup and St Andrew’s University to investigate the use of “ground-breaking” deep geothermal single well (DGSW) technology at the proposed development.

The Aberdeen study is to present a coherent case to move forward with the drilling and installation of a 2km DGSW to provide renewable heat to the development. The DGSW technology was successfully tested in 2014 by GEL at an existing deep well in England as part of a DECC funded project and shown to achieve significant carbon savings.  According to the project team, it is considered that the DGSW technology at the Aberdeen development offers the single best opportunity to demonstrate the potential of deep geothermal energy in Scotland.

The Scottish government has said that the five schemes are the first support for geothermal projects in Scotland following a 2012-2013 study which identified significant potential for geothermal heat as a renewable heat source.

In a statement, the government said: “Heat is estimated to account for over half of Scotland’s total energy use and responsible for nearly half of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. The projects are an important step towards demonstrating how geothermal energy could cut the estimated £2.6bn a year spent on heating by householders and the non-domestic sector.”

Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing said: “These five projects demonstrate how the Scottish Government is supporting the geothermal industry to make the most of this largely untapped resource and to develop a delivery model which reduces carbon emissions, is self-sustaining and is economically viable.
“The announcement of the geothermal feasibility projects follows the publication of the Heat Policy Statement (HPS) on Thursday, June 11. This is part of the wider approach to support the development of a resilient heat system that enables households, organisations and industry to transition to an affordable low carbon heat system and seize the economic opportunities that this transformation offers.
“The HPS sets out the support being provided to reduce the need for heat, supply heat efficiently and at lowest cost to consumers and to generate low carbon and renewable heat.”

Schemes included in the project

  • Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre: to conduct a feasibility study for the installation of a deep geothermal single well system to provide heat to the new Centre and associated buildings
  • Guardbridge, Fife: to explore the geothermal potential under a brownfield site to provide heat to on-site industries and the local community
  • Polkemmet, West Lothian: to establish the feasibility of geothermal heat from mineworkings, which will heat proposed new social housing in the area
  • Hartwood, North Lanarkshire: to develop a fully operational minewater geothermal district heating system which could act as an exemplar of how to transform farm economics and transfer benefits to local communities
  • Hill of Banchory, Aberdeenshire: to explore the viability of adding geothermal energy from hot dry and hot wet rocks to the existing renewable heat network that is already serving the local communities

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