The Anonymous Widower

Government Has ‘Double Standards’ For Allowing Drilling In Devon

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Telegraph.

This is the first paragraph.

The Government has been accused of “blatant double standards” for allowing drilling in Cornwall that is able to cause stronger tremors than fracking.

This is at the United Downs Geothermal Project in Devon.

It certainly looks like one rule for geothermal energy and another for fracking.

But then in a lecture in London, I heard a Professor of Engineering from Glasgow University, say that fracking was used in the Highlands of Scotland to obtain clean water.

May 5, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Drilling Starts For ‘Hot Rocks’ Power In Cornwall

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

For as long as I can remember, there have been plans to tap the ‘hot rocks’ under Cornwall for heat and convert it into electricity.

Geothermal power is used in many places around the world.

The Wikipedia entry is worth a read and the Utility-Grade Stations section has this paragraph.

The largest group of geothermal power plants in the world is located at The Geysers, a geothermal field in California, United States. As of 2004, five countries (El Salvador, Kenya, the Philippines, Iceland, and Costa Rica) generate more than 15% of their electricity from geothermal sources.

This is also said.

Enhanced geothermal systems that are several kilometres in depth are operational in France and Germany and are being developed or evaluated in at least four other countries.

As the Cornish project appears to have a degree of EU funding, it looks like Cornwall is one of the four other countries.

The BBC also had a report on the Cornish drilling this morning. They made a point to say that this project has nothing to do with fracking.

Fracking is an emotive project, but we seem to forget that a lot of the engineering and drilling techniques used in the process are also used in other applications, like obtaining fresh water and drilling very deep holes, as is proposed in Cornwall.

It is also enlightening to look at this Wikipedia entry, which describes geothermal power in Germany.

This is said about the sustainability of the power source in Germany.

n the same year (2003) the TAB (bureau for technological impact assessment of the German Bundestag) concluded that Germany’s geothermal resources could be used to supply the entire base load of the country. This conclusion has regard to the fact that geothermal sources have to be developed sustainably because they can cool out if overused.

Based on this, I can understand the enthusiasm for using the technique in Cornwall.

On the BBC this morning, it was said that the Cornish borehole could produce enough electricity for 3,000 homes.

A page on the OVO Energy website, says this.

Household electricity use in the UK dropped under 4,000kWh for the first time in decades in 2014. At an average of 3,940kWh per home, this was about 20% higher than the global average for electrified homes of 3,370kWh.

At 4,000 kWh a year, a home would use an average of 0.46 kW per hour.

This means that to run 3,000 houses needs 1.4 MW per hour.

A typical price of a kWh of electricity is thirteen pence excluding VAT, which means that this plant could earn around £178 per hour or £1.6million a year.

A Project Video

Access the project video here.


I feel that geothermal power could have a promising future in Cornwall.






November 6, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | 2 Comments

Geothermal Power And The New Island Of Surtsey

I was on a tour which was called the South Shore Safari. The first real stop was in an area of geothermal power stations, which gave good views of the new island of Surtsey

I can remember the formation of the island of Surtsey being shown on the television in 1963. It was a well-reported news story of the time.

Geothermal power is important in Iceland and contributes nearly 600 MW of electricity, which makes up about thirty percent of what they need. The Icelanders have by no means fully developed the maximum amount of power available, but they do generate a lot of hot water to heat Reykjavik and other towns. For comparison, our large nuclear power station, Sizewell B generates 1,200 MW.

I think the geothermal power station we saw is Nesjavellir. Wikipedia says this about the capacity of the power station.

Plans for utilizing the Nesjavellir area for geothermal power and water heating began in 1947, when some boreholes were drilled to evaluate the area’s potential for power generation. Research continued from 1965 to 1986. In 1987, the construction of the plant began, and the cornerstone was laid in May 1990. The station produces approximately 120 MW of electrical power; it also delivers around 1,100 litres (290 US gal) of hot water (82-85°C) per second, servicing the space heating and hot water needs of the Greater Reykjavík Area.

I woiuld have loved to have a tour of the power station.

What surprised me about geothermal power, was that the Phillipines are very large users of the technology, which is described as a geothermal success story in this article in Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, twenty seven percent of their power comes from geothermal sources.

I suppose the only drawback with geothermal power is that for the generation of large amounts of energy, you are generally in an area prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

It may seem strange, but even in Cornwall, a company is trying to use geothermal energy to generate electricity. Read about the United Downs project on Wikipedia. Whether it will ever work as planned, will be down to the skill of the engineers and probably the will of politicians.


July 13, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment