Three geothermal energy projects, in Cornwall, have secured Government support. Image: Program Agency.
Three geothermal energy projects, in Cornwall, have secured Government support. Image: Program Agency.

Geothermal projects gain government backing

4 min


Supporters say contracts will ‘provide clean energy for 15 years’

Geothermal projects in Cornwall have secured contracts awarded by the Government to provide clean energy for the next 15 years.

Three geothermal energy projects have secured Government support at its renewable energy auction.

The Manhay, Penhallow and United Down projects, run by UK-based Geothermal Engineering Limited, are the first Contracts for Difference allocated to geothermal energy production in the UK.

The contracts are due to run for 15 years and are underwritten by the Government. The geothermal projects in Cornwall are ‘part of a 320 MW clean energy boost for the Great South West.’

Contracts were also awarded to solar schemes, including  the Langford and Peradon Solar Farms near Exeter, Gammaton Solar Farms in North Devon, Enso Green Holdings at North Petherton near Bridgwater and Aller Langport in Somerset.

Other solar farm projects to gain contracts included Rampisham Woods, Fern Brook Solar Farm (near Shaftesbury) and Galton Manor (near Dorchester).

It means every county within the Great South West was successful in round five of the Government’s contracts allocation. Supporters say the news will help to ensure ‘320.88 MW of low carbon energy production for the region.’

Falmouth-based HydroWing also secured a tidal energy contract for its work in South Wales.

‘Huge potential’ for the South West

No bids were received for any UK offshore wind farm projects. The Crown Estate has yet to start the leasing process for the four 1 GW floating offshore wind projects in the Celtic Sea.

‘It’s fantastic news for our geothermal capabilities and it’s great to see low carbon energy production being backed right across the region,’ says Karl Tucker, Chair of the Great South West.

‘But it is a blow for offshore wind generation, which is needed if we are to meet our renewable energy generation targets.’

‘There is huge potential for the Great South West to become a leading provider of clean energy and that work is well underway.’

‘From developing the necessary infrastructure and vital research at our universities, to the skills needed to fulfil job opportunities and the work to bring companies and investment into the region, we are firmly focused on playing our part to help the country achieve its net zero targets.’

‘It is now vital that the Government reassesses its approach to offshore wind as a matter of urgency, and looks again at setting realistic pricing.’

‘This must happen alongside the need to boost National Grid capacity and reviewing planning rules. Considerable progress has been made and we cannot afford to let that slip.’

In last year’s contract round, Hexicon’s TwinHub secured 15-year revenue support for a 32 MW floating wind Celtic Sea project, as part of the Wave Hub demonstration site off Hayle, the first ever dedicated Contracts for Difference award for floating wind in the UK.

The ‘Clean Energy Powerhouse prospectus’

The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Celtic Sea, chaired by North Devon MP Selaine Saxby, was due to meet at Westminster last week to be briefed by David Ralph, CEO of the Great South West, on the situation. The group includes MPs from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Wales.

This summer, the Great South West published its Clean Energy Powerhouse Prospectus. It stated that more than ‘500 low carbon energy projects are already operational or in development across the region.’ The prospectus was developed by Regen.

‘The failure to attract any offshore wind projects to the recent auction round is a blow to the UK’s offshore wind industry, including the exciting floating offshore wind projects being developed in the Celtic Sea,’ says Grace Millman, Regen’s Offshore Sector Lead.

‘Offshore wind is critical to the country’s energy security and net zero goals, as well as our economy.’

‘Regen is calling for urgent action from the UK Government to rebuild industry confidence and set out a clear strategy for delivering new offshore wind projects.’

Regan’s prospectus says the South West has the potential to become a leading exporter of clean energy, providing 11% of the UK’s low carbon energy by 2035.

Great South West is the pan-regional partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, working to build the region’s economy and prosperity.

Imagery provided by Program Agency

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