Cheshire East Council is the leading local authority in the UK in looking to explore district heating and opportunities for geothermal and renewable energy.
The Council is seeking to appoint a joint venture partner before Christmas to enter into a contract to establish a joint venture company (JVC) in order to take advantage of the geology of the area.
The Cheshire basin is one of only six economically suitable sites in the UK for developing deep geothermal energy. Preliminary studies show it holds reserves of more than six times the national heat demand of the UK, with groundwater temperatures of between 75-110 degrees centigrade.
The ultimate aim of the venture is to deliver heating to homes across Cheshire East fuelled by a range of renewable energy sources, including but not limited to biomass, solar thermal, solar photo-voltaic and geothermal energy.
The Council has already established a knowledge transfer partnership with the University of Keele and has appointed a PhD student to undertake geological mapping of the area.
The joint venture will be formed as a private limited company with equal voting rights between the Council and its partner and an initial tie in period of five years. The appointed partner will not have the exclusive rights to develop renewable projects. The Council will retain the ability to approve new business cases on a project by project basis.
Councillor Rod Menlove, chairman of the Cheshire East Energy Ltd company said: “This is significant step by the Council to harness the power of renewable energy sources for the benefit of our residents. Yet again we are showing that we are an ambitious and innovative Council determined to address energy provision in a low-carbon future.”