The Government has agreed to fund a study into whether Cheshire East could generate long-term, renewable energy from geothermal power.
The £88,000 grant is the first fruit of a new partnership between Cheshire East Council and Keele University, which recently signed a memorandum of understanding covering work on renewable energy.
PhD students at Keele will carry out extensive research into the technical and economic aspects of the project, which would entail drilling down up to 5km and extracting water heated by the earth’s core at temperatures around 100 degrees Celsius.
The British Geological Survey has identified the Cheshire Basin, near Crewe, as only one of six deep geothermal resources in the UK.
There is potential to generate about 100 gigawatt hours a year within a 2.5km radius of the proposed site in Leighton West.
This would be enough to provide every resident in the UK with a daily hot shower – for the next 142 years.
Cheshire East and Keele have set up a knowledge exchange network to develop commercial advantages in renewables and the low-carbon economy.
Together they will work to strengthen research and technological development in innovation to deliver low-carbon energy solutions across the Council’s energy framework and geothermal project.
Officers, faculty members and students from the University will work closely together including spending time working on a reciprocal basis from both sets of premises. The Council will support students working on live projects for their MSc and PhDs.
The partnership will help the Council to be at the forefront of emerging energy technology and sustainable energy projects. It will also provide access to research-based funding to further develop the work of the Council to achieve its energy vision and residents-first approach.
Leader of the Council Michael Jones said: “This is an important agreement for the Council and demonstrates yet again our flexibility, innovation and teamwork when it comes realising our ambitions.
“I am determined to eradicate fuel poverty within the Borough and this comes on the back of our announcement to launch Fairerpower, an energy supply provider.
Professor Peter Styles, Professor of applied and environmental geophysics at Keele University said: “This partnership will provide an exciting, long-term opportunity for developing truly innovative research.
“There are significant scientific and commercial benefits to the collaboration and I can see the region being at the forefront of renewable energy research in the very near future.”