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Tuesday 10 March 2015

Council in talks with investors over geothermal energy


Cheshire East Council is in discussions with potential partners to develop a geothermal heat network that could produce almost limitless energy.

A deep geothermal heat network would initially require about £37m from private sector investment, revenue from heat sales and renewable heat incentive funding.

Financial investors and companies in the utility market are interested in the plans for geothermal at Leighton West in Crewe, which has been identified as an ideal site for drilling down 4.5 km to bring hot water to the surface.

The Council has also secured a government grant to assess other renewable energy projects which could cut bills for people living in Crewe and in rural areas.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is contributing £56,000 towards a feasibility study into a district heating network in Crewe town centre.

The funding will also cover detailed mapping of heat demand and masterplanning to encourage the use of renewables in rural areas not connected to the gas grid.

In urban areas, district heating allows homes and businesses to be connected to a single source of heating (and potentially cooling) to achieve efficiency savings and cost reductions.

These networks can use a wide range of fuels and increasingly draw on low carbon sources such as biomass, geothermal and solar energy.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Cheshire East Council continues to engage with developers who have expressed a commercial interest in building a geothermal heat network in Crewe.

“There has been further interest in developing this from a range of international companies including the utility market, the geothermal development sector and from investment companies. 

“We are excited by the level of market interest in the geothermal project and I will make a further announcement on this project in due course.

“The grant from DECC for central Crewe will enable us to develop the business case to attract private sector investment in a heat network to secure Crewe’s economic future.

“The funds will also be used to establish other types of renewable energy that could help to replace expensive fossil fuels in those rural areas that currently rely on them.

“This Council is committed to tackling energy poverty as well as reducing our carbon emissions. Low-carbon technologies are the way forward and will enable local energy solutions and self-sufficiency.”

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