GEL granted approval for geothermal project at Penhallow, UK.


Truro Cathedral, Truro, UK (source: Robert Pittman / flickr, Creative Commons)

After addressing local concerns, Geothermal Engineering Ltd. has received approval to develop a geothermal power project at Penhallow, UK.

UK-based geothermal firm Geothermal Engineering Ltd. (GEL) has been granted permission by the Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee to develop a geothermal project at Penhallow, near Truro. The current plan is to drill two geothermal wells in the project area and to build a power station over three years. This is likely one of the four new geothermal projects that GEL announced for Cornwall.

Although concerns over the project were raised by local residents, parish council, and the Cornwall councilor for the area, these were addressed by GEL. More specifically, the concerns were about the noise from the operation of the drilling and power plant, as well as the risk of seismic disturbance and contamination of water supply.

Planning officer Tim Warne said that there was very low risk of seismic activity at geothermal plants and that these were within accepted limits. He mentioned the example of recorded seismic events at the Eden Project at United Downs that did not have any impact on properties or the environment. Warne also explained that blasting in quarries for mineral extraction was far more powerful.

GEL had also agreed to construct an acoustic fence to mitigate the noise from the facility.

GEL Director Ryan Law also addressed criticism that the company had not yet gereated any geothermal power from the United Downs site near Redruth. While this was true, Law explained that delays were due to the pandemic but the power station is expected to be built this year. He added that GEL was 100% confident that the Penhallow project will be successful in generating power and heat. The decision to develop a geothermal project at Penhallow was the result of two years of site location work and £50 million of investment.

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Law also mentioned that the project will not only help mitigate the climate emergency and reduce energy costs, but will also generate high-skilled and high-paid jobs for the local area.

Cornwall council John Fitter expressed satisfaction in how GEL addressed the concerns brought forward regarding the project. “Coming to the technology itself it has been suggested that it has not been proven but I believe it is proven to produce a constant supply of energy. This is not subject to the sun shining or subject to the wind blowing or coming from the gas supply. This is going to be constant and it is going to be there and is going to be a vital ingredient to our national supply.” Fitter stated in support.

Source: BBC and Cornwall Live