Hot rocks power and heat on the way for Eden Project

Funding has been secured to drill the first well for a pioneering geothermal heat and power project to be built at Cornwall’s Eden Project. Project partners said that the £17mn funding will enable them to start drilling on Eden’s site next summer. 

The money has been secured from a mixture of public and private sources – Cornwall’s final round of EU funding, the European Regional Development Fund, has contributed £10mn and Cornwall Council has put in £1.4mn. Institutional investors have contributed the rest. 

This will pay for the first phase of the project – drilling one well, a research programme and a heat main, to prove the extent of the resource 4.5 km down in the granite that lies beneath the Eden site. The first well will initially supply a district heating system for Eden’s Biomes, offices and greenhouses. It will pave the way for the second phase – another 4.5 km well and an electricity plant. 

Completing the second phase will mean that Eden would be generating sufficient renewable energy to become carbon positive by 2023 as well as aiming to be able to provide heat and power for the local area. 

A new company formed to deliver the project, Eden Geothermal Limited (EGL), is owned by the Eden Project, EGS Energy, a geothermal development and consultancy group with experience in Cornwall, and BESTEC (UK), which is affiliated with a German geothermal developer and drilling advisor. The University of Exeter will be providing academic and research services to the project. 

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