Contract signed for construction of UK’s first deep geothermal power plant

  • Posted: 27 Jul 2023

The United Downs site is due to start producing up to 3MWe of renewable energy by late 2024.

Construction of the new power plant system at United Downs in Cornwall can now begin as Geothermal Engineering Limited (GEL) awarded the supply contract to Exergy International. This deal is a major milestone in the United Downs project which Thrive provided the first commercial funding for in 2020, followed by a further £3 million investment in 2023.  

The contract awarded to Exergy will include the design and engineering of the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system for converting heat to electricity. As innovators in the global ORC industry, Exergy will use their Radical Outflow Turbine, a highly efficient technology which will produce electricity from the heat of the geothermal fluid. The use of a closed loop cycle will ensure the environmental and visual impact of the system is minimal.  

The site is due to start producing renewable electricity by late 2024 as well as zero carbon heat which could be used to power a nearby housing development at Langarth Garden Village. Once operational, GEL estimates this project will save more than 6,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year compared to fossil fuel power generation.  

“Having been involved in funding the United Downs project from the early stages, it’s wonderful to see the next steps in place for the site to start generating renewable electricity within the next 18 months. We’re also excited to see Cornwall’s significant geothermal resource being planned to be used to heat local homes whilst delivering essential carbon emissions reductions.” - Monika Paplaczyk, Investment Director, Thrive Renewables.

“Geothermal heat is an untapped renewable resource with the potential to provide huge amounts of energy-efficient and carbon-free electricity and heat. Exergy is well known globally for their competence in the binary geothermal power sector and we are very pleased to be working with them on this landmark project in Cornwall. Our long-term agreement with Exergy will also enable us to develop a number of additional projects both in the UK and abroad.” - Ryan Law, CEO, Geothermal Engineering Ltd.