First steps for United Downs to heat local homes thanks to new government funding

  • Posted: 25 May 2023

£22 million awarded to UK’s first deep geothermal heat network at United Downs.

Located near to United Downs in Redruth Cornwall, the Langarth Heat Network is one of seven ground-breaking schemes to be awarded a share of £91 million in government funding. The project aims to connect up to 4,000 homes with the sustainable heat from the granite rocks almost 5,300 metres below the United Downs industrial site. The heat used to power electricity turbines generating clean energy for the grid will also keep the local community warm once the Langarth Network is operational.

The latest funding is part of the government’s £288 million Green Heat Network Fund that is intended to help new and existing heat networks move to low and zero carbon technologies. The new funding will support the Langarth Heat Network in building crucial infrastructure to connect heat from United Downs to local housing, hospital, schools and college.  

Thrive provided the first commercial funding for United Downs, and in 2023, invested a further £3 million to fund completion of the project by 2024. We look forward to seeing how new government funding will help maximise the benefits of this pioneering project, with excess heat from the site being used to provide cleaner, cheaper heating in the local area.  

“The new government funding will help deliver the UK’s first deep geothermal heat network, supplied by United Downs. We’re delighted to see the huge potential of geothermal as a renewable energy source being realised, providing crucial baseload electricity to the grid, as well as supplying clean heat to the local community and green jobs. Additionally, this sustainable heat source will insulate local consumers from international fossil fuel price volatility” – Matthew Clayton, Managing Director, Thrive Renewables

The site operator – Geothermal Engineering Limited (GEL)– predicts United Downs will deliver 2MWe of baseload electricity once operational, and up to 10MWth of zero carbon heat to benefit thousands of local residents and businesses.  

GEL have also found a high concentration of lithium in the geothermal fluids at United Downs. Research is currently being conducted into how this could be used for local, low-carbon lithium production which could then be used to support the rollout of electric cars in the UK.  

Geothermal plays a crucial role in the UK’s transition to net zero and it’s encouraging to see Cornwall’s significant geothermal resources harnessed, with plans for two new sites already in place.