Coal mine shaft and winding tower [image credit: Andy Dingley @ Wikipedia]

First it has to work without serious drawbacks, then it has to make some economic sense, before even asking whether the plan might qualify as credible, let alone brilliant. 
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A plan to convert Britain’s disused, flooded coal mines into geothermal power plants is now gaining traction as permission is granted for a testing phase, says Oilprice.com.

Abandoned and flooded underground coal mines are plentiful in the North of England, Britain’s industrial revolution hub.

In South Tyneside, in the northeast of England, the Council has approved plans to “draw geothermal energy from abandoned flooded mines in the former Hebburn Colliery.” The mine was shut down in 1932 and has been disused since.

The pilot project will involve the drilling of two wells to transport water from the flooded mines, with drilling and testing for viability expected to be completed by Q3 2021.

Dunelm Geotechnical and Environmental Ltd hope to extract the water via vertical boreholes at a depth of 300-400 meters. A heat pump will be used to extract heat from the water, which will be compressed to a higher temperature.

A power plant on the mining site will distribute the energy to heat local buildings, such as residential tower blocks. The plan is to use solar panels and a combined heat and power unit to generate electricity to power the system.

The leader of South Tyneside Council, Tracey Dixon, stated, “The Minewater scheme is expected to deliver a reduction of 319 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, which will make a significant contribution to our ambition for carbon neutrality by 2030.”

n 2015, the U.K. government vowed to end coal production completely within a decade. For a country that pioneered the world’s coal production, and still generated enough energy from coal in 2013 to power 3 million U.K. homes, this marked a distinct shift in the government’s energy strategy.

The U.K.’s coal mining towns were hit hard by the closures of hundreds of mines from the 1980s onwards, sending unemployment in local communities soaring.

New renewable energy projects such as this could rejuvenate towns, encouraging alternative energy developments and bringing much-needed jobs back to the north of England.

Full article here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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May 21, 2021