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Geothermal heat could support businesses

 

A ground breaking and innovative study led by Wychavon has been published today. The study looks at heat use across Worcestershire and how various methods could be used to meet demand more sustainably.

The study, funded by the Government’s Heat Network Delivery Unit and the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP), had a particular focus on public sector buildings and large scale business use, but could also be used for housing.

The results indicate real opportunities to develop heat networks throughout the county and further feasibility work is likely in key sites including Worcester, Redditch, Bromsgrove and Kidderminster.

A key part of the study was focused on geothermal heat in the south of the county, and in particular how this might support growers in the Vale of Evesham in particular Offenham.  

Offenham is home to several important horticultural companies who all use a substantial amount of heat to grow fruit and vegetables supplying national supermarkets and wholesalers.   

Cllr. Linda Robinson, Leader of Wychavon, said: ‘I’m pleased this report indicates there is real potential for developing sustainable heat networks in many parts of the county, and I’m particularly interested in the possibility of exploring geothermal heat across south Worcestershire.”

The findings indicate real potential in harnessing this sustainable and natural source of heat, which was first understood when boreholes were drilled in the 1980s. Further study, in line with the report’s recommendations, is already being undertaken to assess geological data in the Worcester Basin, an area that stretches from the Malverns to the Cotswolds.

She continued: “This study will hopefully lead the way to support key business sectors in providing sustainable heat as it does elsewhere in the world. In Holland for example, geothermal heat supports a wide range of crop production. If we can support the local agri-tech sector to compete with the advantages enjoyed by their Dutch equivalents it will be a great boost for UK food production.”

Mark Stansfeld, Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The report highlights the significant opportunities for heat networks and geothermal potential in Worcestershire, which is great news for local businesses. As Worcestershire’s thriving business community continues to expand, it is important that we take every opportunity to ensure that our growth is economically and environmentally sustainable. We will continue to work in partnership with Wychavon District Council and other local authorities to find new, innovative ways to support the county’s businesses and enable them to strengthen their energy and cost efficiency.”

Below are links to the final report into the mapping of heat use in Worcestershire, masterplaning of key sites, and a pre-feasibility study into the potential for geothermal heat in Offenham

Executive Summary

Full Report

Appendix A Part 1

Appendix A Part 2

Appendix C