Cheshire East to explore geothermal energy under Crewe

CHESHIRE East Council is pushing ahead with plans to harness heat from hot water thousands of metres below Crewe.

It wants to use a 2.5-acre site close to Bentley’s factory at Leighton West to investigate the potential of tapping into a geothermal energy source which it says could heat every house in the authority’s area.

A report will go before the council cabinet today which says geothermal energy in the Cheshire Basin takes the form of hot sedimentary aquifers.

To exploit it boreholes 4km deep would be drilled to access water at a temperature of up to 100C. This water would then be pumped to the surface and used directly as a heat supply, or to produce steam to power turbines for electricity production.

The council says it is only one of six such sites in the country but admits it will be risky as the area earmarked for exploration was once a landfill site.

The council was unsuccessful with a Regional Growth Fund bid to take the idea forward and believes it will cost around £100,000 to conduct a feasibility study. If that is positive it will offer the land as a “joint venture, a lease opportunity or direct development to explore energy generation”.

The report adds: “It is an aspiration of the council that the creation of such a new industry, which is novel within the UK market, will also help to diversify and strengthen Crewe’s employment base, offering a new sector for Crewe’s workforce to expand in to and be employed by, making Crewe more robust against future manufacturing contraction or other economic shocks.”