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Camborne School Of Mines (Research)

Volume 990: debated on Thursday 7 August 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether further funding will be provided for the next stage of the research work of the Camborne school of mines geothermal energy project.

My Department intends, subject to negotiation, to allocate £6 million to the Camborne School of Mines to continue its project on improving ways of extracting heat from underground rock.The next stage will study methods of fracturing granite at depths of 6,000 ft. If the project is successful it will be a major step towards the widespread exploitation of geothermal energy in the United Kingdom. The technology could be utilised in those areas where the rock temperatures are high enough to produce steam from which electricity could be generated.Geothermal energy technology is still in its early stages, and the economics of exploiting this resource remain to be proved. However, there is a very large amount of energy involved—the granite deposits in the South West contain the equivalent of 6,000 million tonnes of coal—and it would clearly be worth while to exploit even a fraction of such a resource.