Old pits could be source of power
Ruglonians will learn whether or not a £9 million research project is coming to the town by the end of the year.
The project exploring how redundant coal mines could heat homes will be positioned on Clyde Gateway land, either in Rutherglen or the Dalmarnock side of the River Clyde.
But those behind the Glasgow Geothermal Energy Research Field Site - The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the British Geological Survey (BGS) say they will ensure benefits of the investment are rolled out to people in the wider community.
Representatives of the NERC and BGS were in The Legacy Hub in Dalmarnock last Tuesday to explain what the project will mean for people on both sides of the river and to get their feedback.
They explained that the research site will be used by scientists to investigate whether or not warm water in disused coal mines could be used to heat homes and businesses in the area.
A number of boreholes will be drilled on the site to allow experts to research the area’s geology and underground water systems.
Measurements such as temperature, water movement and water chemistry will be monitored and assessed.
If the heat can be extracted in a safe way Rutherglen homes could benefit from geothermal energy.
But Professor Mike Stephenson, director of science technology at the British Geological Survey, said the project would benefit Ruglonians in many other ways.
He said: “We’re investing in a world-class research facility in the heart of Glasgow, which will attract some of the finest engineers, geologists and scientific minds to work on geothermal energy research.
“The heat source is old coal mines below the surface.
“We want to make sure that the local community benefits from this investment on its doorstep.
“This could mean visitor interpretation displays in community spaces, working with local schools or even accessing a potential local heat source.
“The overwhelming feedback from our community event was the desire to utilise the facility to inspire local children and excite them about science and engineering.
“We are committed to working with the local schools and community organisations to direct the resources we have available to deliver on these aspirations.”
Investigations into the geology of Clyde Gateway land and further community consultation will continue in the coming months before scientists confirm their preferred site for the research facility.
A planning application for the proposed works would be submitted to the relevant local authority, either South Lanarkshire Council or Glasgow City Council, around February.
Expert Professor Mike Stephenson