Old pits could be source of power

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

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

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