Third Energy awarded government funding for heat network study using old gas wells

Third Energy has received a grant of £50,250 to assess the feasibility of using geothermal energy from its former gas wells to power heat networks in the Ryedale area of North Yorkshire.

The funding from the Department of Business, Energy and Industry (BEIS), will support a joint project with Ryedale District Council.

Heat networks are part of government plans to decarbonise heating. BEIS has said they “provide a unique opportunity to exploit larger scale – and often lower cost – renewable and recovered heat sources that otherwise cannot be used.”

The Climate Change Committee, which advises the government, has estimated that about 18% of UK heat will need to come from heat networks by 2050.

As part of the award, Third Energy will match the government funding. BEIS has also granted £30,000 to Ryedale District Council for community engagement.

Ryedale District Council will keep local communities informed and consulted on any plans. Work is expected to commence this month.

Third Energy has 12 gas wells across eight sites in North Yorkshire. None have produced any gas since December 2019. Earlier this year, Third Energy was acquired by the renewables company, Wolfland Group.

Russell Hoare, managing director of Third Energy, said:

“The repurposing of our wells for geothermal heat production is a key part of our wider transition of the business into renewable energy and this grant funding will supplement the feasibility work we have already undertaken over the last 18 months.

“Given the urgent need to decarbonise the energy system and eliminate fuel poverty, it is great to be working with Ryedale District Council and BEIS to address these two issues.”

Phillip Spurr, programme director of place and resources at Ryedale District Council, said:

“Ryedale District Council is committed to engaging fully with our local communities to help them understand the work involved and what the findings of the feasibility studies will mean for Ryedale as a whole. We will listen to all feedback and ensure that it is acted upon. 

“The feasibility work and potential uses of geothermal energy ties in with our own ambitions set out in our Climate Change Action Plan. 

“In October 2019, Ryedale District Council joined other bodies in declaring a climate change emergency and making a commitment to actions to help achieve net zero emissions across Ryedale by 2050.”

  • DrillOrDrop interview with Third Energy’s managers and new owners

3 replies »

  1. Wonder if they will need to thermally, chemically or hydraulically stimulate the wells to increase conductivity with the reservoir?

  2. You’re right to wonder about such issues John, and I sincerely hope such questions will be asked, and honestly, truthfully and accurately answered and communicated with the public. In fact, I’ll be doing my best to ensure that happens. I suspect Ruth will do likewise. That way, we can confirm whether this is a safer, cheaper and more effective form of heating than continued (or even newly developed) use of fossil fuels, whoever we might buy those from.

    • I suspect that due to the difference in depth and geology, the project will be very different in nature to those in Cornwall that require stimulation and are consequently producing seismic activity, but like you state, there needs to be good communication between the company and the local community to make sure.

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