UK’s First Geothermal Power Plant Launches Crowdfunding Drive

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A project to build the UK’s first geothermal electricity site in Cornwall is now open for investment on crowdfunding site Abundance, with a target of raising £5m to kickstart construction.

The United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project near Redruth in Cornwall would be the country’s first commercial geothermal power plant, which works by drilling deep wells into the ground and pumping water inside to be warmed by heat from the Earth’s core.

The scheme has already received more than £10m in funding from the European Regional Development Fund and £2.4m from Cornwall County Council.

The bond offer, which went live on Saturday, seeks to raise a further £5m to fund construction of the 3MW project, which its developers say could generate enough electricity to power 5,500 homes every year.

“The geothermal resource beneath our feet is extensive, and, if properly managed, inexhaustible,” Ryan Law, general manager at Geothermal Engineering which is developing the project, said in a statement.

“The granite rocks of Cornwall have the highest heat flow in the UK and are the best place for the development of geothermal power,” he said. “The United Downs project is at the cutting edge of geothermal technology and we want to give the local community the chance to be involved in this project. This is why we are launching an offer of debentures through Abundance to allow people to invest directly, from a minimum of just £5.”

The bond offer has an 18-month term and an estimated return (AER) of 12 per cent, with the interest paid in full at the end of the term. Since its launch over the weekend it has already raised more than £1m on the Abundance platform.