A GROUND breaking study has been carried out in the Vale which could lead to homes and businesses being heated by geothermal energy.
The results of the study, led by Wychavon District Council, were published on Tuesday (February 7) and found there is ‘real potential’ to use natural heat from the Earth as a renewable source of energy in Worcestershire.
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Government’s Heat Network Delivery Unit funded the research.
The research looked at heat use across the county – with public sector buildings and large scale business uses at the forefront of the study.
A key part of the study focused on geothermal heat in the south of the county, focusing particularly on how this might support growers in the Vale, especially in Offenham.
Offenham is home to a number of important horticultural companies who all use a substantial amount of heat to grow fruit and vegetables for supermarkets across the country.
It’s hoped harnessing the natural heat would meet the rising demand from growers in the Vale, whilst also providing a sustainable source of energy at the same time.
Coun Linda Robinson, Wychavon District Council leader, said: “I’m pleased this report indicates there is real potential for developing sustainable heat networks in many parts of the county, and I’m particularly interested in the possibility of exploring geothermal heat across south Worcestershire.
“This study will hopefully lead the way to support key business sectors in providing sustainable heat as it does elsewhere in the world.
“In Holland for example, geothermal heat supports a wide range of crop production. If we can support the local agri tech sector to compete with the advantages enjoyed by their Dutch equivalents it will be a great boost for UK food production.”
Following the report’s recommendations, further research is already being undertaken to assess geological data in the Worcester basin, an area which stretches from the Malvern Hills to the Cotswolds.
Mark Stansfeld, Chairman of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The report highlights the significant opportunities for heat networks and geothermal potential in Worcestershire, which is great news for local businesses.
“As Worcestershire’s thriving business community continues to expand, it is important that we take every opportunity to ensure that our growth is economically and environmentally sustainable.
“We will continue to work in partnership with Wychavon District Council and other local authorities to find new, innovative ways to support the county’s businesses and enable them to strengthen their energy and cost efficiency.”