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Mining legacy springs hope for greener future

Pit water source at Kingsmills (courtesy North Lanarkshire Council)
“Scotland has an outstanding and virtually unexploited minewater geothermal resource base

An old coal mine in Lanarkshire could soon be springing back into life and once again provide heating for people’s homes thanks to geothermal power. A joint effort by North Lanarkshire Council and the James Hutton Institute hopes to bring a warm glow to around 700 households in villages in the Allanton area, by making use of alternative, cheaper and cleaner energy solutions.

The council is working in partnership with the Institute to explore the possibility of creating the first geothermal district heating system in North Lanarkshire by using the mine workings at the Kingshill pit in Allanton.

Dr Jelte Harnmeijer, T. B. Macaulay Renewables Research Fellow at the James Hutton Institute, said: “Scotland has an outstanding and virtually unexploited minewater geothermal resource base. Within the wider UK or European context, Scotland has a relatively low gas-grid penetration rate but a high rate of fuel poverty, particularly in rural areas.

“In view of this, we believe the case for a project in Fortissat merits serious consideration. We are pleased to be working with North Lanarkshire Council in taking this forward.”

Des Murray, North Lanarkshire Council Head of Housing Property, commented: “Geothermal heating systems work by transferring the natural heat of the earth to provide heating to homes. 

“The fossil fuels we are using today are predicted to run out in less than 300 years and in the case of gas and oil, less than 100 years. Fossil fuels take millions of years to form, therefore if we are to continue heating homes and using appliances, we must look into alternative fuel sources.

“If we can find a viable and cost-effective way of tapping into the geothermal power in Allanton, we will be making use of an energy source which has much less of an impact on the environment.

“The research which we are currently supporting via the James Hutton Institute is at a very early stage, and its progress will be subject to further grant funding for the next stage of the process with full engagement with the local community. These plans are quite tentative at this moment, but could potentially be an exciting development for the area if it proves possible.”

Further studies into district heating systems will also be taking place in other areas which don’t have gas supplies including Banton, Gartness, Greengairs and Salsburgh and at tower blocks across North Lanarkshire.

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Printed from /news/mining-legacy-springs-hope-greener-future on 09/12/23 07:53:03 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.