Heat deep beneath Fife’s feet

Thursday 24 March 2016


Research at a green energy centre at Guardbridge on the potential for ground source heat merits further investigation, a report for the Scottish Government has found.

The University of St Andrews has been leading the way to find new local sources of energy. In the future, heat trapped in rocks deep beneath our feet could help keep us warm in Fife and across central Scotland.

The University, which operates the Guardbridge Energy centre, is lead partner in a Scottish Government funded project to see if geothermal energy can be used to heat homes and businesses around Scotland. The partners in the project are Town Rock Energy, Ramboll, the British Geological Survey, Resource Efficient Solutions LLP and Iain Todd Consulting.

This largely untapped resource could provide significant amounts of renewable heat for Scotland, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a low carbon heat source.

The Guardbridge Geothermal report found that there would be sufficient heat from a test borehole to provide about half of the Guardbridge site’s needs. Although a single demonstrator borehole drilled to moderate depths below Guardbridge would not provide sufficient heat for Guardbridge village and surrounding communities, it would demonstrate the future potential of this natural resource.

Dr Ruth Robinson, the lead for the geothermal feasibility project at the University of St Andrews, said: “The feasibility project investigated if there is a business case to explore for geothermal heat and, if feasible, the technological developments arising out of this project could be used for similar projects across Scotland.

“The findings based on one borehole are promising and certainly merit further investigation.”

Councillor John Wincott, Fife Council’s Sustainability Champion and Chairman of Resource Efficient Solutions, said: “Fife’s communities and businesses are dependent on energy. As heat accounts for over half the energy we use, we’re keen to find local sources of reliable, affordable and renewable heat.

“The Guardbridge study helps us understand more about the opportunities in Fife for geothermal heat. The next step could demonstrate the viability of this technology. In the future, naturally heated water held in rocks could potentially supply enough energy to provide heat for homes and businesses in Fife, as well as other locations in central Scotland. We are pleased to have been able to support this innovative work through Fife Geothermal.”

Notes to news editors

Fife Geothermal is a consortium group that was established in May 2014 as a strategic, catalytic tool for developing the region’s natural sources of geothermal energy.

The group comprises representatives from the University of St Andrews, the British Geological Survey, Fife Council, Town Rock Energy Ltd and Ramboll, as well as Scottish Enterprise and Green Business Fife. Resource Efficient Solutions (RES) is a Limited Liability Company owned by Fife Council. RES offers high quality environmental consultancy and resource management services. Town Rock Energy Ltd is a consultancy firm specialising in mine-water and hot sedimentary aquifers heat potential and engineering. Ramboll is a leading engineering, design and consultancy company founded in 1945, employing over 12,000 experts in the UK, Europe and overseas. The British Geological Survey is the UK’s premier provider of geoscientific data, information and knowledge for wealth creation, sustainable use of natural resources, reducing risk and living with the impacts of environmental change.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 467310 or [email protected]

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