The U.K.’s fledgling geothermal energy sector has reached a new milestone after it was announced that a “proof of concept power plant” in Cornwall had started to produce geothermal steam.
The steam, which can be used to generate electricity, is created when water is extracted from a well measuring 5.1 kilometers deep.
According to Geothermal Engineering Ltd, the project at the United Downs Industrial Estate near the Cornish town of Redruth “is on track to deliver its first electricity during 2022.”
The £30 million ($41.4 million) development has received funding from Cornwall Council, the European Regional Development Fund and another firm called Thrive Renewables.
In its announcement, GEL also revealed it would be developing four new deep geothermal facilities in Cornwall, a county located in the southwest of England.
These four power plants, it added, would produce enough electricity to power 45,000 homes. If all goes to plan, the facilities will be in operation by 2026.
Described by the U.S. Department of Energy as a “vital, clean energy resource,” geothermal energy refers to producing energy from underground heat. The DOE adds that geothermal energy “supplies renewable power around the clock and emits little or no greenhouse gases.”