The Welsh council of Bridgend County Borough has been awarded £6.5mn from the European Union to transform an old coal mine into a geothermal energy source.
The investment will be used on the former Caerau colliery near Maesteg in the south of Wales, in a bid to supply 150 homes, a church, and a school with energy.
The EU will cover almost 70% of the project cost with the £6.5mn investment, with the remaining £2.9mn coming from the UK government, the Bridgend County Borough Council, and Energy Systems Catapult.
“Our ambition is for our nation to be a world leader in pioneering low carbon energy. This is a cutting-edge model of generating a clean source of renewable energy, drawing on the legacy of our coal mining heritage,” said Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning, and Rural Affairs.
“It will not only attract further investment to the area, but also address fuel poverty by cutting energy bills and has the potential to be rolled out to Wales and beyond.”
“This EU-funded scheme will also create jobs both within the initial construction period and the ongoing supply chain, as well as offering training and educational opportunities in a very innovative area.”
Water from the former coal mine has been heated by the earth, and so the first priority of the project is to research how to extracted the heated water.
The council plan to use heat pump technology and a network of pipes, and if the research is successful, the construction will begin in 2020, and could be expanded to cover up to 1,000 homes.