November 10, 2011
Green Power Conferences Geothermal Analyst, Sophy Searight recently caught up with Sarah Mulder, Managing Director, Kwittken & Company (formerly Epoch PR). Sarah was leading the public campaign on the launch of the UK's first commercial scale geothermal plant.
How have Kwittken & Company(Epoch) been involved in the Geothermal industry to date?
Kwittken & Company (Epoch) has worked in the clean tech sector since 2005, working with clients to engage at the grassroots level, political level and with the media. We have worked with Geothermal Engineering Ltd since its inception in 2009 to launch the company and to help it achieve both planning permission and work towards funding for the first site in Cornwall.
What were the objectives at the start of the project with Geothermal Engineering Ltd.?
Geothermal Engineering is developing the UK's first commercial-scale geothermal plant, near Redruth in Cornwall. The initiative is exciting, exploratory, and will push the frontiers of geothermal energy in the UK. As the communications team appointed to support the launch and build profile for the company, Epoch's objectives were as follows:
In your opinion what are the public's biggest concerns related to geothermal development?
We held a number of public surgeries for Geothermal Engineering Ltd where we engaged directly with the public, talked through the plant plans and listened to their concerns. The predominant concern was whether sound from the drilling would be audible for nearby residents. There were further concerns about traffic management in a quiet rural area with narrow country lanes, as locals wanted to know how site equipment would be transported.
The Geothermal Engineering plant will deliver 10 MW of electricity to the grid and 50 MW of hot water which can be used for the immediate community. There was widespread interest about this and how it would work in practice.
What was the most challenging aspect of the campaign?
The biggest challenge we have faced in the UK has been securing funding for the project. Deep Geothermal technology is not established in the UK and is therefore viewed as relatively high risk by venture capital and private equity funds. It has taken longer than we originally thought to secure both the appropriate levels of Government and industrial support. However, Geothermal Engineering expects to make a full announcement on funding at the Geopower Conference.
GeoPower Europe Congress & Exhibition
Sarah Mulder will be at GeoPower Europe Congress and Exhibition in Milan 5-8 December 2011. The event sees the leading geothermal power minds convening once again at what is fast becoming THE annual global meeting place for the Geothermal industry, just some of the key global players attending include:
Lucien Bronicki, Chief Executive Officer, Ormat,
Ross Beaty, Executive Chairman, Alterra Power Corp
Susan Petty, President and Chief Technology Officer, AltaRock Energy
Thor Erik Musæus, Managing Director, Rock Energy
Jose Manuel Soffia, Chief Executive Officer, Energia Andina Chile
Bret Mattes, Chief Executive Officer, Star Energy
Silas Masinde Simiyu, Chief Executive Officer, Geothermal Development Company Kenya
Alexander Richter, Director, Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, Managing Partner,ThinkGeoEnergy
Congress Side Events & Site Visit
5th Dec Green Power Academy Training Course 1 - An Introduction to Geothermal Power Plants & Operations
A Comprehensive 1-day Briefing on Geothermal Technology: Resources, Power Conversions and Operations
5th Dec Direct Heat Workshop and District Heating Site Visit to Milan Facility
Places are now limited
8th Dec Green Power Academy Training Course 2 - An Introduction to Geothermal Economics
A Comprehensive 1-day Briefing on Geothermal Economics: Costs, Risks, Power Markets and Business Case factors
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