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Malcolm Wicks MP
Our ref: TC/621 184 Your ref: ClacOOl/2/sw

1 June 2007

To: Tim Farron MP

Thank you for your letter of 24 May, enclosing correspondence from your constituent, Mr Gresham Clacy, about his report 'Geothermal Implications in the United Kingdom'. I am replying as this matter falls within my portfolio.

There is little I can add to Lord Truscott's letter of 18 May, which sets out the reasons for the Government's current position with regard to the research of geothermal energy in the UK.

However, the Department of Trade and Industry does support the research and development on new and renewable energy through its Technology Programme. The priorities for the Technology Programme are determined by the Department's Technology Strategy Board.

Although geothermal energy is not a priority for research and development, as a renewable energy source, geothermal energy is relevant to the aims of the Department's policies and programmes for renewable energy. Therefore, Mr. Clacy is welcome to submit a proposal to this Programme. Any proposal should focus on innovative technologies offering the prospect of improving the economic attractiveness of renewable energy sources. The Programme does not support commercial projects, nor does it support-site specific feasibility studies for commercial projects.

The Technology Programme is a two-stage, competitive and open application process. Any proposal submitted will be evaluated on its merits and in competition with other proposals. The Department has appointed an independent panel, itself recruited in a fair, open and competitive manner in accordance with the principles of the Nolan process, to advise Department on which proposals to support.

Given that geothermal energy is a not a priority in the Technology Programme, the very competitive nature of the Programme and the fact that there is great competition for the available funding, any proposal will need a compelling case for support. It must clearly demonstrate that the concept has good prospects for eventual economic exploitation and show that the benefits are commensurate with the investment required. The Department will expect that such a case would include firm data and evidence, showing that the reasons for the Department closing its previous significant programme on geothermal research and development are no longer valid.

Further information about the Technology Programme on the DTI's website at:

Best Wishes


Department of Trade and Industry
LG 52 1 Victoria Street London SW1 H 0ET




Our Ref. Clac001/2/ag



Dear Gresham,

Thank you very much for your latest information upon the sterling efforts that you are making to attract the interest of policy makers to the potential of geothermal energy.

I share your frustration that there does not seem to be anyone in authority with the vision to take advantage of your work but we will keep trying.


With best wishes

yours sincerely



23 / 07 / 2007

Comments on a Geothermal study carried out for D.O.E.

I have just finished studying the government report entitled "GEOTHERMAL AQUIFERS Department of Energy R & D Programme 1976-1986". The main study was terminated at around 2000 feet below sea level. The geothermal bore at Southampton is operating at a depth of 1.7 Kms (0,588 of a mile). From then on they have made projections which appear only to assume that the depth beyond this level be homogeneous. Obviously this cannot be so when you consider the volcanic extrusions which have broken surface in this country, as you can see by the answers I have received from the top government sources. These being Lord Truscott and Malcom Wicks. They appear to have written off Geothermal for the production of electricity after only "scratching the surface" (literally). The people who carried out the work for this study are in the Nuclear Industry and the Oil Industry, who (in my opinion) do not even understand what the aims are - only their own selfish dominance of the energy business. I found this was so in the USA. The Oil industry were buying up all the leasable land for geothermal back in the 1970s, usually after following our surveys. A lot of opposition came from the Oil and Nuclear Industries there. At that time I was carrying out surveys across the Western States of that country. The USA has now realised that these earlier efforts were dogged by the oil and nuclear people and has set up a government department to push Geothermal ahead. It is well to understand that, in the USA, more especially in the West, land leases are half owned by the government and half by private enterprise. This should allow the USA government to proceed in these areas, now they have formed a full time Geothermal department .

I feel that, in this country, there should have been an assembled team with only one goal in mind: Geothermal. At least it should have been carried out by some people from the Geothermal Industry of which there were many available at that time throughout the world. The aforementioned report does not appear to have had a properly dedicated team with knowledge of Volcanic and Geothermal matters.

We were all taught in school using diagrams shown in the attached (figure 10, below), that one of the features is the intrusive magmas reaching up through the crust. The cross sections represent the Earth's very hot centre. This hot mantle and nucleus, in conjunction with intrusive magma's activity that reach up to and just below the surface of the Earth, indicates that it is very feasible to have one or more of these magmatic feeds underlying our present surficial volcanic areas. Its longevity is proven because of the length of time that the surface hot springs have been producing hot waters - at least since the Romans were here, and more than likely long before. The heat that is being lost is at the same time being replaced by one or more volcanic intrusive magmas reaching up through our crust. Apparently, Southampton has been utilising hot water from a shallow hole right under that city for at least 20 years. The GEOTHERMAL AQUIFERS report I have referred to has never considered its source for the heat regeneration. This is what I intend to do and I possibly have the skill to do just this. I am carrying on my own personal studies of this massive energy source right under our country.

Interestingly enough, the map in the final stages of the D.O.E. report does not even include Southampton. This report seems to rely a lot on conjecture and homogeneous modelling, but no one has drilled further than 2000ft in this report. However, records show that Monsanto drilled a 13,670 ft deep hole at Seal Sands, Teesside. This hole was probably drilled with only oil in mind. The question has to be asked if, when such a wonderful commodity as Geothermal power was the quest, why did the people involved in this project only drill up to 2000 ft boreholes? I certainly can ask many more questions of the report as above, which does not seem to be very knowledgeable of Geothermal and Volcanic matters.



This is how the earth is represented Internationally by academics to pupils.

Fig 10

Fig 11

Fig 11


Red zones Aseismic Grabens.
Dark zones Densely Clustered Earthquakes
Black dots Single Earthquakes
Yellow shading Highlighting around the zones of interest

It is very noticeable that the deeper earthquakes are in the main clustered under the Welsh Complex. Where the shallower earthquakes are clustered under the Buxton Complex. The lighter coloured earthquakes are the shallower ones, whereas the Deeper ones are indicated by the deeper colours.

The deeper earthquakes under the Welsh Complex probably indicate more dense material at depth with a much deeper magmatic level beneath this denser solidified material. For the Buxton Complex it more than likely suggests the magmatic material at a much shallower depth. This seems to be true for the Cumbrian Complex as well. A less defined area in the Snowdonian Complex is indicated. So at this showing it looks as though the Buxton Complex and the Cumbrian one would be the ones to concentrate on, with a survey carried out in the aseismic zones. Surface to magma level appears to be much greater under the Welsh Complex, and shallower under the Buxton Complex. It will also be shallower under the Cumbrian Complex.

Scientific Objectives

What controls the location of British earthquakes?

The spatial distribution of earthquakes in the British Isles is not random. But the reason why earthquakes are clustered in some parts of the UK and not in others has always been a puzzle. We have recently reviewed the various theories that have been put forward.

Comparing a map of British seismicity with a geological or structural map poses problems. Earthquakes are relatively common in some parts of the country and totally missing from others, and there is no obvious geological explanation. Theories that have been put forward to explain this can be grouped into the following categories: influence of recent tectonic evolution; patterns controlled by deglaciation and isostatic recovery; conjunction of seismicity and zones of major faulting; distribution controlled by upper mantle processes; and patterns of stress interaction.

Most of these suffer from the problem that it is difficult to demonstrate that earthquake activity is controlled by a given factor, and that there are always some mismatches.

An example is the association of earthquakes with zones of major faulting. "Corridors" along the line of major faults in the UK take in most large earthquakes. However, to say that earthquakes are equally likely anywhere along these fault corridors is another matter. Large areas appear to be "suitable" for earthquakes yet remain aseismic.

A promising line of approach is that of stress patterns and the geometry of the crustal blocks that make up the British Isles.

The shape of different structural units determines how they interact when subjected to regional compression. For example, the northward angular point of the Midlands microcraton means it can act somewhat as an indenter under compression from the northwest, but with more seismicity both expected and observed on the western side than the 'protected" eastern side. If the microcraton had a different shape it would interact differently. Aseismic areas may be effectively in the stress shadow of sequences of blocks that are absorbing regional stress.

Ideally a model should be such that one could predict the distribution of seismicity without actually knowing it. In practice this is not likely to be possible because there are too many unknowns. However, this geometric approach to structural interaction does open up the possibility of a kinematic model of UK seismogenesis that should improve future estimates of seismic hazard.


COPIED FROM A B.G.S. REPORT: UK EARTHQUAKE MONITORING 2005/6 Seventeenth annual report Page 21.

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