Researchers look for public opinions on geothermal project in Cornwall

Researchers at the University of Plymouth are looking for people and organisations in West Cornwall willing to offer their opinions on a new energy project being launched in the area.

The United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project (UDDGP), funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Cornwall Council, will explore if geothermal technology can produce commercial energy in the UK.

With drilling work about to begin on the site near Redruth, the University’s Sustainable Earth Institute is launching independent research into people’s perception of this new technology and what it could ultimately bring to their neighbourhood.

Through focus groups, interviews and surveys, they will compile a summary that will be sent to the company leading the project – Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) – as well as Cornwall Council and the residents themselves.

The first element of the research is looking for residents in Redruth, Carharrack, St Day, Frogpool and Twelveheads and is being led by PhD student Francesca Tirotto. She will be studying people’s perceptions of geothermal energy from a psychosocial point of view.

Over the coming months a second project will be led by Dr Hazel Gibson, Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Public Perception of Geothermal Power. She will be conducting a series of surveys and interviews throughout Cornwall looking at how people think and talk about geothermal power.

Dr Gibson said:

“With work about to start, people are soon going to be seeing a lot of activity around United Downs. But our interest is in how they feel about that, and what they understand about the project and how it impacts on their communities. There may be some, for example, who say this is an extension of Cornwall’s proud industrial heritage, while others have environmental concerns, but we want to hear all thoughts and opinions.”

The researchers are interested in hearing from adults of all ages (over 18), whether or not they have any awareness of geothermal power.

United Downs Deep Geothermal Power

The United Downs Geothermal Power project (UDDGP) is an innovative multi-partner, cross-disciplinary endeavour to explore if geothermal technology can produce commercial energy in the UK. The project will run for three years and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Researchers from geology, psychology and sociology at the University of Plymouth will undertake research relating to the public perception and communication of geothermal power, geothermal technologies and the subsurface environment.

Find out more about the project

Sustainable Earth Institute

The Sustainable Earth Institute is about promoting a new way of thinking about the future of our world.

We bring researchers together with businesses, community groups and individuals to develop cutting-edge research and innovative approaches that build resilience to global challenges. We link diverse research areas across the University including science, engineering, arts, humanities, health and business.

Find out more about our Institute