Acceptance Speech at the Heriot-Watt Scottish Energy News Researcher of the Year Awards

I am absolutely delighted to accept the Energy Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Award. This is an especially meaningful recognition as it comes in part from a prestigious academic institution and is a recognition of both scientific and entrepreneurial achievements.

The support for me and my company, Town Rock Energy – which is developing into Scotland’s first geothermal energy company – is hugely appreciated. Geothermal energy has historically been neglected and under looked as an energy source as it is expensive to install and poorly understood by decision makers. Now though, due to the urgent need to reduce global carbon emissions whilst developing long term sustainable energy sources, it is time to develop and accelerate development of geothermal energy projects in Scotland and globally.

Acceptance speech

The main reason geothermal energy has hardly been developed in the UK to date is due to the fact that it is very difficult to generate electricity from. However there has been way too much focus on electricity, as it only accounts for about 20% of our energy consumption, whereas heating our homes accounts for more than 50%. Geothermal resources provide the lowest carbon source of heat that can be input into a district heating network, and also the cheapest over a 25 year timescale. A system is very likely to last for more than 50 years, and so will generate a very healthy return on investment over this period.

As the UK government has announced, let this decade be the “Decade of Renewable Heat”, and let us develop geothermal energy as an integral part of the energy mix that will drive Scotland forward as a global demonstrator of carbon neutrality.

GIB and Fergus Ewing

One last point: the UK governments Renewable Heat Incentive provides useful feed-in tariffs for all of the renewable heat technologies, and yet biomass installations have accounted for more than 90% of applications since it began in 2012. Biomass on the scale it is now being developwd is not a sustainable or local energy source in the UK. It also releases plenty of carbon emissions which are at best sequestered over a 15 year timescale. Therefore biomass is not a sustainable energy solution in the UK. And so as an open statement to “the biomass industry”: please think outside the box a little more with regards to energy and emissions before you keep burning increasing quantities of carbon rich fuels. Thank you.

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David Townsend
Founder and Managing Director
favicon_16x16 Town Rock Energy

twiiter_ico @Town_Rock

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