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Geothermal centre study approved

Date 15 Jun 2007
Author The Editor
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Plans to create a £10m geothermal research institute in County Durham have been boosted with the launch of a feasibility study. Easington Council has agreed to contribute £35,000 towards the plans, which could lead to the GREAT (Geothermal Research Education and Training) institute being built at Hawthorn Business Park.

The centre would look at the potential of harnessing heat stored within the Earth, and could create 300 jobs. It follows a feasibility study in 2006 which found that the district's unique geology combined with expertise from Newcastle and Northumbria Universities made Easington an ideal site. The new study is expected to cost up to £250,000 with additional funding from English Partnerships, Newcastle University and One NorthEast.

Peter Coe, the council's head of regeneration and partnerships, said: "Some locations lend themselves more readily than others to this type of technology. We need to demonstrate why the facility would be most appropriately located in Easington and nowhere else and, hopefully, the feasibility study will do that."

The study will be accompanied by a public consultation exercise. If eventually approved, GREAT could be up and running within five years, according to the council. Further information on the GREAT Institute can be found at www.ncl.ac.uk/environment/research/HEROGREATInstitute.htm

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