Households in Wrexham could save up to £600 a year by using heat extracted from water in abandoned mines, says Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru – The Party Of Wales candidate for Clwyd South.
Mabon ap Gwynfor said that the Welsh Government should look to use the heat from water in abandoned mines to heat homes and public buildings or sell to businesses and industry to subsidise the heating of public buildings. Such a move could save some householders up to £600 a year, the average cost for heating a home.
Mabon ap Gwynfor said, “This part of Wales is pock-marked with abandoned mines, including Minera, Brymbo, Bersham, Chirk, Gresford and other communities. Underground temperature can be up to 20 degrees Celsius and water running through abandoned mines could be even higher.
“These mines have thousands of gallons of water flowing through them. There are two techniques to harness this that could be considered. One is to extract this water and circulate it through domestic and industrial buildings, and the other is to pump fresh water through pipes to extract the heat. Either way, the technology is available and used extensively across the world.
“Such a move would save considerably on heating costs – the average cost for heating a house is around £600 – and would contribute significantly to our climate change obligations, after all domestic heating accounts for up to 56% off all energy consumption in the UK.”
Mabon ap Gwynfor referred to successful schemes which were already utilising this technology, such as the National Trust on the Menai Straits near Bangor, or Crynant in Neath. The Crynant project estimates that disused mine waters could provide enough energy to heat 20,000 homes in South Wales alone. Mabon ap Gwynfor also referred to a large-scale pilot project in the Llynfi Valley, in south Wales. The City of Glasgow was also looking to implement a large-scale scheme using abandoned mine water as well, he said.
Mabon ap Gwynfor said: “We have enormous potential right beneath our feet. We could tap into heat and energy, which is currently going to waste, instead of fracking for fossil fuels.
“Sourcing heat from the ground is a well-established technology. We are perfectly placed to take advantage of it to use the resources that we have available. These abandoned mines could be used once again for heating our homes. Austria and others states are moving ahead and are now trialling the harvesting of solar energy from the ground and using it to heat buildings, car parks and other public spaces.
“Many of our communities are relatively deprived, and our incomes are lower than average, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We have ample resources to exploit here to ensure our energy security, and free up cash for people in relatively deprived areas. I have spoken to renowned world leaders in this field who tell me that there are large investors who are interested in working with our communities and Universities to develop such projects. Developing such projects would not only save householders money, but would bring in investment and create jobs in the renewable sector.
“Scotland legislated to allow the extraction of waste water in order to use it. Unfortunately here the law as it stands means that water cannot be taken out of the ground then put back in, because it is considered as contaminated waste. If elected as an Assembly Member for this area, I would look to ensure that this legislation is changed in order to allow our communities to take advantage of what is a wasted resource currently”.