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Energy transition and sub-surface events in September

September was busy with events and conferences and saw staff from GeoScience visit or present at a whole host of events relating to the energy transition, from heat pumps to CCS, all over the UK. We caught up with industry news and updates, colleagues and friends and met many people all working towards the energy transition.

SPE Offshore - Aberdeen

Our Geomechanics Manager Nathan Prior and Technical Specialist Alex Cook attended the SPE Offshore Europe at the P&J Live centre in Aberdeen between the 5th -8th September, this year marked its 50th anniversary. The events partnership with The Society of Petroleum Engineers meant that a varied and cross-sector audience were in attendance and the programme offered extensive technical and innovative talks focussing on Carbon Capture technology and digital advances to aid both current and new activities.

Nathan and Alex at SPE Offshore

Nathan Prior and Alex Cook at the SPE Offshore Conference

UK Mining Conference – Falmouth

The UK Mining Conference is now it it’s 4th year. Previously called the Cornwall Mining Conference, the event has grown and now encompasses the whole of the UK industry. The conference was held at the Princess Pavilions in Falmouth on the 13th and 14th of September and is organised by ABMEC and Cornish Lithium, this year the event saw many well-known Cornish mining companies but also attendees from the whole supply chain.

Lucy Cotton and Suzie Doe attended the event and concluded some key messaged from the event; 2026 is gearing up to be an important year for Cornwall and metal production, with the amount of investment and activity currently planned as the UK moves more towards a domestic supply of critical and raw minerals which are essential to the energy transition.

There was a general consensus that the mining industry must come together to take a whole industry approach to develop and grow projects, meaning much more collaboration and cross-sector partnerships including the need for renewable energies to allow process to be as carbon neutral as possible.

Also included in the programme were some great talks from people working in ESG both in industry and academia about how the circular economy and sustainability will and must lie at the heart of this new mining era.

Lucy Cotton and Suzie Doe attending the UK Mining Conference

Planet C Conference – Eden Project

Our Managing Director Peter Ledingham attended the Planet C conference held at the Eden Project on the 27th September. The event was organised by the Cornwall Chambre of Commerce and brought together businesses from a wide range of sectors. This year’s theme was about Business Leadership and how businesses are working to tackle climate change without compromising their ability to deliver.

The conference was very well attended, and the audience was rewarded with high-quality presentations from organisations in Cornwall who are walking the walk and not just talking the talk, demonstrating that positive environmental steps can – and should – be part of business strategy.

There was also a presentation and exhibition material showcasing the work being done to develop a Local Area Energy Plan for Cornwall.

Planet C Conference

Planet C Conference, held at the Eden Project

London Climate Technology Show – ExCel

The London Climate Technology Show was held on the 26th and 27th of September in London, three staff attended the two-day conference and trade show, Lucy Cotton, Suzie Doe and James Batchelor. The theme of the conference was based on incorporating technology to allow companies to achieve net zero goals, whether this be digital technology or deployment of decarbonisation technologies.

There were many big corporations in attendance explaining their net zero targets and how they were looking to reach them, there is still a lot of work to do in terms of reducing carbon emissions through process heating and cooling.

A key focus of the conference was that decarbonisation needs to happen now, but the rate of implementing technology has yet to supersede the targets. Sustainability managers are vital to negotiating that these targets are priority at high level decision making, partly due to customer pressure for companies to be as sustainable as possible.

Lucy Cotton, James Batchelor and Suzie doe at the London Climate Technology Show

Ground Source Heat Pump Association Annual AGM & Conference - Hull

Our GSHP specialist Robin Curtis, GSHPA Council Member and Chair GSHPA Standards Committee spoke at the GSHPA Annual AGM & Conference on the 29th September in Hull.

122 people from various organisations registered to attend the event – a strong indication of the growing interest in GSHPs. It was notable that there were two very knowledgeable and supportive speakers from government, painting a promising future for heat pumps in general. It was also good to see a representative from IGSHPA presenting.

For over twenty years the Association and its forerunners carried out a significant amount of the heavy lifting to get heat pumps recognised and accepted in the UK. An early presentation to government persuaded them of the carbon reduction potential of widespread heat pump adoption which saw GSHPs included in a sequence of microgeneration promotion schemes – culminating in the RHI.

The heat pump industry are now moving into the multiple 10,000 GSHPs installations per year. With the government wanting 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2028, perhaps setting our sights on trying to get to 10% of that, or ~60,000/year is more viable. If a quarter of all new houses (per year) were fitted with GSHPs – that would be the 60,000. Something to set our sights on!

Robin Curtis at the GSHPA conference

Robin Curtis at the GSHPA AGM

All of these events showcased the requirements for collective thinking on how to achieve the ambitious Net Zero targets in the UK, it will require collaboration, innovation and partnerships, and the utilisation of sub-surface resources will be a key component in the future energy mix.

We will be attending a few more events this year including the Geothermal Symposium in London and the EAGE Global Energy Transition Conference in Paris where we hope to see these themes continuing.

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