A lido that was set to become the UK’s first to be warmed using geothermal energy will need extra heating due to drilling problems.
Engineers were hoping to reach water of 35C deep underground to heat the Jubilee Pool in Penzance, Cornwall.
But the project encountered problems 0.4km (0.25 miles) down as “a zone of very high water flow” raised dangers of well collapse and stopped them going deeper.
Engineers had planned to drill 1.4km (0.8 miles) below the surface to reach temperatures of up to 35C (95F).
“We understand this delay to geothermal opening is far from ideal but wanted to do all we could to get the existing pool and other amenities reopened over summer for the community to enjoy,” said chief operations officer Abbie Cranage.
The seafront Jubilee Pool, is still set to reopen for the Summer holidays 2019 as its massive £1.8M building project draws closer to completion. The charitable community social enterprise that runs the pool , said: “Having raised over £526K from its geothermal community share offer in just a few months during Summer 2018, building work is progressing to ensure the facilities reopen in time for this year’s summer school break.
“Jubilee Pool have been working closely with Geothermal Energy Limited (GEL, who own and operate the geothermal well next to the pool) to align their deadlines despite complexities caused by the innovative and large project.
“Drilling of the production well was successful, reaching heat of 30 degrees Celsius. GEL had originally planned to drill deeper for higher temperatures, however encountered a zone of very high water flow at 410m below the ground. Given the risks of drilling further and potential well collapse, their geothermal team decided to stop drilling and make best use of the hot water zone.
“In order for the pool to be adequately heated during the cooler months, GEL have agreed to install additional sustainable heat umps at their cost to top up the heat supply to the pool. GEL’s additional pumps have added complexities including a tender process for their installation and associated power upgrade. The tender process has now been completed but sadly, this has caused delays beyond Jubilee Pool’s control as GEL have worked tirelessly to resolve matters.”
Jubilee Pool will begin opening the existing pool from 6th July, with hours increasing fully from 27 th July for the school holidays. The new café and community space are also set to reopen. The pool will be publishing a range of activities and summer events shortly, including a reopening party fun day on 27 th July and associated entertainment.
Despite the delays, the project hopes to bring visitors all year around to Cornwall and be the catalyst for regeneration of Penzance. From November the pool will be open 12 months a year providing geothermal and main pool swims. The new facilities are creating seven new permanent jobs as well as a host of other seasonal opportunities.
Abbie Cranage said “this project is a massive win for Penzance and we really think it will boost the local economy. We are also really excited to hear that the national cycling tour will also start from Penzance Prom next year and this area will undergo resurfacing and refurbishment.
“We thank people for their patience whilst we finalise this massive construction project and look forward to reopening our gates again to our customers in July.”