With holes already drilled deep into the ground and water already naturally filled tunnels and chambers, abandoned coal mines are perfect candidates to be converted into a geothermal power plant. Water naturally heated by the Earth’s core below ground is a source of geothermal energy with great potential, being able to provide both low carbon heating and clean energy storage. In addition, heat pumps can use the extracted energy to both warm and cool buildings. The idea of converting coal mines into a clean energy generating plant isn’t a new idea, but engineers in Canada and several European countries are now considering underground water as an underutilized resource. It is estimated that in the U.K, one quarter of homes lie above coal fields, and there has been studies examining the possibility of benefiting from specific mines across Canada. Even though this idea will not work everywhere and the cost of piping and pumping is high, the cost of operation is low, it is carbon-free, and it could help communities that suffered financially when some coal mines were shut down. “This could be an opportunity for the mines to give back in the form of clean energy for the future.”

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