Moving From “Doing to” to “Doing With”: Community Participation in Geoenergy Solutions for Net Zero—The Case of Minewater Geothermal



Roberts JJ, Gooding L, Ford R & Dickie J (2023) Moving From “Doing to” to “Doing With”: Community Participation in Geoenergy Solutions for Net Zero—The Case of Minewater Geothermal. Earth Science, Systems and Society, 3, Art. No.: 10071.

Low carbon geoenergy technologies are anticipated to occupy a range of roles in the transition to a net zero carbon future, and there is growing acknowledgment and awareness of the importance of societal considerations and community participation in the development and implementation of such technologies. Here, we use the example of minewater geothermal to explore the potential to enhance societal benefits of energy transition developments. Minewater geothermal uses the water in abandoned and flooded coal mines to provide low carbon heating and cooling of homes and businesses and thermal energy storage. Many towns and cities worldwide have potential minewater geothermal resource, offering significant potential for technology scale up, and there are a number of projects in development and operation. We outline how such projects could occupy a role beyond technological implementation given factors including the local dimension of the resource, together with its links with a community’s mining and cultural history, and social, political and environmental impacts of coal mine abandonment. We argue that working with communities to deliver these projects is paramount, and outline five key principles and recommendations for community participation to ensure a fair and sustainable net zero transition. While tailored to minewater geothermal projects, the nuances of these recommendations are relevant to other geoenergy developments.

public participation; decision making; just transition; sustainable geoscience; local energy; public engagement

Earth Science, Systems and Society: Volume 3

Publication date31/05/2023
Publication date online31/05/2023
Date accepted by journal28/03/2023
PublisherFrontiers Media SA

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Dr Jennifer Dickie

Dr Jennifer Dickie

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences

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HotScot Seedcorn