The project, commissioned by the BGS's parent body the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), follows the Government's 2014 announcement that it would allocate £31 million to create world-class, subsurface energy-research test centres.
The BGS is delivering the research infrastructure and will operate the facilities over their 15-year lifetime.
The BGS has worked with the wider geoscience community to identify two preferred geological locations. The first research field site will be in the Thornton area (Cheshire) and will focus on shale gas and carbon capture and storage (CCS). The second research field site will be in Scotland and will focus on geothermal energy.
The research field sites will allow independent, rigorous and replicable observations of subsurface processes. The UK Geoenergy Observatories will stimulate research on underground energy technologies that will answer vital questions about how they affect the environment through:
- independent monitoring and observing — answering questions on how subsurface energy technologies interact with the environment
- high-quality, scientific evidence — answering questions on new and established energy supply and storage technology, increasing efficiency and environmental sustainability