Burges Salmon advises financial sponsor of Eden’s ground-breaking geothermal project

The firm has advised on the financing that sees The Eden Project and EGS Energy Limited announce £16.8m funding to drill the first well for their pioneering geothermal heat and power project

14 October 2019

A multi-disciplinary team from Burges Salmon has provided a wide range of legal advice to the financial sponsor of this project. Led by the firm’s Banking team, the firm has advised on the corporate arrangements, the interface between the institutional funding and the public funding and associated state aid advice, the proposed project documentation approach and the land arrangements. The firm’s teams played a key role in structuring and negotiating bespoke arrangements with the Government to unlock the public funding for this landmark project.

The £16.8 million has been secured from a mixture of public and private sources. Cornwall’s final round of EU funding, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has contributed £9.9m. Cornwall Council has put in £1.4m, with Burges Salmon’s client delivering the matched funding for the ERDF grant. The EU (ERDF) funding is administered by the UK Government’s Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

After a ten-year campaign to bring the clean, green technology to Cornwall, the funding will enable the partners to start drilling on Eden’s site next summer. Eden Co-founder Sir Tim Smit says that securing funds and thereby the chance to spark an energy revolution amounts to the biggest leap forward for Eden since it opened in a former clay quarry near St Austell in 2001.

The £16.8 million will pay for the first phase of the project - drilling one well, a research programme and a heat main, to prove the extent of the resource 4.5km down in the granite that lies beneath the Eden site. This first well will initially supply a district heating system for Eden’s Biomes, offices and greenhouses. It will pave the way for the second phase - another 4.5km well and an electricity plant. Completing the second phase will mean that Eden will be generating sufficient renewable energy to become carbon positive by 2023 as well as aiming to be able to provide heat and power for the local area.

The Burges Salmon team was led by partner Nathan Curtis, director Victoria Allsopp and solicitor Ranvir Singh.

Victoria comments: “This is a really interesting transaction that we’re proud to be involved with. As Sir Tim puts it, ‘Geothermal will be a game changer for Eden, Cornwall and the UK’, so we are pleased to have been able to offer a wide range of legal advice from across the firm, which has contributed to this ten-year dream coming true.”

Gus Grand, Director of Eden Geothermal Limited, who has led Eden’s geothermal project for the last seven years, adds: “It has been a long and involved project and the Burges Salmon team have been terrific to work with: always swift to come up with elegant solutions across a wide range of issues.”

Key contact

Nathan Curtis

Nathan Curtis Partner

  • Banking
  • Projects 
  • Energy, Power and Utilities

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