Southampton City Council50 Years of City Status Stay connected logo

Stay connected

Our free email alerts service will help keep you connected to the things that matter to you.

Choose from a range of topics including:
Events, leisure and culture, library offers and community news,
job alerts, road works, city news and more...

Enter your email address below to get started or to edit your account.


You are here:home > Environment > Energy > Geothermal and CHP scheme

Geothermal and CHP scheme

Southampton's CHP plantA CHP is a Combined Heat and Power station. Since the pioneering launch of the initial geothermal project in 1986, Southampton’s district heating scheme has employed up-to-the-minute technology and a host of ground-breaking features.

Over the years, the most important development has been the addition of the combined heat and power (CHP) generators to the geothermal network. There has also been the addition of a district chilling system.

The Origins

Following the dramatic rise in oil prices in the late 1970s, the Department of Energy set up a research programme looking into the potential for alternative energy sources in the UK. A number of locations were identified as possible sites of deep geothermal aquifers which contain water at a temperature sufficient to provide heating for a number of buildings.

A well was drilled at the centre of Southampton, but the resource was deemed too small by the Department of Energy. However the City Council refused to let the project fail, and found Utilicom as a partner to develop the scheme as the Southampton Geothermal Heating Company (SGHC).



The Quays, Eddie Read Swimming & Diving Complex benefits from heating and chilling supplies.


The two anchor stores of West Quay, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, plus the West Quay developer Hammerson agreed to take heating and chilling supplies. ASDA superstore is also served by the scheme. More recently, IKEA has also signed up to the scheme.


The Holyrood estates’ 300 flats are heated by a 110kW CHP generator and boilers housed on the site. This approach is easy to replicate and other schemes are planned around the city.

Barratt Homes have redeveloped the former Polygon Hotel site into 108 private residential flats and take heat supplied from SGHC. This supply was a first for private housing in the UK and SGHC was chosen not only because of the environmental benefits on offer, but also the significant cost savings compared to laying gas mains and installing boilers and plant.


A number of hotels including the five-star De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel are connected to Southampton’s district heating scheme. The De Vere was also the first customer of the district chilling system.


All of the electrical power from the scheme (26 million kWh) is to be used by Associated British Ports via a private electrical connection to the port.

In addition consumers who are served by the district heating scheme include the Royal South Hants Hospital, Solent University and Carnival offices.

Locally, there has also been an interest from schools. There is a continued international interest in the scheme as it still leads the way in sustainable energy schemes and is also an excellent example of how public and private organisations can work together.

Downloadable documents

Icon Name of file Size Download time
PDF document Operational Guidance for Water Systems 83 KB 0secs @ 2Mbps
PDF document Terms of Reference - Customer Focus Group 12 KB 0secs @ 2Mbps
Powerpoint presentation District Energy Invoice Validation 1846 KB 7secs @ 2Mbps
PDF document Flow and Return Temps - District Heating 321 KB 1secs @ 2Mbps
PDF document A Learning History 1891 KB 7secs @ 2Mbps
PDF document District Energy Plan 2556 KB 10secs @ 2Mbps
PDF document Southampton District Energy Scheme Features 11 KB 0secs @ 2Mbps
PDF document District Energy Scheme 2011 1234 KB 4secs @ 2Mbps
Word document SGHC network facts 2011 24 KB 0secs @ 2Mbps
Binary file Southampton Geothermal Diagram 422 KB 1secs @ 2Mbps
Link to download Adobe Acrobat if required

Related links

Contact information