I have a small (40acre) livestock farm near Helston. There is currently a planning application for a geothermal power plant on adjoining land, just like the one recently approved at Penhallow.

I have no connection with the company involved but I am supportive of their plans which I feel should be of great interest to farmers.

Cornwall is exceptionally blessed with geothermal resource so it seems reasonable to expect several such proposals in coming years, across the south west region, especially Cornwall and Devon.

Geothermal power plants offer many opportunities for local farms, the closer to the plant the better.

The plant will generate 4MW electricity, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, enough for about 11,000 houses.

For local farmers however, there is a huge opportunity as, in addition to the electricity, 20MW of zero-carbon heat output is available for a wide range of applications.

Basically, any business/process that typically requires a large heat energy input - greenhouses, space heating, fish farming, timber drying, pasteurisation, chilling or even an outdoor spa pool for tourists are just a few of the possibilities. All with zero-carbon and stable energy pricing.

We have several small renewable projects on the farm including a wind turbine, solar PV on the farm shed, solar thermal hot water and so on. We are supportive of the Cornwall net zero mission but are not exactly 'hair-shirt' environmentalists - there can be no sustainability without profitability.

I like the geothermal plant as, when completed, it will look just like an ordinary timber-clad agricultural shed (25 x 50m) as found on almost every farm in Cornwall.

The whole site will be just two acres but with a 14,000 tonne annual carbon saving, equivalent to a 150 acre solar farm, or a sizeable 12MW (six x 2MW) wind farm like the one at Goonhilly Downs.

Drilling two wells to three km and five km will involve a construction site in our midst for a year but that seems a small amount of disruption to tolerate for the opportunities.

I hope any farmers that see a similar proposal near them will be excited by the potential.

The heat can be transported a few kilometres from the plant, but obviously the closer the better, as there is less install cost and fewer wayleaves to organise.

Tim Fern