The UK’s first lido to be heated by geothermal energy has opened.
The Jubilee Pool in Penzance, Cornwall uses underground heat to keep the sea water pool at 35°C.
Engineers behind the project said while the pool is the first lido in the UK to be geothermally heated, “the Romans beat us to it by 2000 years in Bath”.
Jubilee Pools boss Nicola Murdoch said the pool will be open all year round, although it may not be possible this winter due to Covid-19 restrictions.
First to swim at the reopened lido were the family of local swimmer and project supporter Joyce Cooper.
Ms Cooper had been at the opening of the lido 85 years ago but died before the project could be completed.
The geothermal pool is the last part of a £1.8m upgrade, partly funded by a community public share offer, in which 1,400 people – 970 of whom are local to the Penzance area – provided £540,000.
The normal capacity of the pool will be 50 people, but under current rules the limit will be 15.
The heating works by extracting warm water from a geothermal well, then transferring that heat to the pool before “re-injecting the cooler water back into the ground”.
Engineers said it is the first of its kind in the UK and will act as “a showcase for geothermal, low carbon heat supply”.
Drilling began in November 2018, but hit a stumbling block in April 2019 when engineers encountered “a zone of very high water flow” at 410m (1,435 ft).
This meant the planned depth of 1,400m (4,594 ft) could not be reached, and additional pumps were required to reach the target temperature.