Skip to content

Norfolk clean energy pioneers enlist three-star general who shifted MoD’s stance on climate change

Norfolk clean energy pioneer CeraPhi Energy has recruited the much-decorated military leader who changed the Ministry of Defence’s approach to climate change to its crusade.
Chair Photo 1.1 (002)
Lieutenant General Richard Nugee has takes a seat on CeraPhi’s advisory board. Picture: CeraPhi

Lieutenant General Richard Nugee, the retired three-star general who wrote the report that changed the MoD’s stance on sustainability across the armed forces, has joined the Great Yarmouth-based business as its global strategist. 

The retired Chief of the Defence People, and one of the army’s most senior officers, takes a seat on CeraPhi’s advisory board and will champion the business, a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, as an employer for military leavers. 

CeraPhi, with bases in Houston, Texas, London and Cornwall, is championing drawing the heat from beneath our feet for industrial scale heat, cooling and power projects. Reusing old oil and gas wells to draw up heat from the earth’s core by its patented technology to use to heat, cool and power nearby communities, industry and agriculture projects is key to its ethos. 

Lt General Richard Nugee, decorated for his service in Afghanistan and author of the MoD’s Climate Change and Sustainability Strategic Approach, will head to Great Yarmouth for the first time next month for the business’ strategy day. 

He said: “CeraPhi’s mission and the deep geothermal solution is really appealing with huge potential. We need to persuade the government and industry, particularly energy hungry industry, what the geothermal offer is.” 

CeraPhi, which started in Great Yarmouth more than a year ago by a team of highly experienced former oil and gas engineers, is driving deep geothermal projects using its proprietary closed loop technology across the world. It has a total of nearly 1.2GW of heat, cooling and power projects under development and more than 1.8 GW under appraisal. 

Lt General Nugee, appointed Non-Executive Director for Climate Change in Defence last March after retiring from a 36-year military career, now focuses on driving climate change strategy and sustainability activities. 

His support for deep geothermal is rooted in its potential for delivering reliable baseload energy for heating, cooling and electricity that, unlike wind and solar, is not dependent on weather. It is crucial to the future global renewable energy mix, he said. 

“By 2050, we will need at least five times more renewable energy than we need now. How are we going to do it? Solar panels and wind can’t achieve it all, nor can nuclear. None of the solutions will be sufficient in their own right, so what is there? 

“Deep geothermal is a solution that can be taken all around the world. Once it is drilled, it is there forever. When one drilling can heat 20,000 homes, a town would need just two wells drilled to bring up enough heat indefinitely.” 

His work on the Climate Change and Sustainability Review Lead in Defence document during the pandemic outlined why the Armed Forces needed to adapt to a warming world and become more sustainable. His work shifted the MoD’s stance on cutting emissions and sustainability measures. 

“We may well run out of electricity in 2035 unless we do something. We have got 10 years to put in enough wells to be able to be part of the mix to create renewable green energy and that part of the mix isn’t just going to be deep geothermal, we need much more energy, and we need more of it to be renewable. There is a massive task here. 

“We need to get the message across to industrial users that we can produce 5MW from every single drilling and it will be eternal. 

“Its potential domestic application means, for example where I live, with a population of 31,000, just two wells could provide all the electricity for homes, our industry, enterprise zones and all our community needs. 

“After the upfront cost, this could service all our electricity needs, completely independently.” 

Karl Farrow, CeraPhi Energy CEO, said: “Richard shares our values and will help shape and develop our strategy.

“Richard is dedicated to making change and recognised that, not only does CeraPhi have the mission to make change, we have the technology and expertise and the commitment and drive.” 

Lt General Nugee, is a Member of the British Empire (MBE), Commander of the British Empire (CBE), Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO), and Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB). He was awarded the US Legion of Merit for his services in Afghanistan.