Geothermal heating pilot project in Ireland to start sometime this year

Alexander Richter 13 Feb 2010

Ireland could see its first geothermal energy project in Newcastle, South Dublin within two years driven by GT Energy.

Reported from Ireland, geothermal energy could soon be used to “power homes, businesses and public buildings in south Dublin within two years under Ireland’s first geothermal energy project.

A pilot geothermal project in Newcastle, Co Dublin, is to get under way within months and when completed could provide up to 25 per cent of the south Dublin local authority area’s energy needs.

As details emerged yesterday, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources said the main points of legislation that would enable the development of the geothermal industry nationally would be completed within weeks.

The Bill will deal with issues such as ownership of the resource, regulation and licensing of exploration and development, ancillary rights and protection of third-party interests. While the heads of the Bill will be drafted by the end of this month, no date has been set to implement the legislation.

Extracting geothermal energy involves drilling bore holes to a depth of 4km and pumping hot water from reservoirs in wells at the base to the surface. The hot water is then circulated through a heat exchanger where the heat is harnessed and transferred to the district heating network.

Connected users, such as homes and businesses, access the energy through a heat exchanger. One key advantage of geothermal energy is that it can supply heat at a constant rate and is not subject to variables such as weather.

Pádraig Hanly, managing director of GT Energy which is undertaking the Newcastle project with the assistance of Sustainable Energy Ireland, said geothermal energy offered huge potential for the whole country.

“Heat from the Earth’s core is constantly radiating out into the atmosphere and being wasted . . . This is a real opportunity for us to harness that resource and get away from importing so much fuel.”

The company hoped to be drilling a hole of up to 4km depth at Newcastle within the next six months, Mr Hanly said, and have the first customers connected in two years. It could be extended out to the whole south Dublin area within the next 10 years, he added.”

Source: Irish Times