Geothermal part of New Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland

Geothermal  part of New Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland Geothermal Map of Northern Ireland (source: GSNI)
Alexander Richter 18 Dec 2021

The government of Northern Ireland has released a New Energy Strategy that puts a strong emphasis on geothermal energy.

In a new Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland, the executive brings forward a path to net zero energy, while putting affordability “front and centre of this strategy.”

“Rising energy bills, driven by our continued reliance on fossil fuels, will have a devastating impact on the affordability of energy for consumers. This Energy Strategy will see us reduce the energy we use by investing in energy efficiency and take advantage of our natural resources to generate clean energy. Our overall goal is to achieve net zero carbon and affordable energy for all, which will end the price volatility associated with fossil fuels and ensure that more of the money.”, so Gordon Lyons, MLA, Minister for the Economy.

The strategy is being described as fantastic news for geothermal energy, so Joseph Ireland, Geothermal Energy Researcher at QUADRAT DTP in a post on LinkedIn.

The report points out that “To develop opportunities for heat networks we will assess potential solutions to decarbonise existing heat networks. We will take forward heat network trials and demonstrators, using a range of energy sources including geothermal energy and, where feasible, waste heat. ”

Under the strategy, the government of Northern Ireland  has established a Geothermal Advisory Committee to provide advice and guidance on the availability of geothermal energy to heat our buildings. The Geological Survey of Northern Ireland have published a geothermal heat map alongside the strategy which will allow developers and planners to determine if a location is suitable for geothermal heating and/or cooling.”

The geothermal documents released by the Geological Survey for Northern Ireland (GSNI):

GSNI- NI Geothermal Energy Summary for GAC 2021_report.pdf
GSNI- NI Geothermal Energy Summary for GAC 2021_annex 1.pdf

“Based on current understanding of the potential for geothermal across Northern Ireland as outlined in the report (Geothermal Energy Summary for the National  Strategy document), a number of recommendations can be made that would further quantify and de-risk the subsurface risk.”, so t he  GSNI in its geothermal documentation.

It recommends:

  • Programme of Geothermal Exploration and Research  – of which it recommends the creation of a Geothermal Database and viewer (similar to those of Germany or Denmark), a Research programme for deeper prospects including lab analysis and modelling studies; and physical exploration programme involving exploration drilling and surveying.
  • Geothermal Trials and Demonstrators
  • Mapping of Geothermal Potential

GSNI  identifies geothermal resources based on shallow geothermal resources (incl. heat pumps, aquifer based resources, mine water etc.) and deep geothermal (hot sedimentary aquifers, hot dry rock/ EGS).

Find the strategy document for Northern Ireland here (pdf).