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Irish firms join forces in geothermal energy development

Shallow geothermal/ water drilling rig - not related to story (source: A & E Dunne Drilling, Kildare/ Ireland)
Alexander Richter 3 Jun 2010

In Ireland, ESB International and GT Energy join forces to develop systems for generating electricity from geothermal energy. Plans aim at development of up to 50MW electricity generating capacity.

Reported from Ireland, “ESB International (ESBI) plans to join with GT Energy to develop systems for generating electricity from geothermal energy – heat generated under the ground.

Under the deal’s terms, GT will generate up to 50 megawatts (MW) of electricity – enough to power about 50,000 homes – at Irish sites it has identified.

ESBI will assist with the design of the generating equipment and with connecting it to the national grid which transmits electricity from generators to customers. The pair believe they will reach the 50MW target by 2020.

Last month GT Energy raised €1 million from investors in a fund-raising managed by stockbroker NCB. At the same time it got some €600,000 in grants from Ballymena Borough Council in Co Antrim. The investors will receive a minority stake in the company. The grant was given to support its work on developing a district heating system for Ballymena.

GT managing director Pádraig Hanly welcomed the ESBI deal at the weekend.

“Their technical expertise and experience in the area of electricity generation, plant construction, grid connection and knowledge of the single electricity market will be highly valuable to us and will complement our team’s broad experience of identifying, analysing and developing deep geothermal energy projects.”

Geothermal energy is energy generated by hot water and steam deep beneath the earth’s surface. The energy is trapped and then used to generate electricity. Suitable sources of this energy are identified through geological and seismic surveys. This is followed by drilling up to 5km below the surface to tap into the source.

GT Energy is an Irish company which is working on geothermal projects in Ireland and in Europe.

ESBI is a subsidiary of State-owned ESB and provides engineering and consulting services.”

Source: Irish Times