The Scottish government awarded £234,000 to conduct feasibility studies at five geothermal heating project sites. The exploration will take place in in Fife, West Lothian, North Lanarkshire and Aberdeenshire. The studies will assess geology, costs, environmental impact and overall heating potential within each site.
Heat is estimated to account for over half of Scotland’s total energy use and is responsible for nearly half of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent study commissioned by the government, geothermal energy could significantly cut the estimated £2.6 billion a year spent on heating by householders and the non-domestic sector.
“Heat is estimated to account for over half of Scotland’s total energy use and is responsible for nearly half of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions, so it makes sense that we explore and grow technologies such as geothermal energy,” said Scotland Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. “These projects will help improve our understanding of this renewable energy source and the contribution it can make to helping Scotland reduce its carbon emissions.”
The awards were given via the Scottish Government’s Geothermal Energy Challenge Fund, supported by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Fund, the first strategic intervention established under the new European Structural Funds Program. This marks the first support for geothermal projects in Scotland since a 2012-2013 study, which identified significant potential for geothermal heat as a renewable heat source.
“To meet Scotland’s ambitious renewable heat target we will need to see geothermal projects, biomass boilers, solar thermal systems, heat pumps and other renewable technology become much more commonplace across the country,” said Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables. “Our geothermal resource remains largely untapped, and we welcome developments which could see this green energy source harnessed to bring affordable warmth to Scotland’s homes and businesses.”