Geological Survey Ireland launch new Dublin City Geothermal Working Group
Today, Geological Survey Ireland, a division of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, launched the Dublin City Geothermal Working Group at the National Geothermal Energy Summit in TU Dublin's Grangegorman campus. Chaired by Geological Survey Ireland, the new group will unite a diverse group of organisations with the common aim of decarbonising their heating and cooling systems by delivering large geothermal demonstrator projects in the city centre.
The new working group has been welcomed by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan:
"I am delighted to see the establishment of a geothermal working for Dublin city. The joining together of these organisations with the aim to demonstrate best practice in data collection, system design, and efficient investment, will be an example to the rest of Ireland for the potential of geothermal to decarbonise our heating and cooling needs. During a previous visit to TUD I learnt about the potential of the heat beneath of our feet in Dublin City and the potential it has for heating or indeed cooling the campus at Grange Gorman, for example, and further afield, to the Trinity campus and facilities like the Mater or Beaumont Hospitals, and many housing developments in between. This is an exciting opportunity which has greater chance of fast development when expert groups join forces and work together.
Geothermal energy is energy stored in the form of heat beneath the surface of solid Earth. It can be stored heat from the sun, or heat from the Earth's interior. It is not only renewable, it is also secure, reliable, and local. As geothermal equipment is mostly installed underground, geothermal projects also have smaller land footprints than other renewable technologies. It can be used for heating and cooling buildings and generating electricity. Research has shown that Ireland has untapped geothermal resources. Geothermal energy can play a significant role in our transition to a carbon neutral and circular economy, however barriers to widespread uptake have been identified including: lack of deep subsurface information; lack of a robust legislatory framework; lack of awareness of geothermal potential and high upfront cost of large geothermal projects.
Over the past several years, Geological Survey Ireland has been engaging with large heat users in Dublin City, including large university and hospital campuses. These public sector organisations require a renewable source of energy that is secure, economical, and environmentally sound for both new builds and the retrofit of existing buildings (some of historical significance). Given the urban locations of these campuses and small land footprints available, geothermal heat has been identified as the preferred and most viable renewable heating option. The progression to geothermal heating and cooling systems will not only reduce costs and ensure energy security but will also significantly help in achieving Ireland's 2050 emissions targets.
Subsurface data collection programmes will be required to de-risk large-scale geothermal projects in Dublin City; logistically these exercises will be complex and require cooperation between multiple organisations. Geological Survey Ireland host and maintain the National Geothermal Database, a critical component of the National Geothermal Strategy. As such, the Geological Survey is ideally positioned to chair this Working Group to assist with technical expertise where possible, to make any collected data publicly available and to facilitate knowledge transfer between members and the general public.
The new group consists of public sector experts in the areas of district heating, geothermal energy, procurement, and the financing, management and delivery of large infrastructure and energy projects. Some of the members have already completed successful geothermal installations, while others are at the more exploratory stage of geothermal development. The membership contains valuable expertise relevant to large-scale urban geothermal projects including representatives from:
• Geological Survey Ireland (DECC)
• Dublin City Council
• TU Dublin
• Grangegorman Development Agency
• Trinity College Dublin
• Mater Hospital
• St. James' Hospital
• Carbon Energy Fund Ireland
DECC are taking steps to address the barriers to the uptake of geothermal energy. In July of this year the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, published the Policy Statement on Geothermal Energy for a Circular Economy. The Statement delivers on the Roadmap for Geothermal Energy published in November 2020 and is an action in the Climate Action Plan 2023. The publication of the Policy Statement has raised awareness of the exciting potential of this renewable energy form and is an important step in addressing the barriers to the development of geothermal energy in Ireland. The Policy Statement, the development of a national geothermal strategy and geothermal opportunities in relation to district heating and the Just Transition will all be discussed at the National Geothermal Energy Summit today.
More information on Geological Survey Ireland's Geothermal Programme can be found here.
From Tuesday to Thursday, 10 - 12, October, 2023, Geological Survey Ireland will host a number of geothermal events, including a workshop and geothermal field trip.
Geothermal week 2023 will be centred around the second National Geothermal Energy Summit, which will be on Wednesday, 11 October, hosted at TU Dublin's Grangegorman Campus. The event will bring together a diverse, multi-disciplinary group for a series of panels on the latest developments in Irish geothermal energy.
Ireland has the potential geothermal resources to assist in the decarbonisation of the heating sector, but they are underdeveloped at present. Improved understanding of what lies beneath the surface of Ireland, and the development of new technologies, will make it possible to harvest natural heat, and clear a pathway to secure and clean energy systems.
The summit will create space for people from policy, industry, and research to discuss the vision for the future of geothermal energy in Ireland.
Invited speakers will explore the following themes:
Irelands new Geothermal Policy statement, which you can access here.
District Heating and Geothermal Energy.
Decarbonising public sector spaces with Geothermal Heat.
Geothermal Energy and the Just Transition
These events are invitation-only. Presentations will be made available on this website after Geothermal Week.