Minister Eamon Ryan publishes Policy Statement on Geothermal Energy for a Circular Economy
Today, 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.
Geothermal energy is the heat beneath the surface of solid earth. It can be stored heat from the sun, or heat from the Earth's core. It is not only renewable, it is also secure, reliable, and local. It can be used for heating and cooling buildings and generating electricity. Advances in technology, proven over the past decade, mean that geothermal energy can now play a significant role in our transition to a carbon neutral and circular economy.
The publication of the Policy Statement will raise awareness of the exciting potential of this renewable energy and is an important step in addressing the barriers to the development of geothermal energy in Ireland.
Shallow geothermal energy can be accessed all across Ireland and our deeper geothermal resources have recognised potential to decarbonise our buildings and industries. The policy statement reflects an intensive public consultation process, as well as the discussions of the Geothermal Energy Advisory Group. The members of the advisory group are drawn from the environmental, geoscientific, industry and social pillars, as well as government departments and regulators. A Consultation Report is published with the Policy Statement.
The policy aims to promote the sustainable development of Ireland's geothermal resources in support of Ireland's climate action commitments by setting out:
1. The preferred approach to regulation, and
2. The scope of a strategy to promote the sustainable development of Ireland's geothermal resources to decarbonise the heating and cooling of buildings and for industrial uses and power generation.
Commenting on the new Policy Statement, Minster Ryan said:
"This Statement is an important step in addressing the barriers to the development of geothermal energy in Ireland and focusing our attention on its exciting potential. Geothermal energy technologies capture the renewable heat beneath our feet to provide secure and low-carbon heat to our homes, businesses and industries. In the future, high-temperature geothermal energy at depth could even be used to power electricity-generating turbines here in Ireland.
"It's not dependent on weather, season, or time of day—it can be produced around the clock, all year long and it is another powerful way to help us move away from the use of fossil fuels and towards a cleaner energy future. I am grateful to the Geothermal Energy Advisory Group for helping to finalise this policy statement and the commitment of its members to helping develop a strategy for the development of the sector. Continued engagement with the public, community groups and other stakeholders across industry and academia, will be critically important to that strategy."
The Policy Statement acknowledges that the provision of a regulatory framework for geothermal energy projects will not be sufficient for the full development of the geothermal energy sector and maximising its contribution to the decarbonisation of meeting Ireland's heating, cooling and electricity demands. The Department will, in consultation with the Geothermal Energy Advisory Group, develop a strategy for the deployment of geothermal energy. The scope for the strategy set out in the Policy Statement includes examining:
- Metrics and targets for geothermal energy
- Data gathering and research
- Financial incentives
- Knowledge, skills and capacity
- Planning and engagement with Local Authorities
- Information and engagement with the public
- Deployment in publicly funded buildings