Company set to build Ireland's first geothermal electricity plant

An energy company's applied for planning permission to build the country's first geothermal electricity plant.

GT Energy is behind the €30m project, details of which have been submitted to South Dublin County Council.

The company says the plant would provide heat and electricity for the equivalent of 8,000 three-bedroomed homes, with considerable benefits for the environment.

The first phases of the Dublin plant’s construction will involve the drilling and testing of the required wells followed by the design and construction of the facility.

Subject to the required planning, licensing, legislation and REFITs being in place, drilling of the wells will commence in early 2011 and the plant is scheduled to be operational and connected to the national grid in late 2012.

“This plant represents a historic milestone both for Ireland and for our company, GT Energy, as it will be the first facility of its kind in Ireland and will bring on stream a new renewable energy source, which can contribute significantly to Ireland’s Renewable Action Plan and energy targets,” said GT Energy managing director Padraig Hanly.

“Our vision is to develop a significant number of geothermal energy projects in towns and cities across Ireland in the future, which would not only have considerable environmental benefits for Ireland but also create a significant new industry in the country.

“Geothermal energy could also provide both electricity and heat to large commercial energy users such a universities, public buildings and industrial complexes and our ambition is to make it an essential component of Ireland’s renewable energy mix.”

The Minister for Natural Resources, Conor Lenihan T.D. recently confirmed that the Government is drafting a Geothermal Energy Development Bill, which will allow licensing of companies to explore for and develop deep geothermal energy resources.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Minister for Natural Resources Conor Lenihan said: “I believe geothermal energy holds significant potential Ireland and could develop into a new and exciting sector within the sustainable energy area.

“The ever-increasing urgency to develop new sources of renewable energy has in recent years seen rapid growth in the use of geothermal energy in other countries, for example in Germany, where the industry is worth in excess of €4bn and over 150 geothermal projects are currently in development.

“I, and the Government, are fully committed to facilitating the dynamic progression of this exciting technology in the future.”

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