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Ireland to get its first geothermal electricity plant?

A developer of geothermal energy resources, GT Energy, has lodged a planning application with South Dublin County Council for Ireland’s first geothermal electricity plant.

If successful the plant is to be erected on a site in Greenogue Business Park in Newcastle, South County Dublin and will generate up to 4 MW of baseload electricity, which will be fed into the national grid.

Although already widely used around the world in countries such as Germany, the US, Iceland, Italy and France, to date no deep geothermal projects have been completed in Ireland.

The Irish Minister for Natural Resources, Conor Lenihan T.D. recently confirmed that the Government is drafting a Geothermal Energy Development Bill, which will allow companies to be licensed so they can explore for - and develop - deep geothermal energy resources.

Commenting on today’s announcement the minister said, “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 €4 billion euro 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.”

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

Padraig Hanly, Managing Director of GT Energy, says the estimated construction cost of the new facility will amount to €30 million euro: “This initial plant is essentially a research and development project and will therefore require higher capital investment than future facilities. As the industry develops in Ireland and further geothermal plants are rolled out across the country, we’d envisage the cost of each plant to be substantially reduced.”

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