Publication - Independent report

Potential for deep geothermal energy in Scotland: study volume 1

Published: 13 Nov 2013

This independent study investigates the potential for deep geothermal energy in Scotland and the steps necessary for commercialisation.

Potential for deep geothermal energy in Scotland: study volume 1
9 Key Next Steps for Developing Deep Geothermal in Scotland

9 Key Next Steps for Developing Deep Geothermal in Scotland

9.1 Key Actions

A progressive and phased approach to developing Scotland's geothermal resources has been recommended to build market confidence, reduce costs, and thereby encourage private investment.

It is anticipated that a Vision Statement will present a progressive approach to developing Scotland's geothermal resources with targets for the short, medium and longer term.

Key actions have been identified that are currently required to advance the development and commercialisation of deep geothermal energy sector in Scotland. These are based on the key recommendations of this report.

The key actions identified are summarised in Table 9.1.

Table 9.1 - Key Actions for Deep Geothermal Energy in Scotland

Ref: Key Action: Action By: Recommended / Anticipated Timescale:
1 National Geothermal Energy Vision Statement and Strategy for Scotland SG 2013/14
2 Geothermal Demonstrator Projects
a. Initial Demonstrator Project (Heat Only) SG, LA's & PD's 2014-2016
b. Deep Demonstrator Projects (Heat and Electricity Generation) SG, LA's & PD's 2018+
3 National Geothermal Exploration Programme
a. Creation of a National Geothermal Database SG & BGS 2014
b. Research programme for deeper prospects SG & BGS 2014-2017
c. Physical exploration programme SG & BGS 2016-2018+
4 Resource Ownership & Licensing
a. Interim control of geothermal developments: amendment of Planning Advice to control through Development Control ( EIA). SG, PA's & SEPA 2013/14
b. Liaison with DECC about establishing legal ownership and introduction of a licensing system either as UK priority or how this can be undertaken unilaterally by the Scottish Government. SG & DECC 2013/14
c. Review of potential political opportunities and timescales for introduction of proposed potential interim amendment of existing legislation (exploration and development phase) and new legislation for geothermal licensing (production phase). SG & DECC 2013/14
d. Introduce 'Geothermal Energy Act', to claim ownership of geothermal resources and implement a licensing system SG or DECC 2018-2020?
5 Environmental Regulation
a. Detailed specific Regulatory Guidance document for deep geothermal development to be produced. SEPA 2013/14
b. Consideration of whether the existing CAR GBR's are appropriate to future larger-scale geothermal developments which may be abstracting and re-injecting large volumes of water. SEPA 2013
c. Clarification of what constitutes groundwater heating (or cooling) pollution in relation to geothermal developments. SEPA 2013
6 Planning Policy
a. Consideration of specifically including geothermal energy at national planning policy level in the revised SPP and inclusion of a statement on a presumption favour of geothermal developments. SG 2013
b. Inclusion of geothermal energy is specifically included in NPF3. SG 2013
c. It is recommended that supplementary specific planning guidance ( SPG) for deep geothermal energy should be developed. SG 2013
d. Inclusion of policies on geothermal energy are adopted by Planning Authorities in the next review of their Structure Plans, Strategic Development Plans and Local Plans. PA's Various (ongoing cycle)
e. Provision of spatial distribution of deep geothermal resources to Planning Authorities, so that it they can be combined with heat demand (identified from heat mapping) and so the two can be linked. SG & PA's 2013
f. Consideration of allied policies compelling certain types of new-build development e.g. to install district heating systems and incentivise inclusion of geothermal energy as part of the heat source. SG & PA's 2013/14
7 Costs and Financing
a. The level of support for deep geothermal should be increased to 4 - 5 ROC (or equivalent FiT level). SG & DECC 2014
b. Creation of a deep geothermal support fund for projects in Scotland. SG 2014-2029
c. Investigation of how SG can offer some form of exploration risk insurance either directly or through other institution(s). SG & / or GIB 2013-2014


SG = The Scottish Government
DECC = Department for Energy and Climate Change
LA's / PA's = Local / Planning Authorities
SEPA = Scottish Environment Protection Agency
BGS = The British Geological Survey
GIB = Green Investment Bank
PD's = Private Developers