Northern Ireland’s potential for geothermal energy projects is to be explored by a group of businesses including a subsidiary of Newry fit-out group MJM.
MJM Renewables is joining Geothermal Engineering, Queen’s University, Belfast and consultants Arup to look at projects to bring 100% renewable energy to homes and businesses.
Geothermal is a form of clean energy which uses natural heat underneath the ground to heat fresh water and create steam which can then be used to produce green electricity.
A spokesman for new venture Geothermal NI said it would bring its first projects forward next year.
He said the energy source “has already been proven in the UK and is used widely in countries like New Zealand, Iceland and Germany”.
The spokesman said Northern Ireland had the geology to harness geothermal energy sources, with geothermal cited in the new energy strategy for its potential future role.
The Department for the Economy has also set up a geothermal advisory committee.
Naoimh McConville, director of MJM Renewables, said: “MJM Renewables are proud to be part of the Geothermal NI consortium that brings together leading organisations across research, engineering and geothermal development.
“Deep geothermal represents an untapped opportunity in Northern Ireland, and with the urgent need to develop renewable energy sources, Geothermal NI projects will help drive the shift to a zero-carbon economy and society.”
Dr Ryan Law from Geothermal Engineering said geothermal could operate in tandem with solar and wind.
“Geothermal power is 24/7 and can play a valuable part in helping us reach not only our renewable energy imperatives but will also play a valuable role in ensuring our energy security for years to come.”