First geothermal power plant was authorized in Ireland

The authorization process for the country’s first geothermal energy plant was successfully completed in Ireland, only four months after the application. The approval process was exceptionally short also because nobody objected to the project.

The plant, whose cost is estimated at 30 million euros for an electricity capacity of 4.5 MW, will be developed by Ireland-based GT Energy at Greenogue, close to Newcastle (County of Dublin).

Construction is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks with the drilling of two wells about 4,000 metres deep, which will be used for the extraction and re-injection of geothermal fluid. The plant is planned to be put into service and grid-connected by the end of 2012.

Based on tests carried out since 2007, GT Energy estimates that at Greenogue three plants can be developed, with a total capacity of 100 thermal MW.

Although the Greenogue plant is not large-scaled, it is considered significant as a forerunner for the development of this industry. It will provide useful guidance for the exploitation of a renewable resource that is considered important to increase the diversity of the Irish energy mix.

Over the past few months, the minister for natural resources, Conor Lenihan, confirmed that the government is willing to draw up specific regulations for geothermal development and to facilitate the granting of permits to companies which are planning to conduct exploration projects in this field.