The potential for deep geothermal energy in Scotland

Midland Valley mineworkings

Midland Valley mineworkings.

Scotland‘s Midland Valley is underlain, in many parts, by a network of abandoned mines. These mines provided the energy and raw materials that powered industry in the 19th and 20th centuries and the fuel to heat domestic properties.

These mines could once again play an important role in future energy supply, by providing access to thermal reservoirs via ground source heat pump (GSHP) systems that could help heat homes and other buildings, and contribute to the energy mix of a low-carbon Scottish economy based substantially on renewable energy.

The British Geological Survey, in partnership with AECOM, has recently (2013) completed a study for the Scottish Government into deep geothermal energy in Scotland.

The study considered the heat resource from of old mine workings and hot sedimentary aquifers and the combined heat and power potential of deep granitic rocks.

Recommendations for exploitation

The study produced recommendations for future policies and actions to encourage commercial exploitation of these potential resources. The Midland Valley (or Central Belt) has been extensively undermined and the old mine workings are considered to be the best immediate prospect as a source of renewable geothermal heat.

To unlock the potential of the deeper resources, it is recommended that a national geothermal exploration programme and geothermal database are established and, when feasible, geothermal demonstrator projects are undertaken to prove the viable exploitation of deep geothermal resources.

Download the study reports

Study into the Potential for Deep Geothermal Energy in Scotland:


For more information contact Hugh Barron