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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-03790: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 14 October 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to ensure that investment in geothermal energy technologies is not discouraged by its moratorium on unconventional gas extraction.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 31 October 2016

The moratorium on unconventional gas extraction does not cover geothermal energy and should therefore not discourage investment in geothermal energy technologies or have an impact on geothermal energy exploration.

The Scottish Government is keen to develop the potential of a geothermal industry in Scotland which will help reduce carbon emissions while providing additional security of energy supplies. The Scottish Government has been working with stakeholders to explore the capacity of geothermal and its viability as a self-sustaining, economically attractive investment prospect with local community support for the principles of the project, including an understanding of its potential environmental impact.

During 2015-16, the Scottish Government made £179,000 grant available to explore the technical feasibility, environmental sustainability and economic viability of four locations in Scotland: Fife, North Lanarkshire, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City. The findings of these studies are available on the Scottish Government website at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/Action/lowcarbon/LCITP/geothermal. A technical appraisal of the feasibility study reports has been undertaken, and a further grant of £37,000 has been awarded to the University of St Andrews for development work in Fife.

The roles of the regulatory authorities in relation to these developments is outlined in the Scottish Government guidance document available at:

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/Energy-sources/19185/GeothermalEnergy/RegulatoryGuidance.