Geothermal Energy and Heat Pumps

Geothermal energy is the energy stored below the surface of the Earth. The thermal energy is contained within the rock and fluids which can be found from shallow ground to several miles below the surface. In some countries, thermal energy has even been harvested from the magma chambers found below the Earth’s crust.

Interesting Facts

  • The first geothermally generated electricity was produced in Larderello, Italy, in 1904
  • Geothermal energy is generated in more than 25 countries
  • In 2019 over 90,000 GWh of electricity was generated from geothermal energy
  • The US is the world’s largest producer of geothermal energy
  • The Geysers Geothermal Complex in California is the biggest geothermal development in the world
  • In Iceland, a country with over 25 active volcanoes, many of the buildings and even swimming pools are heated with geothermal hot water
  • Around 25% of Iceland’s electricity needs are generated from harnessing the Earth’s thermal energy


  • The UK has around 100GW of potential geothermal energy – enough to meet the country’s heating demand
  • The planned United Downs geothermal power plant, in Redruth, Cornwall, is predicted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3,000 tonnes per year once completed
  • The UK’s extensive history of coal mining has left a network of tunnels snaking below the surface. Many of these caverns have filled with water which has become heated and can be exploited to capture energy
  • Geothermal plants operate more than 90% of the time and use far less land per MW than other renewable energy sources


  • Geothermal targets need to be of suitable depth and temperature and contain fractures and pores for the storage and passage of water. Current geological surveys for some areas of the UK are lacking in the detail required to make development decisions
  • Drilling wells for geothermal energy is relatively expensive – around £500,000 for a test well
  • Heat is much less portable than electricity so geothermal heat systems must be located close to populated areas to ensure an efficient supply line
  • The extraction of geothermal energy from the ground leads to a release of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, methane and ammonia

Get in touch

AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise