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Home » Projects » Projects » Ballymena, Co. Antrim

Project overview

Background

In 2008, Action Renewables completed a study which identified the geothermal energy potential  in Northern Ireland.  Ballymena, amongst other areas in Northern Ireland, was highlighted as an area of high geothermal potential.  In 2009, GT Energy signed a Strategic Alliance with Ballymena Borough Council to further investigate the feasibility of developing a geothermal plant and district heating network for the town of Ballymena. GT Energy set about this feasibility study by determining a) the heat demand for the Town b) the geothermal potential of Ballymena and c) the optimal route of the district heating network to connect the geothermal resource to all connected end users.

The Project >>

The heat energy assessment for Ballymena commenced in December 2009. This heat assessment involved the identifying and contacting of all large heat users i.e. Schools, Hospitals, Hotels, Leisure Centres etc. in order to receive their actual annual fossil fuel usage data. This data was then compiled for the Town to calculate its heat load. Where actual data was not received, GT Energy adopted a reverse engineering methodology.

A heat map for the Town was then compiled by overlaying this calculated heat data on the Town of Ballymena. This heat map assisted with calculating the pipe diameters for the district heating network to supply this heat load. It also assited in identifying the optimal route of the district heating network i.e. the optimal route in order to maximize the heat density per linear km of network.

A heat load of approximately 56GWh per annum was calculated. This calculated heat load will be supplied via c.27km (linear) of district heating network. In conjunction with the heat assessment a desktop geological review was also carried out to determine the potential geothermal resource, the target depths, temperatures and geological conditions. This determined a production capacity for the geothermal plant. This review involved the compiling of all available data including existing oil and gas exploration borehole, seismic and MT survey data in the Ballymena area. After compiling all these data sources a geothermal capacity of >6MWth was calculated for the Town which is the equivalent of supplying heat to c.4,000 houses per annum.

Current status

In order to progress this project, the renewable heat incentive will need to be introduced in Northern Ireland. This policy measure is vital to support the deployment of renewable technologies in Northern Ireland. The renewable heat incentive is currently in operation in Great Britain. 

Benefits >>

  • Significant employment during construction of up to 150 workers
  • Renewable heat supply for c.4,000 homes
  • Secure, uninterruptable supply of localised heat  for all connected heat users