Deep geothermal energy could help the UK meet a fifth of its power needs, a new report has claimed.
A study conducted for the Renewable Energy Association (REA) calls for the exploitation of geothermal energy - which is sourced from tapping into heat deep underground - as it could supply almost as much power as nine nuclear reactors
Hot spots would be identified around the UK, including Cornwall, East Yorkshire, Hampshire, Northern Ireland and Scotland, which would provide enough energy to heat all the UK's homes and buildings.
Ryan Law, chair of the REA's deep geothermal group, revealed that the global geothermal industry is estimated to be worth £30 billion by 2020.
He said: "If the UK wants to seize a share of this booming global market we must prove our competence at home. Clearly investment at home could also go a long way to meeting our future energy needs cleanly and safely."
However, the infrastructure is not in place currently to deliver the heat to where it is required.
A further obstacle to the roll out of geothermal energy is the current subsidy regime, according to study author and engineering consultancy firm Sinclair Knight Merz, which claimed it was not attractive enough to potential investors.
Author: Economics Correspondent Graham Pontin (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 227 882)