The general scheme of a Geothermal Energy Development Bill was published in July, 2010 along with the associated Regulatory Impact Assessment. Both these documents are available on the Department's website.
Geothermal energy is a new area of legislative endeavour which will create a legislative framework to facilitate the exploration for and development of geothermal energy resources. It will provide significant support to the geothermal energy sector with considerable security of tenure for potential investors. The Bill sets out an approach to the licensing of exploration for, and exploitation of, geothermal energy. It is modelled on the approach taken in respect of minerals exploration and development, but also deals with a range of ancillary issues such as entry onto land.
Drafting of the Bill with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel is ongoing. Many of the provisions of the Bill are based on aspects of the Minerals Development Bill, particularly in relation to exploration licensing, which I expect to bring to the House before year-end. I would expect therefore that the Geothermal Energy Development Bill will follow to be published later this year or early next year. The progress of the Bill will be dependent on the schedule of legislation before the Oireachtas.