Scotland has provided £234,025 of funding for five projects to explore the feasibility of using the untapped geothermal energy in the country.
The projects will explore the feasibility of tapping geothermal energy in five locations, including Fife, West Lothian, North Lanarkshire and Aberdeenshire.
Funding for the projects will help to evaluate technical feasibility, economic viability and environmental sustainability of the underground thermal energy and how it can be utilised as a renewable heat source for homes and businesses.
Capital contributions for the projects have been made by Geothermal Energy Challenge Fund, which is supported by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Fund under the new European Structural Funds Programme.
Geothermal Energy Expert Group chair Professor Russel Griggs said: "The technology still requires further development, but these five feasibility projects, which trial new ideas and build on more established techniques, are a vital step along the road to fully utilising this potentially extremely valuable resource."
The feasibility projects are also expected to assess if geothermal resources have the potential to save £2.6bn annually.
Scotland Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "These projects will help improve our understanding of this renewable energy source and the contribution it can make to helping Scotland reduce its carbon emissions."
Renewable Energy Association external affairs head James Court said: "Our research estimates that with the right policy framework and support in place, deep geothermal could produce up to 100GW of renewable heat, as much as the UK’s annual heat demand."