GT Energy, an Ireland-based geothermal technology firm, has entered into an agreement with E.ON to jointly develop geothermal heat and distribution systems in the UK.

The two companies will collaborate on five projects to tap into the heat that occurs naturally a few kilometres underground, providing a source of clean energy for homes and businesses.

Work on the first of the five projects, located in the North West of England, will begin this year.

GT Energy managing director, Padraig Hanly, said: "We are delighted to sign this agreement with E.ON, and together we look forward to harnessing some of the UK’s huge potential for clean geothermal energy. Britain and Ireland are both striving for the same thing: a safe future where our energy needs can be met in a clean, affordable and responsible manner.

"Central government backing in the UK is already making a huge difference to a fledgling industry. The UK’s Renewable Heat Incentive is a welcome and positive step towards that better future."

Scientific studies suggest that the UK is sitting on 100GW of geothermal potential, up to 4% of which could be readily accessed by 2030, according to estimates from consultancy firm Sinclair Knight Merz.