HER Majesty could one day bathe at Balmoral using water naturally heated 1.5 miles underground.
A new geothermal heating scheme is set to roll out in Royal Deeside, which promises to heat homes by pumping 45C water up from underground reservoirs.
The programme will initially heat homes in the town of Banchory, Aberdeenshire, and if successful could be extended to the “wider area”.
The Queen’s private estate at Balmoral, Ballater, is only 25 miles away.
The prospect of naturally-heated water at Balmoral is likely to be particularly pleasing to Prince Charles, who is well known for his interest in the environment.
Geological surveys are already being carried out to see if homes could benefit from the heating scheme, modelled on a system currently being used to heat 120,000 homes in Paris.
The scheme will drill deep boreholes into the earth, pumping up water from reservoirs encased in granite.
The hot water will be piped up to heat homes in the Hill of Banchory area, before the cooled water is returned underground for reheating.
George Wood, the director of Jigsaw Energy, a partner in the joint venture, said: “The project is about extracting hot water under the ground heated by granite, which is slightly radioactive.
“It gives off heat and absorbs heat from the earth’s core. You use the heat, the water goes back again and then replenishes itself.
“The whole purpose of the project is to connect the energy source to Banchory. If it is successful, we could get the wider area connected.”
“In the long term it certainly seems a good way of providing heat, obviously at no cost to the environment. One it is up and running the costs are very low.”
The project has been funded with a £50,000 grant from the Scottish government’s geothermal energy challenge fund.