WATER in disused mines warmed by the heat of the earth could be used to create a new energy source. An Edinburgh-based firm hopes to help establish a new industry in Scotland that one report suggested could supply up to a third of the country’s heating needs. The firm called Town Rock Energy is one of the founding members of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation’s Low Carbon Ideas Lab and is also a family venture that is to pitch its idea as an alternative to fracking. The water that has flooded the hundreds of disused mine shafts that lie below areas of Scotland including Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Fife are heated by the warmth of the earth, which averages 17C at such depths, with higher temperatures at deeper levels. Town Rock Energy founder and managing director David Townsend, a 24-year-old geology graduate from the St Andrews University, has set up the company with his father Phil, who has experience in exploration geology and North Sea oil field management. He has been asked to prepare a paper on the difference between geothermal and fracking for the Scottish Renewables conference in Edinburgh.