Securing Australia's geothermal energy future

08 August 2012

Securing geothermal energy as a cost-effective renewable energy source is the topic of discussion at a scientific symposium being held at the International Geological Congress in Brisbane today.

Geothermal energy has the potential to help secure Australia’s clean energy future by providing a large amount of sustainable, zero carbon emission electrical power from a renewable heat source.

Geoscience Australia, under the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Initiative, is supporting the development of a viable geothermal industry in Australia through the provision of pre-competitive geothermal information.

Dr Anthony Budd, Geothermal Energy Section Leader at Geoscience Australia and co-convenor of today’s Geothermal Resources symposium, said that although investment in the geothermal exploration sector had diminished since the global financial crisis, research completed to date has provided important advances in understanding the technical aspects of the technology.

"The focus of Geoscience Australia’s recent work has included gathering new heat flow data from multiple sites across Australia. Further to this, modelling has been undertaken to determine the resource potential at a regional scale, and we have also produced a continental scale map showing predicted temperatures of potential geothermal sites," he said.

Today’s symposium will include further discussion on the key technical challenges facing the geothermal energy industry in Australia. One significant technical challenge is the establishment of high water flow rates which is fundamental to the geothermal extraction process.

"There have been advances at several test sites to achieve consistant water flow rates which are essential to the viability of harvesting geothermal energy. One of Geoscience Australia’s research aims is to assist industry in identifying ways of reducing the production costs associated with turning the geothermal resource into electricity." Dr Budd said.

The Geothermal Resources Symposium occurs over two days beginning 8 August at the 34th International Geological Congress being held in Brisbane.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact: Geoscience Australia 24 hour Media Hotline 1800 882 035

Topic contact: Last updated: October 4, 2013