Geothermal Power
One Per Cent of Australia’s Geothermal Power Potential = 26,000 Years of Energy

February 27, 2009

Yesterday Google announced that it was getting into the geothermal
power game, investing over $10 million into researching Enhanced
Geothermal Systems. It is estimated that using this technology, just
2% of the heat below North America would easily supply all of the
United States’ current energy needs.

Now, a new report shows similarly large geothermal potential in
Australia: An Australian government scientist told Reuters that 1%
of the nation’s untapped geothermal potential could create enough
energy for 26,000 years.

Obviously that’s easier said that done. A new report from the
Australian Geothermal Energy Association outlines what can be done
to make geothermal a greater part of Australia’s energy future:
2200 MW of Geothermal Power by 2020

The AGEA report says that under current government policy up to 2200
megawatts of geothermal power could be developed by 2020, adding
that this would represent 40% of the government’s current renewable
energy target of 45,000 GWh (20% of total electric demand). It would
take A$ 12-billion (US$ 10.45 billion) to develop this amount of
installed capacity.

AGEA also estimated electricity costs for geothermal power at
various stages of development, noting that geothermal energy is one
of the lowest priced forms of renewable energy. For
demonstration-sized plants of 10-50 MW the cost of generating
electricity is expected to be $90-135/MWh. While for large-scale
plants greater than 300 MW, the cost is expected to be $80-110/MWh.
Government to Invest in Geothermal

This report comes at the same time as the Australian government
announcing that it will be making a A$ 50-million (US$ 43.5 million)
investment to help develop geothermal power.

Currently Australia generates about 77% of its electricity from coal
and is the world’s largest per-capita carbon emitter, with
individual emissions being five times those of China.

via :: Australian Geothermal Energy Association and :: Reuters


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