23 Apr 2009 04:04:05
Australian government backs geothermal energy projects
The Australian government has announced AU$7 million (£3.4 million) of financial support for two industrial power generation projects in the first round of its geothermal drilling programme.
Geothermal energy is produced by pumping water into the earth's crust at depths of up to five kilometres, where it is then heated and used to generate electricity.
Martin Ferguson, minister for resources and energy, revealed that MNGI Pty and Panax Geothermal are running the renewable energy projects in question.
The money will go towards the cost of drilling and will also fund feasibility studies into the clean technology.
Mr Ferguson suggested that utilising just 1 percent of Australia's geothermal energy capacity would generate 26,000 times the amount of energy required to power the country for a year.
"This extraordinary potential is one of the reasons the Australian government is making this investment in geothermal energy as part of the AU$500 million (£245 million) renewable energy fund," he said.
"In addition to being a low carbon energy source, geothermal energy also has the potential to add baseload power to the Australian energy grid," the minister added.
Meanwhile, clean energy organisation Desertec-Australia has claimed that the country has the potential to power Asia by tapping into its vast geothermal, solar, wind, natural gas and uranium supplies.
Its report, entitled Australia: Clean Energy Superpower, also called for a ban on the construction of new coal-fired power plants without carbon capture and storage capabilities.http://www.desertec-australia.org/content/twf-1-intro.htm...