Thursday, May 3, 2018

Australia: Report Includes Snapshot of Geothermal Energy

Australian Energy Resources Assessment (Geoscience Australia)

The 2018 edition of the Australian Energy Resources Assessment (AERA) is the latest update in a series of national assessments of Australia's energy resources, first released in 2010. AERA has been developed by Geoscience Australia in collaboration with the Department of the Environment and Energy and support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency , and provides a snapshot of Australia’s energy resources and the demand for them in both domestic and international energy markets.

Australia has significant hot rock geothermal resources that could be used to produce super-heated water or steam suitable for base load electricity generation. There are also lower temperature geothermal resources in a number of sedimentary basins that are potentially suitable for electricity generation or direct-use applications.

Approximately 440,570 PJ of potentially viable deep geothermal resources were identified in the decade to 2013, but due to technical challenges, lack of capital investment and reduced electricity demand, these estimates are no longer considered current.

While Birdsville is currently the only geothermal plant generating electricity, new low-temperature geothermal power plants are being built to supply small towns in outback Queensland, including Quilpie, Thargomindah, Normanton and Longreach. The Winton geothermal power plant is due to be operational in June 2018.

Ground source heat pumps are being chosen by large-scale residential property developers as an alternative for air-conditioning. As at December 2016, Australia had 40.9 megawatts thermal (MWth) of direct-use geothermal capacity that was either installed or in the final stages of commissioning, and an additional 197.4 MWth of total geoexchange capacity.

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