Thursday, June 7, 2018

Australia: Birdsville Geothermal Power Plant Not to be Upgraded

Birdsville bids farewell to geothermal, opts for solar and battery storage instead (One Step Off The Grid)

Plans to replace what was Australia’s only utility-owned and operated geothermal power station in Birdsville – a small town at the end of the eponymous Birdsville Track, in central west Queensland – have been dumped in favour of a switch to distributed solar and storage.

State government-owned network operator Ergon Energy said on Thursday that it would encourage residents of the frontier town to install rooftop solar PV and battery storage as the best option for increasing renewables on the isolated grid.

Ergon said it had “reluctantly decided” not to continue with plans to replace the town’s geothermal power station, which at its peak supplied up to 20 per cent of the town’s electricity needs.

Those plans, which were very much alive in June last year, would have integrated a new geothermal power station with the existing diesel power station, lifting the share of renewables generation to 70 per cent for the outback, off grid town.

Ergon’s manager of isolated networks, Glenn Dahlenburg, said the decision to drop the geothermal component was guided by rapidly changing energy market dynamics – in particular, the plummeting cost of solar PV.

From the Global Geothermal News archives: