Australia's efforts to become the first country to commercially develop electricity production from heat mining continue to gather pace.
The Australian Geothermal Energy Group has told a Federal Parliament committee investigating the potential of non-fossil fuel industry that more than a half billion dollars is expected to be outlayed in the next five years to test deep-buried heat reservoirs across South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.
The exploration and development effort underway since 2002 has seen $100 million spent to date and has attracted $27 million in Federal Government grants as well as a promise of a further $50 million in support if the Labor Party wins the forthcoming federal election.
Geothermal energy is the natural heat found within the Earth.
To be viable for conversion to usable energy, hot granite rocks need to have an efficient insulation in the form of sedimentary material and there needs to be an adequate water supply for high pressure injection in to fractures in the rock.
Geoscience Australia has suggested that the first five kilometres of the surface of the continent has enough contained heat to supply this country's electricity needs at current demand levels for 22,000 years.
Geothermal energy can produce baseload power 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no greenhouse gas emissions.
Development of geothermal power is characterised by high exploration costs and competitive production costs, with connection to market by high voltage transmission lines a key factor for a resource that is mostly located in remote areas.
AGEG reports that there are now 27 companies engaged in 149 licences across Australia, with work programs worth a total of $656 million.
Of this, $526 million is designated for expenditure in South Australia on 125 licence areas covering 54,000 square kilometres.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
It is a common misconception that the grant of mining tenure, whether it be an Exploration Permit, Mineral Development Licence or Mining Lease, will entitle the holder to access all land within it in order to explore or mine.
This briefing note sets out a likely structure for the proposed privatisation of the networks and identifies key issues.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).