NT has plenty of hot-rock power

NT has plenty of hot-rock power

THE Territory has enough geothermal energy to replace its gas-powered electricity 1600 times, a consultancy says.

HDR, a company run by geophysicists and geologists, said the estimate had been made by a team of international experts after mapping so-called hot rocks throughout the world.

Managing director Graeme Beardsmore said Australia had enough geothermal energy within 5km of the surface to power Australia’s electricity for 50,000 years.

He said 395,000 megawatts of green power could be generated if just 2 per cent of the estimated heat energy underground was recovered with existing technology.

“This is clean, renewable energy that is realistically accessible today with existing drilling and power conversion technologies,” he said.

“It is one of the most abundant sources of renewable energy available and is more than sufficient to replace coal and gas power supply.”

Australia has the biggest project in the world – a 25MW pilot plant is being built at Innamincka in South Australia. The project was set back three years when the well collapsed.

Dr Beardsmore said the well had collapsed because of an engineering problem, and not a weakness in geothermal technology.

He said hot rocks was a “compelling solution” to tackling climate change and to meeting our growing energy demands.

Melbourne-based HDR has led the mapping of potential geothermal energy throughout the world.

Dr Beardsmore said the international map of hot rocks, known as the protocol, would give investors “greater certainty”.

“Conventional geothermal energy has until now been a difficult proposition because of the lack of information available in order for investors to do the necessary risk assessments,” he said.

“The megawatt statistics generated under the global protocol now provide a tangible knowledge base for proper investment..”

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