Australian first round of geothermal drilling funding announced

Alexander Richter 20 Apr 2009

The Australian government reports that MNGI Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Petratherm, and Panax Geothermal Limited are successful applicants for funding under the first round of the government's Geothermal Drilling Program.

Reported in Australia,”Australia’s Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson AM MP reports that MNGI Pty Ltd. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Petratherm) and Panax Geothermal Limited are successful applicants for funding under the first round of the government’s Geothermal Drilling Program.”

The Geothermal Drilling Program will support the high cost of drilling deep geothermal wells by providing grants of up to A$7 million (US$4.9 million) on a matching funding basis. Funding will also help finance geothermal proof-of-concept projects.

Geothermal energy producers pump water below ground, sometimes as deep as five kilometers (3.1 miles), where it is heated by ‘hot rocks’. The heat energy is then used to generate electricity.

Minister Ferguson said: “Geoscience Australia estimates that if just one per cent of Australia’s geothermal energy was extracted it would equate to 26,000 times Australia’s total annual energy consumption. This extraordinary potential is one of the reasons the Australian Government is making this investment in geothermal energy as part of the A$500 million (US$353.3 million) Renewable Energy Fund.

“In addition to being a low-carbon energy source, geothermal energy also has the potential to add baseload power to the Australian energy grid. This would diversify Australia’s energy supply and add to our overall energy security.”

“There is strong interest in the Geothermal Drilling Program and I congratulate the successful round one applicants. Unsuccessful applicants and other interested parties are welcome to submit applications in later rounds, with round 2 applications opening around mid-year.”

MNGI Pty Ltd (fully owned subsidiary of Petratherm) has been awarded a $7 million (US$4.9 million) grant subject to successful offer negotiations.

The (company’s) Paralana Geothermal Energy Project is an engineered geothermal system (EGS) project which aims to demonstrate a successful, robust and innovative geothermal heat exchanger in the Adelaide Fold Belt met sedimentary rocks at Paralana. It aims to prove EGS technology with the innovative heat exchanger within insulator (HEWI) model that will bring forward geothermal development and investment across Australia by considerably lowering drilling costs and risks.

Panax Geothermal Limited also has been awarded a A$7 million (US$4.9 million) grant subject to successful offer negotiations.

The (company’s) Limestone Coast Geothermal Project is designed to deliver the first conventional geothermal energy development based on a deep and insulated sedimentary basin heated by conduction from underlying hot basement rocks. Success will prove the concept for the Limestone Coast where a resource potential of around 1500 MW has been inferred and will open up a new geothermal play for Australia.

The Limestone Coast Geothermal Project is based on the concept that commercially viable geothermal reservoirs can be utilized in deep sedimentary business basis where they are buried under a thick layer of sedimentary rocks with low thermal conductivity.

Source: Energy Current