Panax Geothermal’s Salamander-1 well produces steam

Panax Geothermal’s Salamander-1 well produces steam Limestone Coast, South Australia (source: flickr/ Kate's Photo Diary, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 7 Apr 2010

Panax Geothermal's drilling rig at its Salamander-1 geothermal well in the Otway Basin near Penola in South Australia has hit steam.

In news from South Australia, it is reported that “Panax Geothermal’s drilling rig at its Salamander-1 geothermal well in the Otway Basin near Penola has hit steam.

At the well’s official opening in March, federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson revealed the government’s pledge to meet renewable energy would fall short if geothermal power was not realised.

“The government set a target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020,” Mr Ferguson told reporters at the site in the Otway basin.

“That’s pretty challenging because at the moment (only) about 8.2 per cent of our energy actually comes from renewables.”

Mr Ferguson says wind power is not reliable, where as geothermal is the clean equivalent of a coal-fired power station.

“This (geothermal energy) is where we have to make the breakthrough otherwise we will find it challenging to actually meet 20 per cent,” Mr Ferguson said.

“The early growth is going to be in wind power but the real breakthrough we need is in areas such as geothermal because its baseload reliable power that is akin to a coal-fired power station.”

The company plans to have a demonstration power plant in operation by next year, subject to the results of Salamander-1.

Panax’s geothermal exploration has been bolstered by a $7 million federal government grant.

The well’s proximity to the National Electricity Market Management Company grid (NEMMCO) also means the project could power thousands of homes without needing new grid connections.

The Penola Project is the first geothermal well in Australia to test a Hot Sedimentary Aquifer (HSA), which extracts hot water from an existing aquifer or HSA reservoir.

Panax has a measured geothermal resource of 11,000 petajoules at the Penola Project which has the capacity to deliver hundreds of megawatts of zero emission power.

The project covers an area of 493 square kilometres and is part of Panax’s larger Limestone Coast Geothermal Project, which covers a total area of 3,127 square kilometres.

Panax’s focus is on exploring existing reservoirs containing hot geothermal fluids which have fewer risks than hot fractured rock geothermal projects and a much shorter development time.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald