Adelaidean - News from the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide Australia
August 2007 Issue
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Why we're warming to geothermal energy


The University of Adelaide has been awarded $250,000 from the State Government to help develop an international research facility into geothermal energy.

SA Mineral Resources Minister Paul Holloway said the seed funding would allow the University to host Australia's first research cluster examining all aspects of hot-rock-based geothermal systems.

The geothermal research facility will be based within the University's Australian School of Petroleum (ASP).

"The Government sees geothermal as an energy source for the future and by helping the University establish the research facility here, it will ensure that South Australia is in the vanguard of all facets of developing and demonstrating hot rock systems," Mr Holloway said.

Professor Richard Hillis, Chair of Petroleum Geology at the ASP, said the University would collaborate with the Australian Geothermal Energy Group and the Department of Primary Industries and Resources of South Australia.

Geothermal energy is generated by converting hot water or steam from deep beneath the Earth's surface into electricity.

Mr Holloway said South Australia represented a "hot rock haven" for renewable, emissions-free power.

"The State could provide a very significant part of Australia's base load power needs by 2030," he said.

"This investment will complement future developments that the other States, the Northern Territory or the Commonwealth may implement."

Australia-wide, 27 companies have applied for 166 geothermal licences. Between 2002 and 2012 these companies are expected to invest more than $650 million in exploration.

South Australia has attracted 17 companies to apply for 142 geothermal licences, with work programs worth more than $550 million for the term 2002-12. That is more than 80% of the national tallies for geothermal licence applications and forecast investment in Australia.

Story by Candy Gibson

To find out more about Geoscience at the University of Adelaide, visit Open Day on Sunday 26 August.

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South Australia is a haven for hot rocks, with the Flinders Ranges a prime location
Photo by Ged Unsworth

South Australia is a haven for hot rocks, with the Flinders Ranges a prime location
Photo by Ged Unsworth

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