ARENA funding unsuccessful for Geelong geothermal project

Australian diversified renewable energy company Greenearth Energy has missed out on funding under the Federal Government’s Emerging Renewables Program (ERP) for its 12MW Geelong demonstration geothermal project.

Greenearth Energy had submitted a detailed expression of interest (EoI) for ARENA’s Federal Government’s Emerging Renewables Program in March 2013, in partnership with Melbourne University, which proposed a de-risked approach to commercialising the Geelong Geothermal Power Project (GGPP).

ARENA responded in August, stating there was not a clear path to commerciality for the project and there was a high risk the independently predicated flow rates for the project would not be achieved.

In a statement, Greenearth Energy managing director Samuel Marks said the fact ARENA had declined the proposal at such an early stage is concerning for the industry as a whole.

“Given our path to commercialisation included formal Memorandum of Intent’s from companies such as ALCOA and HOLCIM (Australia), along with independent reports from industry experts such as Sinclair Knight Mertz and Hot Dry Rocks – which assisted with providing the potential flow rates for the project – it’s surprising ARENA had responded with its early-stage denial of the EoI,” he said.

“Without drilling a deep geothermal well in the vicinity, any commentary on the topic of flow rates is hard to justify one way, or the other. It’s a common issue for natural resource explorers.

“In deep geothermal, Hot Sedimentary Aquifer resources, the only way to truly test the expected flow rates that are in question, is to drill the de-risked and reduced cost test well, which was main the purpose of the funding request.”

Greenearth Energy will hold discussions with key parties, including the Victorian Government, Melbourne University.