Call for further commitment to geothermal energy industry

Australian Geothermal Energy Association (AGEA) chairman, Terry Kallis has urged for commitment to geothermal energy through government funding.

Speaking at the Australian Geothermal Energy Conference in November 2010, Mr Kallis said the geothermal industry needed a price on carbon and strong capital funding similar to that received by other clean energy industries such as carbon capture and storage and solar. It also needed infrastructure built to bring low-cost geothermal energy into the national electricity market.

“AGEA has always acknowledged that all clean energy technologies have a role to play in the future energy mix. However, at the moment clean coal has a $2.5 billion program and solar energy a $1.6 billion program yet clean coal is even less advanced technically than geothermal energy around the world and solar energy will stay two-to-three times more expensive over the current forecast timeframes – out to 2030,” Mr Kallis said.

“Alongside this, geothermal grants have amounted to $200 million and these have now been fully allocated,”

Mr Kallis said geothermal energy is the only baseload form of new renewable energy and the Commonwealth has predicted it to likely be the lowest-cost generation technology by 2030.

“For every dollar spent on transmission, the geothermal sector has the potential to put three times more power into the system than the wind industry – and at a lower price,” he said.

Mr Kallis said the industry was appreciative of state and Federal governments for their support in drilling grants and the Renewable Energy Demonstration Programme grants, but that funding programs need to reflect the potential of the technologies. Failure to further support the geothermal energy will result in electricity users paying more for their power than they need to in the future, Mr Kallis said.