Hot rock potential for capital

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has the potential to generate up to 430 MW of renewable geothermal energy, according to Hot Dry Rocks.

The geothermal energy consultancy released figures in November showing that rocks up to five kilometres beneath Australia’s surface store enough heat to theoretically provide 85 million MW, The Canberra Times reported.

Hot Dry Rocks managing director Graeme Beardsmore said enhanced geothermal systems were an abundant source of renewable energy and more than sufficient to replace the current gas and coal power supply, The Canberra Times reported.

“This is clean, renewable energy that is realistically accessible today with existing drilling and power conversion technologies,” he said.

”Now that Australia has a carbon pricing mechanism, we have the means to work on making clean [geothermal] power generation a reality.”

Australia’s current coal and gas power generation totals 40,647 MW, but Hot Dry Rocks stated that almost 10 times that figure could be produced by tapping 2 per cent of Australia’s technical geothermal potential.

The data was issued following the creation of a new protocol developed by Google in partnership with geothermal experts, which sets the global standard for determining how the electrical power potential of enhanced geothermal systems are estimated in a consistent way worldwide.

The protocol was endorsed by the International Energy Agency this year.