Is Geothermal energy vastly underrated?
Team Veye | 12-Feb-2023
Geothermal energy is the thermal energy stored in the Earth and produced from these resources. The Earth's geothermal resources are theoretically more than adequate to supply humanity's energy needs, but need to be profitably exploited.
Australia has considerable geothermal energy potential, however the electricity produced is slow in becoming financially viable in Australia due to challenges like finding it, identifying suitable geothermal resources and flowing it, means producing hot fluid from the geothermal reservoirs at a high rate.
The geothermal sector in Australia is still in the nascent stage of development, and accounts for around 0.001 per cent of the country's total clean energy generation.
Geothermal energy, which is the heat stored in rocks, can provide base load power 24 hours a day, seven days a week with zero emissions.
Extensive deep-seated granite systems exist in Central Australia having high temperatures at depth. These have been explored by companies such as Panax Geothermal, Geodynamics Ltd, Petratherm, Green Rock Energy and Pacific Hydro to depths of more than four kilometres.
Panax has some of Australia’s largest geothermal resources. There are three Measured Geothermal Resources in Australia currently recognised by the Australian Geothermal Reporting Code, which is the highest classification a geothermal resource can receive prior to reaching commercial geothermal reserve status. Out of these, two are held by Panax.
Currently, USA is a leader in the geothermal power market, along with Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey, and New Zealand as among the top five geothermal power generation markets. Although, economies of many small island rely on oil-fired power plants to provide stable electricity supply, Iceland has effectively 100% renewable electricity from its generous hydropower and geothermal resources.
New Zealand’s leading energy brand Mercury generates 100% of its energy from geothermal and hydro sources. Having complimentary portfolio of hydro, geothermal and wind assets, its 5 geothermal stations stretch across the centre of New Zealand’s North Island and generate power 24/7.
Although Geothermal energy has a disadvantage of being location specific, unlike hydro and wind energies, geothermal energy does not rely on the weather. Geothermal energy is one a sustainable sources of energy capable of replacing base load power from fossil fuelled power stations. But, in comparison to other sustainable energy options, geothermal resources have still not been valued according to their commercial potential for the long term generation of clean base-load power.
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