The future of geothermal energy in Australia is looking bleak. Despite the fact government data speculates that using only 1% of hot rocks can generate power for Australia for 26,000 years, major companies are retracting their support.
Since they have not seen any returns in Geodynamic’s Cooper Basin wells, Ten years ago, Origin anticipated major returns, returns that have not come to fruition. Origin Energy has pulled out after losing patience with geothermal energy. Energy Australia, another large corporation with interest in geothermal, is in a similar situation and has given up its take in a different geothermal project in South Australia.
Origin Energy and Energy Australia’s abandonment of their geothermal projects is having a major impact on potential investors and supporters. The fact that the numbers have changed considerably is not helping the situation. One year ago, geothermal was predicted to provide 23% of Australia’s total electricity needs by 2050. Experts have revised that figure to 9%.
There is one geothermal plant in Birdsville, Queensland currently in operation, but the plant was built over 20 years ago. This was the last geothermal project to actually be built since all others have fallen through.
Geodynamics is holding out hope to have a one-megawatt plant in operation close to Innamincka by mid-2013. This is one of the few geothermal projects in Australia that still has the money to continue. Geodynamics is also optimistic that it can grow geothermal energy, and interest in it, to eventually provide power to larger customers like Northern Australia’s Gove alumina refinery.