SA Mines and Energy Journal : April-May 2010
10 APRIL/MAY 2010 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL INDUSTRY NEWS The importance of geothermal energy in helping Australia meet a renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2020 was emphasised at the opening of a Panax Geothermal well in the Otway Basin in March. "This (geothermal energy) is where we have to make the breakthrough otherwise we will find it challenging to actually meet 20 per cent, " Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said, while opening the Salamander-1 geothermal well. "The early growth is going to be in wind power but the real breakthrough we need is in areas such as geothermal because it's baseload reliable power that is akin to a coal-fired power station. " Panax Geothermal plans to have a demonstration power plant in operation by 2011, subject to the results of Salamander-1. The company's geothermal exploration has been bolstered by a $7 million Federal Government grant. The well's proximity to the National Electricity Market Management Company grid (NEMMCO) also means the project could power thousands of homes without needing new grid connections. Panax powers ahead Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson with Panax Geothermal managing director Bertus de Graaf at the Salamander-1 well opening.