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Search is on for More Geothermal Energy

The search is on for new geothermal energy resources to provide Queenslanders with a greener source of energy for power generation. Explorers can use geothermal exploration data from the Department of Mines and Energy to assess the potential of ten new areas that have been opened up for exploration.

Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said the State Government had released the land in a call for tenders late last year.

The parcels cover a total of 5400 sq km of prospective land.

"We're paving the way for potential new explorers to kick start the search for more geothermal energy," Mr Wilson said.

The Minister said the prospective areas were spread across the state, including five west of Longreach, one north-east of Roma, one south of Gladstone, one south of Charters Towers, one between Georgetown and Mount Surprise, and one east of Aurukun.

"While we're providing the opportunity for explorers, we're also taking into account the concerns of anyone with an interest in the land parcels.

"Landholders, local government, native title bodies for the land and those holding a mining interest in the land can also have their say.

"They can lodge a submission with the department and raise any issues relating to the call for tenders. All submissions will be considered and those concerns taken on board.

Minister Wilson said Queensland had the bulk of Australia's potential high-temperature and hot-water geothermal energy resources.

"Electricity generation from geothermal energy is very environmentally friendly," he said.

"There are no greenhouse gas emissions because the geothermal energy is derived from heat from deep within the earth's crust with no waste material generated.

"This form of renewable energy could underpin a non-fossil-fuel-based economy of the future.

"It's in keeping with the State Government's energy policy to source electricity generation from conventional and renewable energy sources," Mr Wilson said.

"There are three forms of geothermal energy that can be recovered and used in Queensland:
  • directly tapping near boiling water ( 98.5°C ) from the GreatArtesianBasin ( for example, that used to supplement the power plant at Birdsville )
  • accessing hot dry rocks ( high heat producing granite rocks 3-5 km underground beneath the Eromanga and Cooper basins in south-west Queensland )
  • hot springs, which have a lower temperature heat source.
"Initial estimates indicate the hot dry rocks beneath the Eromanga and Cooper basins could meet all of Australia's energy needs for many years into the future, if all of that hot rock could be exploited," Mr Wilson said.

"The geothermal industry will have a future in Queensland because it can produce more base load energy than any other renewable energy source and the land has the right geological environment to develop commercial projects," he said.

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