The State Government’s commitment to establishing a clean and green geothermal energy industry in Western Australia had been boosted by the enormous response to the historic first release of acreage for geothermal exploration, Premier Alan Carpenter said today.
Mr Carpenter said the release was one of the most successful in Australia, with 64 valid bids submitted for a total of 12,160sq.km of land.
The most popular areas were Dongara, Eneabba, Kwinana and Pinjarra.
“This is the first time we have offered acreage for geothermal exploration and the response has surpassed our expectations,” the Premier said.
“It is the beginning of a new chapter in the State’s energy history and the potential benefits are huge.
“The end result could be a clean energy industry that provides for the future needs of Western Australians, while minimising environmental impact.
“Geothermal energy is emission free and one of the cleanest methods of power generation available.”
Mr Carpenter said the State Government was committed to renewable energy, with funding of $50million in the recent Budget to develop renewable energy projects through a joint venture arrangement between Verve Energy and the private sector.
The construction of a new $295million Perth-to-Geraldton 330kV transmission line - the longest line built by Western Power in 20 years, to enable new windfarm projects in the Mid-West to supply electricity to the main grid - was also another example of this commitment.
Resources Minister Francis Logan said the initial acreage release of 495 lots stretched from south of Kalbarri to Dunsborough and 250km inland.
Mr Logan said the 64 submitted bids were from nine different geothermal explorers for 38 of the 320sq.km blocks. Multiple bids were received for the areas around Dongara, Eneabba, Kwinana and Pinjarra.
“The bids will now be assessed and acreage will be offered to the successful bidders later this year,” the Minister said.
Australian Geothermal Energy Association spokesman John Libby acknowledged the State Government’s commitment to developing a major geothermal industry in WA.
“The release of areas of geothermal exploration, combined with the recent establishment of the WA Geothermal Centre of Excellence, will assist WA in becoming a leader in the development and application of sustainable and emissions-free energy technology,” Mr Libby said.
Legislation facilitating geothermal exploration was enacted in January this year and the bidding process began shortly afterwards.
A second acreage area, to be situated in the Carnarvon basin, will be opened to bidding later this year.
The development of new renewable energy projects, including geothermal energy, has been sparked by the State Government’s recent reforms to the energy sector.
Mr Logan said that since the start of the reforms, 11 new privately-owned generation facilities had entered or would be entering the market, including two new windfarms and a biomass plant.
Premier’s office - 9222 9475
Minister for Resource's office - 9222 8950