Geothermal energy in Australia to reduce heating costs

June 13, 2014 0 By Amanda Giasson

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Geothermal Energy - Canberra, Australia

Canberra residents and businesses may benefit from geothermal power.

Geothermal energy may gain support from Australians who reside in the country’s capital city, due to the fact that this form of renewable power may not only be a viable heating option for them but it could also lower the price they pay to heat their businesses and homes.

Heat is extracted from the ground and is put through a residential heat pump unit.

According to Touie Smith, a heating specialist, geothermal has low running costs and this coupled with increasing electricity costs has gained this alternative energy resource interest from Australian residents.

The advantages of geothermal energy systems like this one, is it involves a heat exchanger. It uses underground pipes through which gas or liquid flows. Refrigerant is sent down into the ground at 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius). The heat that is extracted from below the earth’s surface is put through a heat pump unit within a home to heat it.

According to Smith, he has been installing these systems in homes in the Canberra region for three years. He estimates that there are roughly 30 systems in Canberra. “We’re getting three inquiries a week on average,” Smith said. “Our partners have 60-plus between here and Victoria,” he added.

A researcher believes geothermal energy could power Australia for thousands of years.

According to researcher Dr. Anthony Budd, the country could be powered for 26,000 years simply by harnessing only 1% of the geothermal energy that is 5 KM (kilometers) beneath Australia.

Dr. Budd also noted that “One of the reasons that Canberra is good is because we have those strong summer and winter seasons.” The temperature of the earth is somewhere between the winter and summer maximums he said.

Dr. Budd believes that it will only be a matter of time before Australians see “electricity production and other energy use from geothermal in Australia.” He said that Australia has a massive geo-thermal source that is far more than the country would ever be able to realistically use. Geothermal energy is a clean and renewable alternative to fossil fuels.