Queensland geothermal energy research centre launched
The Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence (QGECE) at the University of Queensland, has been officially opened, marking a key step in Queensland’s bid to establish itself as a global hub for geothermal energy research, technology development and jobs.
Launching the centre, Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said the centre was playing a key role in the State Government's renewable energy strategy.
He said the Queensland Government's $15 million investment in the QGECE represented the largest investment in geothermal energy research in Australia.
The QGECE is undertaking research and development to progress large-scale electricity generation from subterranean hot rocks and hot sedimentary aquifers.
Research includes electricity transmission and power network modelling; geothermal reservoir exploration, characterisation and management; plus development of new turbines and cooling systems to optimise geothermal power plant production and efficiency.
Collaborative research partnerships have been established with the Central Research Institute for Electrical Industry of Japan; GFZ-Potsdam of Germany and United States power plant and turbine manufacturer, Verdicorp.
QGECE is also working with other Australian universities to create undergraduate and post-graduate programs to develop a skills base for jobs in emerging geothermal industries.”
The Queensland Government’s investment in the QGECE is in addition to other geothermal initiatives including:
- $5 million Coastal Geothermal Energy Initiative to identify areas of high geothermal heat flow along the Queensland coast that may unlock viable geothermal resources closer to power transmission networks.
- $4.3 million to upgrade Australia's only operating geothermal power station at Birdsville from its current 80 kilowatt capacity to up to 400 kilowatts.
- A new regulatory framework to enable the development of large-scale geothermal energy projects and provide exploration and investment certainty to industry.
More information is at http://www.uq.edu.au/geothermal/