A rethink on geothermal risk  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Giles Parkinson's column in The Australian has some notes on investing in geothermal energy - A rethink on geothermal risk. The column also includes some notes on a new geothermal heat exchange technology being trailled in Newcastle.

GEOTHERMAL energy is often characterised as unproven and therefore an over-the-horizon base-load technology - better, in that case, to consider available technologies such as coal, gas and nuclear, it is said.

Geodynamics last week presented a different take on the major economic risks affecting the long-run marginal cost of feeding energy into the national grid, breaking down the risk profiles of various technologies into high, medium and low uncertainty.

The key take-out was that the highest level of uncertainty over resource economics would be removed for geothermal, and possibly carbon prices, within the next two or three years. However, the high level of uncertainty would linger two or three times longer for carbon capture, another decade for public acceptance of nuclear, and ad infinitum for oil and gas prices.

The shorthand summary: by 2020, geothermal energy might not just be cheaper than oil and gas and other competing base-loads such as carbon capture and nuclear, it will also carry significantly less investment risk. And if that's not obvious now, taking into account the 10,000MW of geothermal energy currently produced across the globe, it will be crystal clear within the next two years.

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