Geothermal energy trials begin near Geelong  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The ABC's Lateline program has a segment on geothermal energy trials in Victoria - Geothermal energy trials begin near Geelong.

TICKY FULLERTON, PRESENTER: As the country looks to how sustainable energy can provide power for the future, one tiny Victorian town has been earmarked vital to the future of power supplies for the entire nation.

The hamlet of Gherang, 100 kilometres west of Melbourne, has been chosen as a test site for geothermal energy trials that if successful, could provide baseload power for the growing region near Geelong.

It's created divisions within the small community between those who are cautiously optimistic about the proposal and those who oppose it.

Hamish Fitzsimmons reports.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS, REPORTER: A planned energy project touted as important for the state, Australia and even the world, is dividing opinion in a tiny community in western Victoria.

CAROLINE HAWKINS, ANGLESEA RESIDENT: Our region needs to know what our power sources are going to be in the future we can't continue to rely on coal.

DANIEL BRIGGS, GHERANG RESIDENT: Residents feel it’s an inappropriate location to try to install an industrial geothermal development on top of an existing densely populated residential rural community.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The company behind the proposal to bring geothermal power from the tiny hamlet of Gherang to the fast-growing region of Geelong says it can provide a blueprint for the future.

Melbourne QC Simon Molesworth is a well known campaigner for the environment and also chairs Greenearth Energy.

SIMON MOLESWORTH QC, GREENEARTH ENERGY: What we want to do is make this community and its district an exemplar of what can be done with renewable energy.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Geothermal power harnesses energy released kilometres beneath the surface. Water is pumped down a pipe to a hot sedimentary aquifer four kilometres underground, where it evaporates, turns into steam and travels up another pipe in high pressure to power a generator and create electricity.

SIMON MOLESWORTH: It is true baseload power. It operates 24-7 and, having zero emissions, no gases, no emissions to water, having a footprint which is very good environmentally, it means that we can actually produce power which is so critically needed, as we know, to face the greenhouse challenge.

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