Industry Priorities

Geothermal Industry Development Framework: Recommendations

1. Increase investment into the geothermal industry
Objective: Develop the geothermal sector to a stage where the risks and rewards of geothermal projects are understood by investors and sufficient private capital is invested to develop economically viable projects.

2.  Acquire and manage geoscientific data specifically for the geothermal industry
Objective: Maximise the understanding of Australia’s geothermal energy potential, and reduce both the technical and financial risks of developing geothermal energy through the availability of high quality geoscience information specifically for the geothermal industry.

3. Develop robust networks for the geothermal industry
Objective: Maximise the efficiency and rate of learning within the industry by sharing information and experiences, particularly by establishing and improving networks within the geothermal sector and with other stakeholders.

4. Develop international linkages and partnerships
Objective: Leverage international experience in technology development and commercialisation in the development of a sustainable geothermal industry and promote Australia’s expertise and leadership in hot rock technologies as a potential export sector.

5.  Research and development to support the Australian geothermal industry
Objective: An Australian geothermal sector that is efficient and effective in its research, demonstration, development and deployment investments, and respected for its world class results. Build expertise in the adaptation of technologies for geothermal energy applications under Australian conditions, drawing on experiences in other industries and other countries.

6. Human capital development
Objective: A geothermal industry workforce with the skills and capacity necessary to enable the rapid development of the industry.

7. Communication
Objective: Community stakeholders, investors and energy market participants are satisfied that geothermal energy is a safe, clean, cost competitive and reliable option in Australia’s energy mix, with the potential to provide a significant share of Australia’s generation needs.

8.  Understanding the policy environment and contributing to policy development

Objective: Industry to understand the policy environment within which it operates and the effects of changing policy settings, and the industry to participate effectively in policy development to ensure that its views are considered.

9. Legislation and regulation
Objective: Establish and implement best practice legislation and regulation relevant to geothermal energy across all jurisdictions and, in doing so, harmonise the regulatory framework governing the industry across Australia.

10. Implementation
Objective: The recommendations contained in this report are implemented by the appropriate organisations.

International Energy Agency (IEA) and Geothermal Implementing Agreement (GIA)

The IEA’s GIA provides a framework for international cooperation in geothermal R&D covering research for:

  • Environmental Impacts of Geothermal Development,
  • Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), 
  • Advanced Geothermal Drilling Technology and
  • Direct Use of Geothermal Energy.
The mission for the IEA GIA current 5-year term is to promote the sustainable use of geothermal energy throughout the world by:
  • improving existing technologies,
  • developing new technologies to render exploitable the vast and widespread global geothermal resources;
  • facilitating the transfer of know-how,
  • providing high quality information, and
  • widely communicating geothermal energy's strategic, economic and environmental benefits.
12 Country Members: Australia, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Korea, Spain, Switzerland, USA  and EC (EEU) plus 6 Sponsors: Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, Geodynamics, Geothermal Group of Spanish Renewable Energy Association, Green Rock, ORMAT. & ORME Jeotermal.

International Partnership for Geothermal Technology (IPGT)

Australia, Iceland and the U.S. launched their International Partnership to promote advanced geothermal technologies in August 2008. Its objectives are to promote energy security and address global climate change by:

  • Bringing high levels of world-leading expertise into collaborative efforts to harness geothermal energy;
  • Aggressively enabling the development of cutting edge geothermal technologies through international collaboration on policy and the technical aspects of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) such as deep drilling and geothermal energy conversion
  • Identifying and encouraging research, learn-while-doing development and deployment projects critical to widespread use of EGS and deep drilling technologies
  • Documenting and communicating best practices and supporting education and training programs.
  • Accelerating the evolution of geothermal technologies through knowledge gained from projects in different countries and geologic settings.

Aligned International Research Priorities for EGS

  • Share knowledge & drive complementary research
  • Standard geothermal resource & reserve definitions
  • Predictive production modelling
  • Predictive reservoir and stress field characterisation
  • Mitigate induced seismicity / other HAZOPS
  • Condensers for high ambient-surface temperatures
  • Use of CO2 as a working fluid for heat exchange
  • Improve power systems
  • Education / training
  • Technologies & methods to minimise water use
  • Exploration technologies to predict heat flow and reservoirs ahead of the drill bit

  • Improved / revolutionary HTHP hard rock drilling equipment
  • Improved HTHP zonal isolation
  • Reliable HTHP pumps for modest hole diameter
  • Well longevity (20-30 year life for casing, cement, etc)
  • Optimum HTHP fracture stimulation
  • HTHP logging tools and sensors
  • HTHP flow survey tools
  • HTHP fluid flow tracers
  • Mitigation of formation damage, scale and corrosion
(HTHP: high temperature & high pressure)