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What is geothermal energy?

Geothermal energy is heat from the Earth. It is a renewable energy source with multiple applications including heating, drying and electricity generation.


How does it work?

Geothermal systems extract the Earth’s heat in the form of fluids like steam or water. The temperatures achieved determine the possible uses of geothermal energy, as indicated in the figure below.


Geothermal energy in Australia

Australia has considerable geothermal energy potential, however the electricity produced is not financially viable in Australia due to three challenges:

  • finding it: identifying suitable geothermal resources
  • flowing it: producing hot fluid from the geothermal reservoirs at a high rate
  • financing it: overcoming the significant up-front capital costs associated with enhanced geothermal system technologies and the cost of transmitting electricity from remote locations.

ARENA action

ARENA’s purpose is to accelerate Australia’s shift to affordable and reliable renewable energy. By connecting investment, knowledge and people to deliver energy innovation, we are helping to build the foundation of a renewable energy ecosystem in Australia.

ARENA’s funded projects uncovered significant barriers to geothermal in Australia, which helped inform geothermal energy developers and policy makers. This included a 1MWe pilot plant that ran at Innamincka Deeps in South Australia from April to October 2013.

> Explore the geothermal projects supported by ARENA

Knowledge sharing

ARENA shares knowledge, insights and data from our funded projects to help the renewable energy industry and other projects learn from each other’s experiences. Our projects capture high-quality quantitative and qualitative data and information, linked with the needs of the market, while respecting our recipients’ commercial and contractual rights.

Reports from our geothermal projects can be found on the ARENA Knowledge Bank.

Last updated 22 July 2019
Last updated
22 July 2019

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