Department of Water generates pathways for geothermal development
Released 22 Dec 2009
Department of Water Director Water Resource Use Rob Hammond said the department is working on new guidelines that will assist the growth in use of environmentally friendly geothermal energy solutions in Western Australia.
"The state government is actively promoting the use of geothermal energy for heating and cooling purposes, through initiatives such as the recently opened Geothermal Centre for Excellence, and the release of geothermal acreage by the Department of Mines and Petroleum," Mr Hammond said.
Geothermal energy provides a 'green' alternative to traditional energy use and utilises groundwater resources as the energy transferring agent.
Although the Department of Water currently administers a small number of licences to take water for the heating of swimming pools and heating and cooling of buildings, it is expected that such applications will increase significantly in the future,Mr Hammond said.
"In supporting this important across government initiative, the department of water has begun developing the first ever policy for licensing and managing the groundwater taken for geothermal heating and cooling purposes.
Mr Hammond said issues covered in the policy development include metering requirements, on-going management and the potential water issues that should be addressed in a hydrogeological assessment as part of any licence application.
"Groundwater resources are very precious and important to this state's total water resources," Mr Hammond said.
"There use for any purpose needs to be governed appropriately.
"The policy addresses both closed and open loop heat pump systems.
"Closed loop systems will not be licensed (for bore construction or taking of water), as there is no groundwater abstraction involved.
"Open loop systems involve abstraction and generally re-injection of groundwater, and will require licences for bore construction and groundwater abstraction.
The Geothermal Centre for Excellence is developing Australia's first
commercial geothermal-powered heating and air-conditioning units, and looking at
applications for desalination.
New proposals for geothermal energy utilisation are also expected as a result of geothermal acreage released by the Department of Mines and Petroleum.
The Department of Water is also developing a water licensing note on deep geothermal groundwater use, and in the future will produce an operational policy covering all geothermal groundwater use that will be released for public comment.
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441