Australian scientists eye geothermal power

Using just 1% of Australia's geothermal energy potential could generate 26,000 years of electricity for the country, Reuters reported scientists as saying.

Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter; 77% of the country‘s electricity currently comes from coal. But the government plans to have 20% of its energy come from renewable sources by 2020, and has announced a US$43 million project to develop geothermal energy technology.

To produce power from geothermal energy, water is pumped below ground where it is heated by "hot rocks" at depth of one to five kilometres. The heat energy is then used to generate electricity.

"We could now see Australia’s first commercially viable geothermal power plants in place within four to five years," the country’s resource minister, Martin Ferguson, told Reuters.

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