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Minister welcomes geothermal energy investment.



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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

MINISTER WELCOMES GEOTHERMAL ENERGY INVESTMENT The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, welcomes the announcement that Petratherm Limited has secured a drilling rig to complete the first of two deep wells at its Paralana Project in South Australia.

Minister Ferguson said: "Geothermal energy has the potential to provide clean base-load power and help Australia lower its greenhouse gas emissions in a carbon-constrained world.

"This announcement demonstrates that Australia's emerging geothermal energy industry is taking root and investing with confidence.

"I am very pleased to see the government’s policies on geothermal energy are working. I am also very pleased that Petratherm's drilling rig will be made available to others in the market and help accelerate exploration and proof-of-concept drilling."

Minister Ferguson last month launched the Government's $50 million Geothermal Drilling Program, with first-round applications to open later this year.

Like other geothermal energy companies, Petratherm will be eligible to apply for assistance under this Program, which will provide grants of up to $7 million on a matching funding basis to support the high cost of drilling and help finance proof-of-concept projects.

The allocation of the Geothermal Drilling Program's $50 million will be competitive and merit-based and will encourage collaborative partnerships so as to accelerate the development of this important emerging industry.

Minister Ferguson said: "The potential of the geothermal industry in Australia is truly staggering.

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Geoscience Australia estimates that if just one percent of Australia's geothermal energy was extracted, it would equate to 26,000 times Australia's total annual energy consumption."

The Australian Government has set a target for 20 per cent of Australia's electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2020; a policy which will likely require an additional 45,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity generation from renewable sources.

Information about the Geothermal Drilling Program and eligibility criteria can be downloaded from www.ret.gov.au.

Media contact: Michael Bradley - 0420 371 744

> The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

The H

on Martin Ferguson AM MP

03 Sep 2008

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