Geothermal energy potential power source for Pacific
An Australian geothermal company plans to use volcanic energy to replace imported diesel fuel in the Pacific.
An Australian geothermal company says it hopes it can use volcanic energy to replace imported diesel fuel in a range of projects around the Pacific.
The head of Geodynamics Limited, Geoff Ward, says development consent has been granted by the Solomon Islands government to do exploratory drilling on Savo island in an initial project to supply electricity to Honiara.
Jenny Meyer asked him what challenges the company faces to make geothermal power a reality.
GEOFF WARD: The project has some technical challenges. So in addition to operating on an island that has no infrastructure, we will have to connect the power generation facilities on Savo to the Honiara network via an undersea cable and that has some engineering challenges. There are the normal challenges of exploration and we have to deal with the challenges of thick jungle and rough terrain. And then there are the usual challenges of putting together a financing package to underpin a major capital project in a developing nation. But we believe they can all be met. And that with the expertise that we've developed in our company in Australia and with the assistance from the industry in New Zealand amongst others, then we think that this is a project which can be carried out to the highest standards.
JENNY MEYER: And will you be receiving any Australian government aid money for the project?
GW: At this stage we haven't sought any aid money. So if we can find a way to deliver benefits to consumers in a nation without calling on the precious requirements of that aid then I think that's also another good outcome.
JM: Are you looking at any other projects around the Pacific Region? I think I might have heard that there's something happening in Vanuatu, and maybe Fiji and Papua New Guinea?
GW: Ah, correct, yeah. We have a second project in Vanuatu which is at a very similar stage to the Savo Island project in the Solomon Islands. So in Vanuatu where the owner and developer this time on a one hundred per cent basis is the Takara geothermal project on the island of Efate. And that project is currently going through environmental and social impact assessment and pre-drill preparations. And we hope that with securing environmental approvals in around September this year that we can commence drilling there in combination with the planned drilling in the Solomons. In fact it's possible that we'll drill in Vanuatu before the Solomons due to climate conditions and the ease of access during the wet season.
JM: Fiji and Papua New Guinea, you've got some plans there too?
GW: We're assessing opportunities in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. At this stage we've made applications for some permits but we're still working through those applications with the relevant licensing and regulatory authorities in those counties. But we're continuing to look at opportunities in Papua New Guinea, Fiji and other markets, where we can use indigenous, shallow volcanic resources to replace imported diesel fuel.
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