Woking in collaboration with the industry, the Commonwealth recently finalised the development of the Geothermal Industry Development Framework (GIDF) which outlines a number of strategies to assist the industry's development in its early years which will complement the Geothermal Technology Road Map, an important initiative from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) designed to assist the industry and national research community accelerate efforts to address technical challenges and processes that will see the industry reduce costs over a shorter timeframe.
The Commonwealth's proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is the critical element in the national strategy to transform the Australian economy into a low carbon future and the geothermal industry is identified as a key plank in that transformation. Without the CPRS, no clean energy technology is likely to be completive in the national energy market in the short to medium term. To complement the effect of the CPRS, the Commonwealth has sought to amalgamate the incentives across the states and territories, including its own Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET), into a new national Renewable Energy Target (RET) which will see 20% of Australia's total electricity supply coming from renewable resources by 2020.
Working alongside these major market measures, the Commonwealth has also introduced a number of funding programs to assist the geothermal industry and the broader renewable energy in its development and with improvement that will bring the costs of technologies down sooner. These programs include:
• The $50M Geothermal drilling Program (GDP)
• The $435M Renewable Energy Demonstration Program (REDP)
• The $50M Clean Energy Program (CEP)
• The $75M Climate Ready Program
Other Commonwealth initiated programs and actions that will support the development and growth of the geothermal industry include:
• Geoscience Australia's Onshore Energy Security Program where objective of the geothermal component is to increase knowledge of the type and location of geothermal energy resources on a national scale and to encourage exploration for, and investment in, this renewable energy sector.
• The review of the capability of the National Energy Market to deliver the CPRS and the RET by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) in which Terry Kallis represents the industry as part of the review industry advisory panel.
A number of Australian states also have programs that will assist the industry and here in South Australia, Petratherm's home base, the industry receives support in the early stages through the PACE grants system administered by the Primary Industry and Resurces of South Australia (PIRSA).
Geothermal energy will play an important role in meeting Australia's future energy needs and the industry, throught the Australian Geothermal Energy Association (AGEA) has developed good working relations with government to ensure that government understands the industry's needs and challenges in the early years of its development so that governments can respond in the most efficient and effective ways.
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