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April 21, 2009 11:30pm

TWO South Australian geothermal energy projects have won $7 million each in Federal Government funding.

Petratherm and its joint venture partners Beach Petroleum and TRUenergy received $7 million for their Paralana project in the northern Flinders Ranges.

Panax Geothermal plans to spend its $7 million drilling for a geothermal heat resource near Penola, in the state’s South-East.

Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said yesterday geothermal energy had extraordinary potential and could provide baseload power.

“Geoscience Australia estimates that if just one per cent of our geothermal energy was extracted it would equate to 26,000 times Australia’s total annual energy consumption,” he said.

“In addition to being a low-carbon energy source, geothermal energy also has the potential to add baseload power to the Australian energy grid.

“This would diversify Australia’s energy supply and add to our overall energy security.”

Mr Ferguson said a second round of applications for funding would open around the middle of the year. The money comes from the Government’s $500 million renewable energy fund.,22606,25370943-5016955,00.html

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