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Perth established as one of world’s top five geothermal cities

Securing funding for one of Australia’s largest geothermal projects and establishing Perth as one of the world’s top five ‘geothermal cities’ were celebrated as some of the major achievements of the recently-concluded Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence (WAGCOE).

Established in 2009 with funding support of $2.3 million from the Government of Western Australia, WAGCOE brought researchers, industry, investors and government agencies together with the shared vision of creating zero-emission geothermal cities.

Representatives from the partner organisations of The University of Western Australia, CSIRO and Curtin University, as well as state government agencies and industry groups gathered at the Australian Resources Research Centre (ARRC) in south Perth to consider the future of geothermal energy in Australia.

WAGCOE Director Professor Klaus Regenauer-Lieb said the centre had strived to underpin a new era of energy development by developing local solutions.

"When we consider the challenges of climate change and the need to develop reliable sources of renewable energy, the work of WAGCOE is less about the last four years, than the next 50 years," Professor Regenauer-Lieb said.

"At WAGCOE we provided a world-class research and training environment where scientists developed local solutions to revolutionise energy development in Western Australia and contribute to the goal of powering zero-emission geothermal cities."

Internationally, the work of WAGCOE led to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) identifying Perth as one of the top ten (number five) "Geothermal Cities" of the world.

Unlike other entries to the list, however, Perth's inclusion was unique as it was earned on the merit of plans to become the world's first geothermally-cooled city.

Among WAGCOE's other major achievements was the development of a 3-D computer model illustrating a comprehensive geological assessment of the entire Perth Basin, which will act as a template for future geothermal activities in the region.

The centre was also instrumental in securing $20 million of Australian Government funding for the CSIRO Geothermal Project, which will aim to prove the viability of using geothermal energy on a large-scale by cooling the Pawsey Centre Supercomputer located at the ARRC facility in south Perth.

A successful CSIRO Geothermal project will provide benefits to the geothermal industry, and make significant progress in establishing Perth as the world's first geothermally-cooled city.

[Download the video (mp4 / 14MB) of Professor Klaus Regenauer-Lieb talking about WAGCOE and the vision of 'geothermal cities'.]

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