Where to for Geothermal now the election is over?

The following is a report from Peter Gardner, who ran as an independent in the seat of Morwell in the state election. A key focus of his campaign was to generate awareness of the massive geothermal resource under the Latrobe Valley.

At this point it is not known what the position of the Coalition will be on this potential source of low carbon energy.

Summary of campaign for geothermal Energy under the coal

The prospect of exploiting the geothermal energy under the coal was made an issue by Independent candidate for Morwell Peter Gardner. In his campaign Gardner issued 9 press releases which were distributed to local and state media and other interested parties and made four separate trips to the Valley during the course of the campaign. This resulted in 4 newspaper reports including one relayed to western Victoria, a TV news appearance, a public appearance with the other candidates, 3 radio interviews and possibly other news events that have been missed. Unfortunately this publicity did not translate into votes.

Early in the campaign the issue of exploiting geothermal energy under the coal was picked up by Labor who promised the establishment of a pilot geothermal plant at Maryvale costing $217,000.

The greens candidate endorsed the idea and noted that Labor’s commitment was token. The greens however do not appear to have a policy on geothermal power especially in the Latrobe Valley. They have a policy for closing down Hazlewood but do not appear to have a constructive or detailed program for replacing it.

In the last week of the campaign another independent candidate, presumably a global warming denier, spoke out against geothermal energy. His opposition had the effect of focusing the media once more upon the issue.

During the campaign Gardner also spoke briefly to Russell North – now the re-elected member for Morwell – about developing geothermal energy under the coal. North replied that he thought it was a good idea. But he does not appear to have made any other statement about this during the campaign. Nor do the National Party appear to have any policy on this. On the other hand the Liberal Party energy policy states that they will spend $1 million on geothermal development but does not mention the Latrobe Valley. This policy is also short on detail.

Gardner now urges that Russell North and the Nationals and the new coalition government to pursue the development of geothermal energy under the coal with some urgency. A program being developed by the University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute requires strong support. This report on the prospect and development of geothermal energy under the coal is due for release soon.

Gardner also noted that the local shire might look closely at incorporating a biochar generator  in their program of waste management.

Contact Peter Gardner 51573246  ngarak@skymesh.com.au
About LV geothermal http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2010/2883582.htm
or Prof. Rachel Webster  r.webster@unimelb.edu.au
An Australian biochar generator manufacturer http://pacificpyrolysis.com/agrichar.html
or contact Adriana Downie 02 4340 4911
About Peter Gardner http://www.1shopfront.com/sc/shops/ngarak/index.htm
About the Global Warming Action Party (Aust) http://www.globalwarmingaction.info/

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