• Geothermal maps and data

    Harnessing geothermal energy

    Geothermal energy comes in two forms:

    • Hot ground water and steam at temperatures of around 30 to 150 degrees, and close to the earth’s surface, can be directly used in agricultural and mining processes as well as for heating and cooling buildings.
    • Hot rocks at temperatures over 150 degrees and up to about five kilometres from the earth’s surface can be used to heat water pumped down drill holes. The heated water is returned to the surface and can be used for large scale electricity generation.

    Geothermal energy direct use applications are common in many countries. However, large scale electricity generation from geothermal energy is still experimental and there are currently no commercially generating projects in Australia.

    Maps and data on geothermal resources

    Location information on geothermal energy resources is available from a number of government agencies. Geoscience Australia is the Commonwealth Government geoscience agency and is the national custodian of geoscience and spatial data. Geoscience Australia’s Geothermal Energy Resources website provides the following links:

    • Geothermal Energy Resources
    • Maps – including interpreted temperature of the earth’s crust at 5 km depth across Australia based on drill hole data from the OZTemp database, and granite heat production and sediment thickness indicating hot rock geothermal potential.
    • Data – including the OZTemp drill hole temperature database, heat flow datasets, rock thermal conductivity dataset, and OZCHEM rock geochemistry database. These resources are Australia-wide datasets and are available for download.
    • Publications – some of which include maps and data.

    The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the national science agency, provides:

    • PressurePlot [external website] – an interactive tool to access and map drill hole data from the PressureDB database. Users must create a free profile to log in and use the tool.

    The State Government Department of Mines and Petroleum compiles mining and exploration information, including for geothermal energy purposes. The Department provides the following links:

    • GeoView.WA – an interactive tool to access and map current geothermal titles and geothermal applications, as well as a number of other geological and mineral data sets.
    • Data and software centre – data accessible through GeoView.WA can be freely downloaded from here for use in GIS software.
    • Geoscience publications – a searchable database containing geothermal studies and reports, many of which contain maps and other location information.

    Land access for exploration and development

    Management of geothermal exploration and development in Western Australia is primarily the responsibility of Minister for Mines and Petroleum through the Department of Mines and Petroleum. Project developers must apply for geothermal titles with more information and relevant documents available here [external website]. The Department also provides:

    • Maps and downloads [external website] – includes maps showing geothermal titles in Western Australia.