Winton Shire Council, in Queensland’s central west has approved a $3.5 million geothermal facility that will provide power for council infrastructure.
Two 150kW geothermal plants are expected to save the council up to $400,000 per year, and up to $15 million over a 20-year period.
The project has been in the feasibility and planning stages since early last year, and completion of the project is planned for the end of 2016.
Wilton is located on the Great Artesian Basin, and the geothermal facility will produce power by cooling the heated artesian water which emerges from the ground at 87 degrees.
Clinton Parker from Local Government Infrastructure Services (LGIS) told ABC Online the development would pioneer geothermal energy as a source of power for an Australian council.
“Well there’s not a council in Australia that would be powered by geothermal energy, this is definitely the first,” he said.
“Australia is the only country and continent that hasn’t really exploited its geothermal energy and we’ve got some really good resources under the ground there.
“Winton is the first to really realise that.”
Mr Parker said LGIS has received interest in geothermal projects from neighbouring councils.
“We’re talking to 10 other councils at the moment who are in the pre-feasibility stages of looking at geothermal.
“Actually one has now progressed to the design phase, which is fantastic,” he said.