Mixed Greens: Geodynamics to go it alone on Innamincka

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Origin exits Australia’s flagship geothermal project, for now. Algae.Tec’s big plans; first turbine for Danish offshore wind farm; ACTGreens’ emissions plan.

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Geothermal hopeful Geodynamics’ joint venture with Origin Energy for the development of hot rock geothermal energy in central Australia has effectively been suspended – at least for the 2013 fiscal year. After announcing last month that Origin Energy had declined to throw in more funds for the immediate drilling program of the Innamincka Deeps project, after it ran over budget, Geodynamics said on Tuesday that it will be carrying out the entire 2012/13 works by itself. This would likely include well testing and the connection of a 1MW pilot plant at Innamincka.

Origin Energy, which has been winding back its commitment to cutting edge technologies such as geothermal and the Sliver solar PV development, and cutting its losses, has the right to buy back into its full 30 per cent participation in the project by the end of the financial year. Geodynamics says it has enough cash to carry out the 2012/13 work program at the Habanero 4 well in the Cooper Basin, and said will meet continuing commitments with its own cash holdings, as well as drawing down funding under the $90 million Renewable Energy Demonstration Program (REDP) grant as milestones are achieved.

Geodynamics CEO Geoff Ward said the company acknowledges Origin Energy’s decision to not participate in this year’s capital work program. “We appreciate their support to date and their ongoing participation in the Joint Venture and look forward to continuing to work with Origin Energy on the long term development of geothermal power in Australia.”

Alga.Tec on the make

Listed Australian algal fuel maker Algae.Tec has revealed plans to raise as much as $US600 million and win fuel supply deals allowing it to build as many as six factories by 2015 in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Australia and the US. The news comes after the company revealed last weekit was working with Lufthansa, Europe’s second-biggest airline, to build a large-scale aviation biofuels factory in the south of the region. Lufthansa will contribute to funding for the project and buy at least half of the fuel produced at an agreed price. Bloomberg reports that Algae.Tec has also begun talks with Brazilian partners, over plans to build one or two factories in the country. “There’s no shortage of people who will buy the fuel; both our biodiesel and jet fuel,” chairman Roger Stroud said in an interview on Monday. The company is also assessing the possibility of a plant in Sri Lanka as part of its joint venture with a unit of Holcim Ltd.

In other news…

Danish utility DONG Energy has brought the first turbine onstream at its Anholt offshore wind farm – set to be the country’s biggest, with a total capacity of 400MW. Reuters reports that the Anholt project is expected to deliver enough power for 400,000 households once completed in a year’s time.

The ACT Greens have revealed their action plan to reduce Canberra’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent in 2020 Key components include: a legislative requirement for all ACT energy providers to source 90 per cent of their electricity from renewables in 2020; a guaranteed payment for households and businesses installing PV; minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties; and a review of the Territory Plan to ensure all future development meets the 40 per cent target.

And the executive shuffle continues at energy consultancy AECOM, with Michael Batchelor named Australia/NZ chief executive and Chris Tatam to become COO as of 1 October 2012. Tatam has filled the position vacated by Batchelor, who replaces outgoing CEO Richard Jackson, who is retiring after 25 years with AECOM.

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