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Mining boss wants price on carbon


|Sourced From News.smh |

Investors will snub the green energy sector until a price is put on carbon, a mining explorer at the forefront of the geothermal energy race says.

Panax Geothermal announced on Thursday that drilling efforts at its Salamander-1 geothermal well near Penola in South Australia has officially produced steam.

The next milestone for the company is in June when testing will reveal if it can convert that steam to base-load power, which will be an Australian first.

Panax Geothermal managing director Bertus de Graaf said it was absolutely vital that a price was put on carbon otherwise coal would remain the cheapest fuel for power generation.

Whether producing geothermal, solar or wind, the renewable energy sector needs a framework.

“Unless there is a price on carbon, the main investors for the market won’t be there,” Dr de Graaf told AAP on Thursday.

“Otherwise the cheapest power will be coal, and we can’t beat coal.

“So unless we put a price on carbon there’s no point doing what we’re doing.”

Origin Energy managing director Grant King said on Wednesday that a carbon price in the range of A$20 to A$40 (US$17.88-35.76) per tonne would drive a substantial change in base load power generation.

The government wants 20 per cent of the nation’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

To get there faster it introduced laws to parliament on Wednesday which aim to make changes to the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme.

From January 2011, the RET scheme will be split into two targets – one for large-scale industry and one for consumers.

The large target will cover renewable energy projects such as wind farms, commercial solar and geothermal that will the majority of the 2020 target.

The small target will include technologies such as solar panels and solar hot water systems and provide a fixed price of $40 per megawatt hour of electricity produced.

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