Geothermal energy is heat from the Earth. It is a renewable energy source with many applications including, heating, cooling and electricity generation.
In Western Australia, geothermal heat from the Perth Basin was first used in 1899 at the Perth Zoo. It has become widely used since the mid-1990s, mostly for the heating of large swimming pools. Geothermal systems for swimming pools in Western Australia currently generate over 75,000 MWh of heat every year, offsetting over 20,000 t CO2 annually when compared to conventional gas-boilers.
Geothermal energy can also be used to generate electricity. The low temperature, Winton 310 kW power plant in Queensland is the only operating geothermal electricity project in Australia. However, several medium to high temperature electricity projects are planned in Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia, and the potential for geothermal electricity generation in neighbouring Indonesia, PNG and other Pacific Ring of Fire countries is high.