Australian Geothermal Industry encouraged by tax win.
The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) congratulates the Australian government in their support for the Australian geothermal energy industry. Announced Sunday, the government of Australia has committed $1.1 billion (A$) to the Australian geothermal energy industry in the form of tax credits and rebates. Effectively, the program will enable geothermal developers in Australia to write-down the capital intensive exploration costs of geothermal development. While envious of the Australian industry advantage, CanGEA notes that this latest announcement may help put greater pressure on the Canadian government to support the industry.
“[The tax break is] what we asked for and we are very pleased,” said Susan Jeanes, Head of the Australian Geothermal Energy Association in a statement. The Canadian Geothermal Energy Industry has repeatedly requested similar support from the Canadian federal government but has yet to see any financial support at this level. Like other renewable energy alternatives, the geothermal industry was disappointed by the federal government’s 2010 Budget which scrapped the EcoEnergy for Renewable Power Program. Although this disappointment is nothing new for the geothermal industry as it was excluded from eligibility in the legislation and has never received any funding from these programs.
“There is a real disconnect between the ambitions and policies of the federal government here in Canada” said David Gowland, Policy Director for CanGEA. “They have set goals of achieving 90% non-emitting power generation by 2020 but at the same time have cut funding for the renewable energy industry”. While the Canadian geothermal industry faces an uphill challenge it is important to note that many of CanGEA’s members have received financial support outside of Canada, totalling more than $43 million in US Department of Energy grants. “A similar level of support from the Canadian government is long overdue” says Gowland.
Around the world, interest in the geothermal industry is rapidly increasing. Last week’s World Geothermal Congress saw over 2,500 participants from around the globe take part in the Bali, Indonesia week-long event. As demand increases for clean, renewable energy the geothermal industry will continue to experience the rapid growth with global installed capacity set to double within the next five years. For Canada’s rich untapped geothermal heritage this represents a vast resource – yet one that will remain unutilized in the absence of strong government support.