The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide $450,000 for the University of Adelaide to map geothermal resources in Australia.

ARENA said geothermal projects in Australia face major headwinds due to the high cost and risk involved with drilling deep underground. This is in contrast to geothermal projects in other countries, which benefit from tapping into geothermal heat far closer to the surface.

The $1.62 million project will produce maps of the distribution, orientation and connectivity of fractures in four key sedimentary basins around Australia to better understand the structural “permeability’ in these regions.

“Permeability’ affects how easily liquids and gases can move through and be extracted from earth, including hot water than can be used to generate geothermal power.

Information gleaned from the project will augment knowledge discovered through ARENA-supported geothermal projects and serve as a go-to source for future developments – providing a head-start on viability and risk assessments.

ARENA’s funding for the University of Adelaide project is consistent with its 2014 report Looking Forward: Barriers, Risks and Rewards of the Australian Geothermal Sector to 2020 and 2030″, which recommended a “rebooting’ of Australia’s geothermal industry.