Adelaide, Australia [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Australia’s emerging geothermal energy sector has been boosted with confirmation from new tests that Petratherm’s South Australian exploration well has officially recorded one of the country’s highest “hot rocks” temperatures at levels much closer to surface than previous wells.The Paralana-1 geothermal test well result paves the way for Petratherm Limited to now consider the feasibility of moving to the third stage of its project to develop a commercial geothermal resource in far north South Australia. This stage would drill two new wells near Paralana-1, up to twice the depth of the test well, to prove the expected thermal resource increase, undertake circulation tests and establish an underground heat exchanger. Under this trial heat exchange program, water would be pumped from the surface down one of the new wells and circulated through hot rocks at approximately 3.6 kilometers depth. It would then be returned to surface via the second well as superheated water able to produce steam to drive generators. The drilling and circulation work would be a precursor to developing an electricity generation plant at Paralana of around 7.5 megawatts (MW) capacity to supply local demand. Petratherm’s Managing Director, Terry Kallis, said the temperature results from testing provided a high level of confidence that the broader Paralana region hosted a large enough geothermal resource to allow long-term commercial development and exploitation. “It is heartening, however, that Australia’s geothermal potential is now viewed within the broader energy supply sector as a near-term, clean, greenhouse option for electricity and this has brought interest in both Petratherm and project involvement,” Kallis added.