The western Australian city of Perth has been established as one of the world's top five geothermal cities, Australia's top science institution CSIRO said Tuesday.
CSIRO said Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), the US geothermal trade association, had identified Perth as one of the top ten "Geothermal Cities" of the world. Ranking No. 5, Perth's inclusion was unique as it was earned on the merit of plans to become the world's first geothermally cooled city.
The achievement was largely attributed to the Western Australian Geothermal Center of Excellence (WAGCOE).
Established in 2009 with funding support of 2.3 million Australian dollars (2.37 million US dollars) from the state government of Western Australia, WAGCOE brought researchers, industry, investors and government agencies together with the shared vision of creating zero-emission geothermal cities.
WAGCOE Director Professor Klaus Regenauer-Lieb said the center had strived to underpin a new era of energy development by developing local solutions.
"When we consider the challenges of climate change and the need to develop reliable sources of renewable energy, the work of WAGCOE is less about the last four years than the next 50 years," Regenauer-Lieb said.
"At WAGCOE we provided a world-class research and training environment where scientists developed local solutions to revolutionize energy development in Western Australia and contribute to the goal of powering zero-emission geothermal cities. "
Among WAGCOE's other major achievements was the development of a 3-D computer model illustrating a comprehensive geological assessment of the entire Perth Basin, which will act as a template for future geothermal developments in the region.
The center was also instrumental in securing 20 million Australian dollars of Australian government funding for the CSIRO Geothermal Project, which aims to prove the viability of using geothermal energy on a large-scale.