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Geothermal energy deserves a better go: Whitebark Energy


Whitebark Energy is calling for a stronger thumbs-up to geothermal energy from the Australian Government and industry. Credit: File

Whitebark Energy (ASX: WBE) believes geothermal energy deserves greater recognition from both the Australian Government and industry as a reliable source of baseload power – in line with the global perception of its dependability.


The company is aiming to develop Australia’s first geothermal energy-to-hydrogen project at its tenements in Queensland and is pushing towards a final investment decision (FID) in the first half of next year. It says the project represents a significant milestone within Australia and will validate its use of the “earth’s heat energy” being used to produce hydrogen.


And management confirmed today that its mission had received timely financial impetus through a $500,000 share placement to sophisticated and institutional investors. An entitlement offer allowing shareholders to take part in a further capital raising of up to $1 million for securities offered at the same price as under the placement will also be open shortly.


Australian Federal and State governments and industry have been reluctant to fully embrace the benefits of geothermal energy to date, unlike its global counterparts. Similar projects internationally are being successfully commissioned as the global push for reliable renewables continues at pace.


It has been excellent to see such strong interest in Whitebark’s capital raise so far. This demonstrates investor confidence in Whitebark’s strategy and with the support of our strategic partners Avant, Whitebark will be strongly positioned to access funding opportunities.
Whitebark Energy General Manager Adam Stepanoff

The company is conducting geological modelling and resource assessment as it strives for FID approval for the first of its three intriguing projects. The company’s 100 per cent-owned Geothermal to Hydrogen project is the focus of its attention and lies about 100km west of the town of Windorah in south-west Queensland, comprising an area of 589 square kilometres.


Management says significant geothermal and green hydrogen potential exists within the Great Artesian Basin (GAB). The hottest recorded location in the GAB sits near its ground.


Whitebark notes there is local infrastructure and energy end-users nearby, in addition to the opportunity to support local green hydrogen production. Interestingly, the project falls within Northern Australia Industry Fund (NAIF) region that is available for funding.


The company’s promising south-east Queensland Geothermal Energy project is currently subjected to resource assessment activities and native title clearance works. It is ideally positioned within the National Electricity Network, providing a commercialisation opportunity, potentially in the near-term.


Its Warro Asset in Western Australia is also continuing with activities aimed at propelling its transition to a geothermal project.


Whitebark says an important strategic move as part of its current fundraising campaign has been engaging Avant Group, a firm specialising in securing government funding. Avant will oversee and manage Whitebark’s applications for varying State and Federal allocations.


Since 2012, Avant has secured more than $1.5 billion in grant funding across a range of industries, so may prove a valuable ally in keeping the till ringing.

With a driving ambition to be Australia’s first provider of geothermal energy, Whitebark appears to have the projects – and now the cash – that can assist with meeting its goal.


Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: office@bullsnbears.com.au

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