A new study on the economic performance of the geothermal heating system for an aquatic centre in Victoria, Australia shows saving of over A$600,000/yr compared to a gas boiler and over 900,000kg/yr of avoided emissions, with a break-even gas cost of A$10.80/GJ (less than a third of the current gas price). The system will pay for itself is less than five years.
ABSTRACT: The Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre (GRAC) opened in the town of Traralgon, Victoria, Australia early in 2021. The GRAC utilizes a geothermal energy heating system as an alternative to conventional natural gas furnaces. We have examined 12 full months of heat production from the geothermal system of the GRAC and compared its economic performance against equivalent heat production by natural gas. The geothermal system—the first of its kind in Victoria—operated at >95% availability over its first year of operation. Our economic assessment indicates that the breakeven price for the geothermal energy is about 35% the equivalent price of natural gas and the payback period for the geothermal system is about five years. The results justify the initial capital outlay by Latrobe City Council and are likely to stimulate further development of geothermal heat systems in the region.