Monday, July 21, 2014

Technology:

Q&A: FORGE-ing Ahead to Clean, Low-Cost Geothermal Energy (DOE/EERE)

The Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) will be a research site in the United States that allows scientists and engineers to develop and test new technologies for Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS).


Papua New Guinea, New Zealand:


New Zealand has agreed to provide its consultants to help  Papua New Guinea (PNG) government draw up its geothermal policy.

Dr Clement Waine, Acting Secretary of the Public Enterprise Department, says they have just completed a terms of reference which they will provide to their New Zealand counterparts.

He says the policy will provide a pathway for the government in dealing with resources that will provide energy needs for the country as in other countries.

The policy should cover sources of energy from water to hot springs, wind  to gas and petroleum products.

“We believe this policy will affect the mining and gas policy and so we will be working in consultation with appropriate line agencies,” he says.

Dr Waine says they will also be working closely with the New Zealand government to include in the policy participation and benefits of landowners. It is not clear at this stage when the policy will be ready.

Read More......

Ukraine, Iceland:

Iceland Offers to Map Ukraine’s Geothermal Heat (Iceland Review Online)

(Courtesy CIA.gov)
Foreign Minister of Iceland Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson offered Iceland’s help in mapping Ukraine’s geothermal energy resources to Deputy Head of the Ukrainian National Agency on Ensuring of Efficient Use of Energy Resources (NAER) Vitalii Grygorovskyi in a meeting last week.

In the meeting, Gunnar and Grygorovskyi discussed the collaboration of Icelandic and Ukrainian authorities on harnessing geothermal energy. They decided to launch preparations to that end, as stated in a press release from the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Gunnar believes there are opportunities for harnessing geothermal energy in western Ukraine. Help from Icelandic experts in the field, along with that from specialists from other countries, such as Romania and Hungary, can prove important to Ukraine in determining the next steps.

Gunnar added that harnessing geothermal energy, as a pure and stable resource, can prove valuable to Ukraine’s inhabitants, especially for heating purposes.

Technology:

Patent Issued for Geothermal Power-Generation System by Compressed Air (4 Traders - News Release)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Tokyo, JP) has been issued US patent number 8769951 that describes a closed loop generation system that uses compressed air heated by geothermal heat to power the turbine.

The image to the left describes the process, to provide a compressor (11) that compresses air, a heating device (14) that heats compressed air compressed by the compressor (11) by geothermal heat, a turbine (12) that obtains a rotational force by heated compressed air heated by the heating device (14), and a generator (13) that generates power by the rotational force inputted from the turbine (12).

According to the apparatuses described in the patent literatures, a sealed piping in which a water intake pipe is placed so as to surround a water supply pipe is provided in the ground, water supplied through the water supply pipe is heated by geothermal heat at a lower heat exchange unit, the heated fluid is taken out to the ground through the water intake pipe, and vapor is separated therefrom by a vapor-water separator to drive and rotate a turbine.

Read More......

India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet:

Himalayan Geothermal Potential Untapped (SciDev.Net)

  • Given funds for research, geothermal energy locked in the Himalayas could be safely exploited
  • India, Nepal and Tibet fall in a ‘geothermal province’ holding several thousand megawatts
  • Geothermal energy can reduce the use of fossil fuels for heating in the Himalayan winters


Thousands of megawatts of geothermal energy remain locked up in the Himalayas because of environmental considerations and lack of investment in research, say international geologists.
 
“I hope lessons from elsewhere in the world can help harness these resources in the Himalayas,” Joe Moore, a geologist at the Energy and Geosciences Institute, University of Utah and GRC Member, told a conference on sustainable resource development held last month (June) in Leh, Jammu and Kashmir state, India.

“The hottest and best known of the geothermal systems are in Jammu and Kashmir, which form part of the northwest Himalayan ‘geothermal province’ that extends through Nepal and Tibet,” Moore says. 

USA:

Renewables Provide Almost 56% of New Electrical Generating Capacity in USA (Renewable Energy Focus)

Solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydropower provided 55.7% of new installed US electrical generating capacity in first six months of 2014.


According to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report, solar accounted for nearly a third of new US generating capacity thus far in 2014: 32.1% (1,131 MW), wind provided 19.8% (699 MW), followed by biomass (2.5% - 87 MW), geothermal (0.9% - 32 MW), and hydropower (0.5% - 16 MW).

Most of the balance (1,555 MW - 44.1%) of the new generating capacity was provided by natural gas while no new coal or nuclear power capacity was reported.

Renewable energy sources now account for 16.28% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: water - 8.57%, wind - 5.26%, biomass - 1.37%, solar - 0.75%, and geothermal steam - 0.33%. This is up from 14.76% two years earlier (i.e., June 30, 2012) and is now more than nuclear (9.24%) and oil (4.03%) combined.

Read More.....

Philippines:

Geothermal Energy Company Donates School Supplies (Manila Standard Today)

Grade 4 students of Basud Elementary School in Sorsogon City 
proudly show off the assorted school supplies they received from 
EDC- BacMan. (Courtesy Manila Standard Today)
The Bacon-Manito Geothermal Project (BacMan) of Energy Development Corp. (EDC) has distributed school supplies to 4,229 elementary students in 14 schools in Sorsogon City and Manito, Albay.

Each student received packs containing pad paper, notebooks, rulers and writing instruments. Kindergarten pupils also received modeling clay, along with the common supplies given to the rest.

“We are pleased to have distributed all these school supplies to so many students in time for the school opening,” EDC Bacman Deputy Head Jay Soriano said.

“We are glad that we have somehow helped ease the cost of education for the families of these children and are making it easier for them to pursue learning.

Read More.....

Philippines:

PSALM to Auction Rest of Leyte Geothermal in 2015 (BusinessWorld Online Edition)

The Philippines Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) plans to conduct a second-round auction for the remaining capacity of the Unified Leyte geothermal power plant (ULGPP) early next year.

Emmanuel R. Ledesma, Jr., PSALM president and chief executive officer, said the company is preparing the bid documents for the independent power producer administrator (IPPA) contract.

“The ULGPP bulk energy is targeted to be bid out again in the first quarter of 2015,” he said in a text message over the weekend.

The ULGPP complex -- which straddles Ormoc City and municipality of Kananga -- is composed of the 125-MW Upper Mahiao plant, 232.5-MW Malitbog plant, 180-MW Mahanagdong plant, and 51-MW optimization plants.

As IPPAs, winning firms would manage the contracted output of the power plant, which can be traded on the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

Read More......

Australia:

Petratherm Shelves Paralana Geothermal Project (InterAksyon)

Geothermal company Petratherm has shelved a "hot rocks" energy project in the far north of South Australia because of a funds shortfall.

The Paralana project had secured $24.5 million as a Renewable Energy Development Program grant but could not raise another $5 million needed.

It has told the Australian Securities Exchange no further time extension will be given and a $13 million Emerging Renewables Program (ERP) grant will be cancelled.

Read More......

Mexico:

Mexico Liberalizes Electricity Generation and Promotes Geothermal Energy (Deutsche Welle)

Sunday's legislative package also included a Geothermal Energy Act to regulate the development geothermal resources for electricity generation in the country.


(Courtesy CIA.gov)
Mexico's Senate voted 88 to 26 on Sunday in favor of a new Electricity Industry Act, which will now move to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house in Mexico's parliament, for further legislative processing.

It creates a National Center for Energy Control (CENACE) and states that the power supply is a service of public interest, but the generation and sale of electricity services are to be provided within "a system of free competition."

The law stipulates that the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) shall establish mechanisms to calculate the maximum rates that may be charged for electricity.

Read More.....

Global:

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo - Preliminary Program


Friday, July 18, 2014

Opinion:

100 GW Of US Geothermal Power Will Push US Past Gas (Clean Technica)

Natural gas has been having a field day in the US energy profile for the past dozen years or so, but it looks like the sleeping giant of US geothermal power is being nudged out of its stupor. Yesterday, the Energy Department announced that it is plunking down $31 million to rev up a cutting edge geothermal demo project that could enable the US to tap into an estimated 100 gigawatts of geothermal power.

The new geothermal project, called FORGE for Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy, is just one of a package of clean energy investments that President Obama has been rolling out in recent days.

Read More....

USA:

Energy Department Announces $31 Million for Initial Phases of Enhanced Geothermal Systems Field Observatory (DOE)

As part of the Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department today announced up to $31 million to establish the initial phases of the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE), a field laboratory dedicated to cutting-edge research on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). EGS are engineered reservoirs, created beneath the surface of the Earth, where there is hot rock but limited pathways through which fluid can flow. During EGS development, underground fluid pathways are safely created and their size and connectivity increased. These enhanced pathways allow fluid to circulate throughout the hot rock and carry heat to the surface to generate electricity. In the long term, EGS may enable domestic access to a geographically-diverse baseload, and carbon-free energy resource on the order of 100 gigawatts, or enough to power about 100 million homes.

The FORGE initiative is comprised of three phases. The first two phases focus on selecting both a site and an operations team, as well as preparing and fully characterizing the site. In Phase 1, $2 million will be available over one year for selected teams to perform analysis on the suitability of their proposed site and to develop plans for Phase 2. Subject to the availability of appropriations, up to $29 million in funding is planned for Phase 2, during which teams will work to fully instrument, characterize, and permit candidate sites.

Subject to the availability of appropriations, Phase 3 will fund full implementation of FORGE at a single site, managed by a single operations team. This phase will be guided by a collaborative research strategy and executed via annual R&D solicitations designed to improve, optimize, and drive down the costs of deploying EGS. In this phase, partners from industry, academia, and the national laboratories will have ongoing opportunities to conduct new and innovative R&D at the site in critical research areas such as reservoir characterization, reservoir creation, and reservoir sustainability.

The Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) funds more than 150 geothermal research, development, demonstration, and analysis projects. Follow our progress with the 2013 Peer Review Report or view program achievements in the 2013 Annual Report. Data from this project and other GTO-funded research will be made publicly available via the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) on an open-source platform. Find out more about this free information tool here. View the full funding announcement here or visit the new FORGE website.

Opinion:

Geothermal: A Comfortable Way To Cut Costs (Seaside Courier)

One way to keep your home at a comfortable temperature without your heating and cooling bills going sky high can be found underground.

Geothermal systems are among the most efficient, energy-saving, environmentally conscious ways to climate control around. A geothermal heat pump can give you years of reliable, safe home comfort at a low operating cost. Here are a few of the benefits:

Enhanced Comfort


Geothermal systems can provide precise distribution of comfortable air all year long, eliminating hot spots and cold spots. During heating, you’ll experience warm air without the hot blasts associated with ordinary gas furnaces or the cooler air of an air-source heat pump. Additionally, when cooling, geothermal systems deliver cool, dehumidified air.

Read More...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Australia:

Report Evaluates Geothermal Energy in Australia (Daily Fusion)

The Board of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has endorsed the International Geothermal Expert Group’s report on the barriers and opportunities for geothermal energy in Australia.

ARENA Chair Greg Bourne said ARENA convened the group to analyze the geothermal sector in Australia and present the Board with options for realizing the potential of geothermal in the coming decades.

“The IGEG report and supporting studies establish a robust evidence base that should inform the design of future policy and programs to support the long term commercial development of geothermal energy in Australia. This will ensure that geothermal energy is developed as a viable source of energy on a sustainable, commercial level without long-term subsidy,” Mr Bourne said.

Chair of the International Geothermal Expert Group, Professor Quentin Grafton, said that the report provides a robust evidence base.

Read More....


USA:

Geothermal helping deliver clean energy future for California (Space Daily)

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its fourth annual National Geothermal Summit Tuesday, August 5 and Wednesday, August 6 in Reno, Nevada. Renewable energy development in California is expected to be at the center of many conversations.

The leading forum for western state policy discussions, the National Geothermal Summit will bring together policy leaders, utilities and industry professionals to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the industry.

Read More.....

Global:

Become a Member of the Geothermal Resources Council - the Global Geothermal Community

With the experience and dedication of its diverse, international membership and a 40-year plus track record, the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) has built a solid reputation as the world’s premier geothermal association. The GRC serves as a focal point for continuing professional development for its members through its outreach, information transfer and education services.

To join or renew download: GRC Membership Application (PDF)

Current GRC Members can update profile information, renew membership or search the Membership Database by using your Member ID and Password.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

GRC Annual Meeting:


 GRC Annual Meeting Registration Is Now Open!

Don't miss out on the early bird discount and register for the largest annual geothermal conference in the world, the GRC Annual Meeting and GEA Energy Expo. Save $100 by registering now! Early Bird Discount ends August 30, 2014.



Reserve your hotel room now at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower or DoubleTree by Hilton Portland. Rates from $139.00 USD/Night. Discount ends September 3 or when the room block is sold out. For more information, please visit the GRC website.

Be part of the show! Have you booked your booth yet? There are a few booths left, book it now through the GEA Website.

Canada:

Canada’s oil and gas and geothermal industries team up to tap into the Earth’s furnace (Alberta Oil)

Imagine a collection of pumpjacks spread out over a southern Saskatchewan oilfield. Beside each stands a compact geothermal power plant, about the size of a dome-shaped Quonset hut, that draws hot water 24 hours a day, seven days a week from an aquifer three kilometers below the Earth’s surface.

These small facilities are tied into a common grid and can collectively produce a constant 100-megawatt supply of electricity, enough to power roughly 100,000 homes. Because the original wells for the geothermal facilities were drilled by oil and gas companies, the electricity comes at a relatively low cost.

Read More...

USA, Washington D.C.:

Senate OKs Wyden-Merkley bill to boost geothermal (KTVZ)

Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., on Thursday applauded the Senate’s passage of their legislation to encourage more geothermal energy production on federal lands.


The Geothermal Production Expansion Act of 2013, S. 363, streamlines the federal geothermal leasing program to encourage development of geothermal power by making adjacent development rights available at fair market rates.

“This bill promotes clean energy development while protecting taxpayers,” Wyden said. “I encourage my colleagues on the House side to pass this bill so geothermal developers can get development rights at fair market value without having to wait for lease nominations or speculators driving up the price of leases.”

Read More.....

Costa Rica:

Geothermal energy project receives approval in Costa Rica (Hydrogen Fuel)

New project wins the approval of country’s lawmakers and attracts the interest of investors

A new geothermal energy project has been approved in Costa Rica. The country’s Legislative Assembly approved the project late last week and this approval has opened the way for new funding to reach the project and be put to use. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the European Investment Bank are two potential investment sources for the project. The Japanese agency is expected to invest some $540 million into the project with the European Investment Bank providing $70 million.

Geothermal power continues to gain momentum throughout Cost Rica


Geothermal energy is gaining more attention in countries where geological activity is relatively common, such as Costa Rica. These countries have access to geothermal power that could be used to satisfy their energy needs, but much of this power remains untapped due to a variety of reasons, including politics and concerns regarding the environment. The project aims to solve this problem, to some extent, but giving Costa Rica access to its geothermal resources. Read More....

Indonesia:

Toshiba to Supply Steam Turbine and Generators for One of World's Largest-class Geothermal Power Plant Projects (Business Wire)

TOKYO--Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO:6502), today announced that is has been awarded a major contract to supply 3 x 60-megawatt geothermal steam turbines and generators (STG) for one of the world’s largest geothermal power plants, the Sarulla geothermal power plant project, which is now under construction in Tapanali Utara in Indonesia’s North Sumatra.

Toshiba, the world’s leading supplier of geothermal power generation equipment, was awarded the contract by Sarulla Operations Ltd. (SOL), a four-company consortium of Itochu Corporation and Kyushu Electric Power Co. Inc. of Japan, PT Medco Power Indonesia of Indonesia, and ORMAT International, Inc. of the U.S.A. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor is Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd. (HDEC). Toshiba will start to supply STGs to HDEC in July 2015, and the plant is scheduled to start operation in November 2016. Its output will account for approximately 1% of Indonesia’s total power generation.

Indonesia has the world's second largest geothermal resources, a potential generating capacity of 28,000MW, but installed capacity to date is a low 1,300MW*1. With growth driving demand and shortfalls in supply, the Indonesian government is promoting geothermal power as a means to raise generating capacity and reduce reliance on oil, where demand outstripped local production in 2004. Government plans include IPP projects with a capacity of 12,000MW*2 by 2025, which the Japanese government is supporting through its yen loan program. Read More....

USA, Yellowstone National Park:

Geothermal Heat Melting Road in Yellowstone (Nature World News)

Geothermal heat is melting the asphalt on Firehole Lake Drive, a popular road in Yellowstone National Park, forcing officials to close it down Thursday. (Photo: National Park Service)

Geothermal heat is melting the asphalt on Firehole Lake Drive, a popular road in Yellowstone National Park, forcing officials to close it down Thursday.

Part of the drive, a scenic one-way road off of Yellowstone's main loop, was shut down for repairs when oil bubbled to the surface, damaging the blacktop and creating unsafe driving conditions, the Park Service said in a statement. The closure doesn't affect the Grand Loop Road, which sees 20,000 visitors each day during the summer.

Read More....

Indonesia:

Geothermal Bill Likely to Pass Into Law Next Month (Jakarta Globe)

Jakarta. The national legislature is likely to pass the long-awaited geothermal bill into law next month, a move that may unlock a potential 12,000 megawatts in electricity production from protected forests.

Rida Mulyana, the director general of renewable energy and energy conservation at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, said in Jakarta on Tuesday that the government and the House of Representatives had agreed on a bill that would replace the existing geothermal law issued in 2003.

The bill would no longer define geothermal exploration and exploitation as “mining activities,” which has barred development of geothermal energy within restricted forested areas.

“Revision of the [geothermal] law will accelerate development and usage of our geothermal power potential,” Rida said.

“The most important thing is we can use it wherever it’s located, including in conserved forests.”

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has estimated that 42 percent of the country’s geothermal resources are located in protected forest areas. Read More....

Technology:

Geothermal research leads to promising discovery (Hydrogen Fuel News)

Scientists have developed a method for taking a geothermal reservoir’s temperature.

Geothermal research conducted by Berkley lab scientists has lead to the discovery of a “new” way to take the temperature of deep geothermal reservoirs, which is welcome and positive news for scientists who often find it difficult to estimate the temperature of these reservoirs, especially since gauging the temperature is a key step in determining whether a site should be further explored as a clean renewable energy source.

The new method is based on an old technique.

The process for taking the temperature isn’t exactly new. It is actually a 20 year old technique called solute geothermometry, which has undergone a high-tech transformation. More specifically, the new method involves a computer program known as GeoT that measures a deep reservoir’s temperature. It does this first with the concentrations of dissolved salts from a fluid sample that is attained at the surface, for instance, a hot spring. Read More....

USA:

U.S. Geothermal Gives Mid-Year Update (Energy Digital)

Major geothermal energy company U.S. Geothermal, Inc., released details about is operations in its mid-year update Monday.

The company has three major projects underway in Neal Hot Springs, Oregon, San Emidio, Nevada, and Raft River, Idaho. It provided a breakdown of each project and its current status.

At Neal Hot Springs, the company said the three units produced 96,681 MWh in the first half of 2014, a marked 27 percent increase from 2013’s 76,151 MWh. Under the company’s Power Purchase Agreement for the site, prices were seasonally adjusted in March, April, and May, during which time planned outages for maintenance were conducted. Read More.....

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Australia:

ARENA Endorses Geothermal Roadmap (Business Spectator)

The Board of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today endorsed the International Geothermal Expert Group’s report on the barriers and opportunities for geothermal energy in Australia.

ARENA chair Greg Bourne said ARENA convened the group to analyse the geothermal sector in Australia and present the board with options for realising the potential of goethermal in the coming decades.

“We brought together internationally recognised experts with practical experience in geothermal drilling, reservoirs, geology and energy economics,” Mr Bourne said.

Chair of the International Geothermal Expert Group, Professor Quentin Grafton, said that the report provides a robust evidence base.

Read More....

Global:

Report: Geothermal Power Market Forecast to 2019 (PennEnergy)

Geothermal energy offers low emissions and non-reliance on fossil fuels, which are major drivers for the industry, according to a new report conducted by Market Research Reports.

The report, "Geothermal Power Generation Market For Dry Steam, Flash Steam, Binary Cycle Technology - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013 - 2019," predicts that strong regulatory and policy framework around the world will encourage and support the development of geothermal power for the long-term.

The report includes analysis over the market volume and revenue for the global geothermal power generation market. It also includes market size of geothermal power in terms of installed capacity and investments for increasing capacity.

The primary types of technologies considered in the report include dry steam, flash steam and binary cycle power plants. In addition, the market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and rest of the world.

To read the report, click here.

Kenya:

KfW provides financing for 200 MW geothermal project in Kenya (PennEnergy)

The German Development Bank (KfW) has agreed to an almost $109 million loan to Kenya to build a geothermal power project. The Bogoria-Silali geothermal project, which is expected to have a total production capacity of 200 megawatts, will be developed by the Geothermal Development Company (GDC), according to African Review.

In addition to the Bogoria-Silali geothermal project, KfW also provided a $45 million loan for the Nairobi Water Distribution Project to improve access to water in Kenya. These projects are part of Kenya's Vision 2030, which aims to enhance economic opportunities and improve the environmental quality in the country.

Read More.......

Kenya:

Geothermal Energy Project in Kenya a Problem for Locals (hydrogenfuelnews.com)

 Although the Kenya Government has undertaken a massive exploratory process in the Rift Valley to maximize on the potential of geothermal energy within the area, one of the problems with this quest to make the most of this renewable source is that the local Pastoralist Maasai communities, who live off the land where these prospective geothermal deposits exist, were never consulted about the project and many have lost land and have been forced to relocate, repeatedly.

Read More.....

Monday, July 14, 2014

Iceland:

ICDP Workshop: Coring Magma and Related Investigations, Krafla Caldera, Iceland 

September 15-19, 2014
Landsvirkjun, Krafla


Drilling to magma has for decades been a lofty but elusive goal. In 2009, the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) serendipitously hit rhyolite magma at 2100 m depth under Krafla Caldera. Chips of quenched glass and variably crystallized magma were recovered, although the spatial relationships of these lithologies could not be answered because the drilling was not designed for this purpose. The possibility exists to return to this magmatic intrusion, where uniquely the position of the target and drilling conditions are already known.

The Krafla Magma Drilling Project (KMDP) will define characteristics of “magma geothermal”, perhaps an order of magnitude more powerful than conventional geothermal, and understand intra-caldera intrusions, the main source of caldera unrest. High-temperature engineering, core and fluid studies, borehole measurements, plus surface geophysical and geochemical observations to measure responses to flow and injection experiments will be included.

A workshop to formulate KMDP will be held September 15-19, 2014 at Landsvirkjun Company at Krafla. To participate, please submit a 1-page application describing intended contributions. Representatives of existing Krafla projects and high temperature drilling experts are needed. Attendance is limited with preference for scientists from ICDP-member countries. Travel support is available. Applications should be sent to jceichelberger@alaska.edu with “KMDP” in the subject line by July 27.

Opinion:

Geothermal: The Other Alternative Energy (Motley Fool)

Considering the growing movement to become energy independent and lower carbon output, there is no better time to explore the benefits of geothermal power. 


With a growing movement to adopt more sustainable energy solutions, investors may be interested in knowing that geothermal fields produce just one-sixth of the carbon dioxide that a clean natural-gas-fueled power plant produces, and this energy production is seen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the most efficient, clean, and cost effective for temperature control. Considering the growing movement to become energy independent and lower carbon output, there is no better time to explore the benefits of geothermal power.

While I'm a huge fan of wind and solar applications, they are intermittent, and energy storage solutions are still a concern. This has me thinking there is room for geothermal to wiggle itself into the renewable conversation without the need to depend entirely on storage solutions.

Read More......

Australia:

Finding Majesty in the Earth's Dynamics (The Age)

Professor Mike Sandiford
In some circles, Mike Sandiford is known as the scientist who helped start Australia talking about geothermal energy; others know him better as the earthquake expert. Professor Sandiford is also one of the visionaries who united all the energy-related researchers at the University of Melbourne into the Melbourne Energy Institute; yet he sums himself up as the “accidental scientist”.

“I seem to change earth science disciplines every five years,” he says.

“Before I joined the University in 2000, my research in South Australia spurred interest in the geothermal energy sector in Australia. While I ended up advocating for this alternative energy source, it’s not actually what I set out to investigate. I spent a lot of time mapping South Australia’s hot rock province to understand how it dictated the location of earthquakes in Australia, and how it was expressed at the geological evolution of the Australian continent.

“But one should never ignore the science in societal terms. While geothermal energy potential has not yet been realized, we now know there is a vast resource in Australia.”

Read More.....

Kenya:

GDC Plans to Add 200 MWe to the Grid By 2016 (AllAfrica.com)

Geothermal Development Company (GDC) plans to add an additional 200 megawatts of power to the 1,700MW-capacity Kenyan national grid by December 2016.

This will take the capacity of geothermal steam generated by the GDC to 700 MW from current 479 MW.

The Kenyan National Treasury on Thursday evening signed a Sh9.56 billion credit (€80 million ) with German Development Agency(KfW) with a grant component of up to 35 per cent towards of geothermal steam fields at the 3,000 MW-capacity Bogoria-Silali project.

The concessional loan has an interest of 1.75 per cent to be repaid in 10 years with a five year grace period.

It will fund drilling 20 exploration and appraisal geothermal steam wells, infrastructural development and conduct further feasibility study in the area.

Read More......

USA, Idaho:

U.S. Geothermal Provides Mid-Year Update (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. Geothermal Inc. provides this update on the results of its three operating projects for the first half of 2014, and status of development activities.

Neal Hot Springs, Oregon

All three units continue to operate well, with first and second quarter availabilities of 97.7% and 91.4% respectively. (Second quarter availability was impacted by 453 hours of scheduled maintenance, with availability for the balance of the quarter of at 98.3%) Generation for the first and second quarters of 2014 were 56,047 and 40,634 megawatt-hours respectively, for a total generation for the first half of 2014 of 96,681 megawatt-hours. This compared to 76,151 megawatt-hours for the first half of 2013, reflecting a 27% increase over the prior year period.

San Emidio, Nevada

The plant operated well, with first and second quarter availabilities of 99.6% and 78.2% respectively. (Second quarter availability was impacted by 439 hours of scheduled maintenance, with availability for the balance of the quarter at 97.9%) Generation for the first and second quarters of 2014 were 21,223 and 15,687 megawatt-hours, for a total generation for the first half of 2014 of 36,910 megawatt-hours. This compared to 37,267 megawatt-hours for the first half of 2013, reflecting a 1% decrease over the prior year period. While the first quarter exceeded the prior year generation by 10%, this was offset by second quarter generation falling short of prior year generation by 13% as a result of an extended outage taken in April.

Raft River, Idaho

The plant performance was exceptional, with first and second quarter availabilities of 99.5% and 94.0% respectively. (Second quarter availability was impacted by 108 hours of scheduled maintenance, with availability for the balance of the quarter at 99.1%) Generation for the first two quarters of 2014 were 21,614 and 18,067 megawatt-hours, for a total generation for the first half of 2014 of 39,681 megawatt-hours. This compared to 36,923 megawatt-hours for the first half of 2013, reflecting a 7% increase over the prior year period.

Read More......

Science:

How to Keep Things Hot at Yellowstone and Katla: Just Add Water (Wired)

A large fumarole (steam vent) in the Norris Basin at Yellowstone.
Photo by Erik Klemetti.
Two volcanoes that get the interwebs all hot and bothered have made the news in the last week. First, Katla in Iceland produced some glacial flooding (jökulhlaups) that followed some earthquakes. Second, over at everyone’s favorite caldera, Yellowstone, there has been a lot of buzz over roads melting due to heat from the volcano.

Now, as odd as it might seem, these two events are connected by the same process: geothermal (and hydrothermal) activity.

When it comes down to it, most volcanoes are sitting on big heat sources. One way to lose the heat is by erupting, but probably the most important way to lose the heat is by the circulation of water in the crust. This water help keep things hot by efficiently moving heat generated by the magma that might be 5-6 kilometers (or more) below the surface and bringing it up to the surface — all of this happening when there is no threat of an eruption.

Read More......

Colombia:

Geothermal Project in Colombia Succeeds Through Participatory Development (Renewable Energy World.com)

An aerial view of Volcan Nevado del Ruiz and surrounding areas. Credit: Dewhurst
A carefully planned social impact assessment is necessary for successful and sustainable geothermal projects in the developing world and a new project in Colombia does just that.

Anyone involved with infrastructure development knows all too well the effects that projects have on local communities. These effects can be positive or negative, but experience tells us that social and political conflict seems to be an inevitable part of the development process. In places with existing social, political, and economic turmoil, the risk of conflict is high and begins at the earliest stages of exploration and planning.

In corporate lingo, companies speak of “risk mitigation” when preparing to go into such regions. They calculate costs and benefits and develop risk mitigation strategies as they would for any sort of calculable risk whether it be social, environmental, or economic.

However, when it comes to geothermal projects, this strategy is inherently flawed. The geothermal industry needs to take greater steps both to address conflict and place a greater emphasis on social responsibility and sustainability.

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Global:

Speakers Announced for Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting

Major names in the international geothermal community and regional and national politics will address the geothermal energy industry at the GRC Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, USA.



The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) has announced more details of events at the world’s largest annual geothermal conference, the GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo, held this year at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, September 28-October 1, 2014.

The speakers at the Opening Session of the GRC Annual Meeting on Monday morning, September 29 includes major names in the international geothermal community and regional and national politics: Juliet Newson, President of  the International Geothermal Association Board of Directors; Oregon Senator Ron Wyden; Oregon Congressman Greg Walden; Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber; Pat Reitan, CEO, PacifiCorp; Isaac Angel, CEO, ORMAT; Dennis Gilles, CEO, US Geothermal; Rachel Shimshak, Executive Director,  Renewable Northwest; Carl Stills, Energy Manager,  Imperial Irrigation District; David Olsen, California ISO Board of Directors; Louis Capuano Jr., GRC president, and Craig Mataczynski, Geothermal Energy Association president.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Australia:

Glenelg Shire Campaigns for Portland Geothermal Redevelopment (Energy Business News)

The Portland geothermal system redevelopment will be presented to the Victorian Government this week as part of a $50 million wish-list from the Glenelg Shire Council.

The redevelopment of the Portland geothermal system is estimated to cost around $3.25 million.

Located in Henty Park, Portland, the geothermal system was constructed in 1983, but closed during 2006 due to structural concerns.

Using 60 degree water drawn from the ground, the geothermal system heated a number of CBD public buildings, a large motel, the Portland hospital and a swimming pool during its life, with zero waste.

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USA, California:

Feds Approve $1 Million for Salton Sea Restoration (The Desert Sun)

The U.S House of Representatives late Thursday approved a spending bill that includes $1 million for Salton Sea restoration.


Rep. Raul Ruiz, Democrat - Palm Desert
Rep. Raul Ruiz, Democrat - Palm Desert, successfully sought that money for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which has monitored water quality and analyzed various restoration proposals over the years despite the lack of a comprehensive restoration plan.

Ruiz's Salton Sea amendment was added to the spending bill, which would pay for the federal government's energy and water resources programs in fiscal 2015. The Ruiz amendment passed by voice vote on Wednesday, meaning no roll was taken. No one spoke against it.

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Washington:

Geothermal Favorability Model of Washington State (Washington State Geology News)

New publication from Washington State Division of Geology and Earth Resources


Geothermal Resource Potential Map of Washington State
Geographic Information System (GIS) modeling of statewide heat, permeability, and infrastructure data, including volcanic centers, faults, earthquakes, temperature-gradient wells, thermal springs, young silicic intrusive rocks, and transmission lines produced layers showing relative geothermal favorability in Washington State. Regional modeling like this is one way to reduce costs in geothermal exploration by helping to more precisely locate areas worthy of additional research.

Geothermal Favorability Model of Washington State (PDF)


Washington State is adjacent to Oregon, host to the GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Expo being held September 28 - October 1 at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland. A pre-meeting GRC Fieldtrip will visit Mount St. Helens. The Wind River Valley is just 50 miles from Portland.

Nevada:

BLM Seeking Comments on Steamboat Geothermal Project (ThisIsReno)

Comments accepted until 4:30 p.m. PST August 11, 2014.


Steamboat Geothermal Complex (Courtesy Ormat)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Carson City District, Stillwater Field Office, has completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Steamboat Geothermal Well(s) 16-32 Project proposed by Ormat Nevada Inc. The public is invited to submit comments through August 11, 2014.

Ormat is proposing to construct, operate, and maintain the Steamboat Geothermal Project in Washoe County, Nevada, on public land managed by the Forest Service within the Steamboat Geothermal Lease area administered by the BLM. This EA analyzes potential impacts from the proposed development and possible future utilization activities. The proposed activities include:

  • Improving and maintaining an existing access road (on lease);
  • Construction of one exploration well drill pad;
  • Drilling and completing up to three exploration wells to a depth of up to 3,500 feet from the constructed drill pad;
  • Flow-testing each exploration well to obtain samples of geothermal fluids and to collect aquifer information from the geothermal reservoir; and
  • If necessary, installing above ground pipeline to connect to an existing pipeline and power plant.


Steamboat Geothermal Well(s) 16-32 Project EA - comments accepted until 4:30 p.m. PST August 11, 2014.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chile:

Renovables Buscan Superar El 45 % De Generación En 2025, Chile - Chile’s Ambitious Plan to Add 600 MW Green Power Annually (Piensa En Geotermia)


(Courtesy CIA.gov)
600 MW de energías renovables por año es la cifra clave de cara a cumplir el objetivo que se ha establecido Chile vista 2025 y de los cuales la geotermia aún cuenta con muy poco protagonismo.

The new Energy Agenda wants Chile to focus heavily on renewable energy, expecting the country to have 45% of electricity coming from green sources by 2025. In order to achieve these goals, 600 MW of renewables must be installed per annum.

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China:

China Calls for Local Planning on Geothermal Energy Use (Bloomberg Businessweek)

(Courtesy CIA.gov)
China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, asked local authorities to draft plans for geothermal energy use by 2020 and submit them by the end of this year.

The nation wants to first develop geothermal power in areas with high-temperature resources and then promote medium-temperature geothermal and hot, dry-rock power after that, according to a statement on the website of the National Energy Administration.

The government in March said it’s targeting 100 megawatts of geothermal power by 2015 and will speed up setting power prices for commercialized projects. It plans national geothermal development demonstration projects in northern, central and southwest China.

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USA:

Geothermal Production Expansion Bill Passes the Senate (Politico)

The U.S. Senate yesterday cleared by unanimous consent the Geothermal Production Expansion Act, a bipartisan bill that would authorize the Bureau of Land Management to offer noncompetitive leases of up to 640 acres of land adjacent to geothermal resources in order for geothermal companies to expand.

S. 363 is sponsored by Ron Wyden, Senior Senator from Oregon and co-sponsored by  Mark Begich [D-AK], Michael Crapo [R-ID], Jeff Merkley [D-OR], Lisa Murkowski [R-AK] and James Risch [R-ID].

The bill next goes to the House for consideration.

Senator Ron Wyden has been invited to speak at the Opening Session of the GRC Annual Meeting being held September 28 - October 1 in Portland, Oregon, USA. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Opinion:

The Geothermal Alternative (Business Standard)

Barun Roy, journalist for Business Standard,
a business daily based in New Delhi
While wind and solar power remain the principal force driving the world's move towards alternative energy, the search is now also beginning to gather pace for another potential resource that has been little pursued so far: energy that exists in the heat of the Earth and, once on tap, is cheap, reliable, virtually endless, and available throughout the year.

The technology is there, the need is growing, and nations must act more aggressively to reduce the danger to the environment from fossil fuels. All this forebodes a better future for geothermal energy, and, significantly, Asia will be playing a leading role in its revival.

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USA:

NREL Releases Report on Policy Options to Advance Geothermal Exploration (DOE/Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy)

A new U.S. Department of Energy report, published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, highlights findings from a review of five policy mechanisms that have been successfully applied to hydrothermal exploration activities around the globe – loan guarantees, drilling failure insurance, lending support, grants, and government-led exploration—and their applicability to the U.S. geothermal market. A significant barrier in geothermal project development is the high investment risk during the resource exploration phase of development projects.

Geothermal Exploration Policy Mechanisms: Lessons for the United States from International Applications (PDF)

New Zealand:

Geothermal Plant Keeps Far North Island Connected During Severe Storm (News Release)

The Ngawha geothermal power station stayed online throughout one of the worst storms to hit the North Island of New Zealand


About 11,000 Far North households remain without power following extensive damage to the region’s electricity network following the severe storm experienced across the region yesterday and last night. The areas that continue to be most impacted by the outages are Taipa, Pukenui, Russell and Opononi.

The storm is the most severe event that Top Energy has experienced for at least a decade and the network has sustained extreme damage right across the Far North. Significantly, this extends beyond wires to include poles and other structures. Sturdy concrete electricity poles have been blown down and even snapped and large 50-60 year-old trees have been blown down across lines and access roads.

Top Energy’s 25 MWe Ngawha geothermal power station stayed on throughout yesterday and last night. It lost one of its outgoing 33kv lines but was able to use the second line. The Station consistently produces around 70% of all electricity consumed in the Far North, which reduces the community’s exposure to possible National Grid failures to the South.

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Philippines:

ABB to Support Relocation of Negros Geothermal Power Plant (Control Engineering Asia)

ABB, a global leader in power and automation technologies based in Zurich, Switzerland, will supply the telecoms system, protection system, instrument and electrical equipment and services for the Northern Negros geothermal power plant relocation project.

ABB was awarded a contract to supply the telecommunications system, protection system, instrument and electrical equipment and services for the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) owned Northern Negros Relocation Project. The project involves relocation of the existing generating unit and electromechanical equipment of the Northern Negros geothermal power plant (NNGPP) to a new location at Nasulo, located in the southeast part of the same island of Negros.

Sumitomo Corp. is engaged as the engineering, procurement, construction contractor for the project. The project is due for completion in 2014.

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Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands:

Maevelle Energy Awarded Contract for Geothermal Exploration in Saipan (Press Release)

Maevelle Energy of Las Vegas, Nevada, USA today announced it has been awarded a contract in joint venture with 4i's CNMI, LLC and Alexander Drilling of CNMI to begin work assessing geothermal resource potential for Saipan, the largest island of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The contract was issued by the Commonwealth Utilities Commission (CUC) of CNMI.

Athough the potential for geothermal energy was highlighted in reports issued by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2010, advancing exploration on CNMI has, until now, been delayed. With this announcement the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation (CUC) is advancing the islands renewable energy plan with this bold commitment to geothermal exploration and resource development.

Once verified and with strategic planning, geothermal could be integrated into the islands' grid, providing energy diversity and stable base loads while lowering consumer rates and eliminating a portion of the islands' import costs by reducing the need for oil supply.

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