Leading news: Geothermal Discussed by U.S. Congress, NREL, Ex-Im, Mexico, Colombia, and GEA Member Companies

“This week’s top news for geothermal development and GEA members”

In this post, read about geothermal support from the U.S. Senate; a new NREL report; Ex-Im Bank; new geothermal laws in Mexico and Colombia; GEA member press releases; and a welcome to our new GEA members.

But first, the visual below depicts one of the main types of technology for large-scale commercial geothermal plants: binary.

Air Cooled Binary

from Geothermal Education Office slide show, Slide 49; also featured in GEA’s “Geothermal 101″ handbook [PDF]

Most new geothermal plants under development in the U.S. use binary technology, which allows for producing electricity from geothermal sites lower than 302°F (150°C). This has expanded the U.S. industry’s geographical footprint, especially in the last decade. Recently, some binary geothermal plants have also been fitted with the capability to dispatch, or to change a facility’s power output by ramping up or down depending on system needs, adding further value and grid support.

Ormat Technologies established the technical feasibility of this type of large-scale commercial geothermal technology in 1981 in Imperial Valley, California. Binary plants use an Organic Rankine Cycle system, wherein geothermal water heats a second liquid that boils at a lower temperature than water, such as isobutane or pentafluoropropane. This is called a working fluid (or “motive fluid” in the visual). When the working fluid vaporizes, the force of the expanding vapor, like steam, turns the turbines that power the generators.

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International roundup: Geothermal in Colombia, Nicaragua, Australia, Japan, and more

“Weekly news roundup for international geothermal markets”

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Geothermal photos via Twitter users @jaxdad78 at Yellowstone National Park, U.S., and @catherine_ma_nz in New Zealand

This week’s international roundup brings you headlines from Kenya, Canada, Colombia, Nicaragua, Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, and pan-Europe.

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Leading news: GEA Members’ Experiences Key in Today’s Energy World

“This week’s top news for geothermal development and GEA members”

In this post, read about the Geothermal Energy Association’s latest activities, including the upcoming National Geothermal Summit and a newly released geothermal manual; a new DOE solicitation; and more leading news from the geothermal industry and GEA members.

But first, the visual below shows a typical work flow for geological exploration of geothermal systems:

geologyworkflow_july2014
The methodology is outlined in the newly released “Best Practices for Geothermal Power Risk Reduction Workshop Follow-Up Manual,” and includes:

1. Conducting detailed geologic mapping
2. Identifying stratigraphic horizons (i.e., specific rock units) that may serve as permeable subsurface reservoirs
3. Defining the structural setting and mapping faults in and around the geothermal system
4. Evaluating fault patterns and stress conditions to estimate the tendency for slip and dilation along mapped faults
5. Defining areas where permeability should be enhanced through fault slip and dilation (i.e., play fairways)
6. Integrating geothermal well data (if available) and geophysical data
7. Preparing a 3D model of the geothermal system
8. Selecting drilling locations that target potential play fairways

As the manual explains, following this method and carefully applying a structural settings approach is particularly useful when exploring for “blind” geothermal systems, i.e., those without surface thermal manifestations such as hot springs or fumaroles. See the press release about the publication in this post. Read the new manual in full on GEA’s Web site.

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International roundup: Geothermal in Bolivia, Croatia, Honduras, Iran, and more

“Weekly news roundup for international geothermal markets”

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Geothermal photos via Twitter users @NatlParksPhotos at Yellowstone National Park, U.S., and @julesdwit in Iceland

This week’s international roundup brings you headlines from California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Iran, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nevis, American Samoa, The Philippines, Croatia, France, Iceland, and Turkey.

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Leading news: Geothermal Contributes to Sustainable Futures in California, Nevada, etc.

“This week’s top news for geothermal development and GEA members”

In this post, read about legislation underway in both California and Nevada that considers geothermal energy’s in planning for a sustainable and environmentally balanced future.

Source: EGS, Inc. Note: New technologies have allowed for some scenarios where the “Not Currently Viable”  portion of Figure 2 and the “EGS” portion at depths of 3000m - 5000m and temperatures of 100 - 150°C to become  economical geothermal projects.

Source: EGS, Inc. Note: New technologies have allowed for some scenarios where the “Not Currently Viable” portion and the “EGS” portion at depths of 3000m – 5000m and temperatures of 100 – 150°C to become economical geothermal projects.

The image above schematically illustrates the relationships between geothermal power technologies, depth, temperature and economic feasibility. Deciding how and where geothermal resource extraction will be most viable is “An integral part of geothermal power economics,” notes a recent GEA report titled The Manageable Risks of Conventional Hydrothermal Geothermal Power Systems. “Often geothermal developers spend a substantial amount of time gathering as much information as possible about subsurface conditions in order to reduce risk. This information increases drilling success and decreases geothermal project risk.”

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Weekly roundup: International Geothermal Markets

“Weekly news roundup for international geothermal markets”

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Geothermal photos via Twitter users @IcelandinFocus in Iceland and @CruiseBubble in New Zealand

This week’s international roundup brings you headlines from California, Hawaii, Kenya, Canada, Nevis, Indonesia, The Solomon Islands, Germany, and Romania.

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Leading news: Geothermal Energy a Unique Renewable Resource for States, Nation

“This week’s top news for geothermal development and GEA members”

Read about the latest updates on California’s geothermal procurement bill, Hawaii Island’s proposed geothermal project, and more in the world of geothermal energy.

History of Outreach for Geothermal Evident in 1948 LIFE Magazine Ad
ghp_Life1948
The 1948 LIFE magazine ad above shows images of a geothermal system, with a caption at the bottom: “For those that are concerned about the ‘new’ technology we call Geothermal.” Geothermal power has been used in the U.S. for over 50 years, and today, it is used in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. But it is still often considered a strange or new technology. Do you have questions about geothermal energy? Check out the GEA’s Web site, http://www.geo-energy.org.

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