Interior announcement helps geothermal; Tax reform letter; Climate change white paper

The Interior Department reaffirmed their commitment to renewable energy, as well as geothermal specifically, at a Las Vegas conference. Members of Congress join in renewable energy support. The task force charged with recommending actions on the Administration’s climate change plan has released a white paper.

GEA Statement: Interior Department Announcement Will Help to Advance Geothermal
Members of Congress Sign Letter Supporting RE; GEA Endorses It
Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change Release White Paper

GEA Statement: Interior Department Announcement Will Help to Advance Geothermal
Press Release (Washington, D.C.) August 13 – In response to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s keynote address at the National Clean Energy Summit, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has released the following statement from GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell:

“We applaud Secretary Jewell for the announcement today reaffirming the Administration’s commitment to approve 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy production on public lands by 2020. With roughly one-half of the geothermal power produced today located on federal public lands, it is important for the Department of Interior to maintain a priority for leasing and permitting new geothermal power projects.

Today’s announcement will move forward two geothermal areas in Southern California, establishing a new area in the West Chocolate Mountains and approving a new 40 MW power plant in Mono County. It has been estimated that together these federal lands could add 190MW of new geothermal capacity, and for comparison purposes that would produce the equivalent power of over 1,000 MW of solar photovoltaics. If the full capacity expected at these sites is developed, it would mean over 1,200 construction and manufacturing jobs on an annual basis, and approximately 325 full-time permanent jobs in Southern California.

There is strong interest in geothermal development in this area, with several companies recently permitting or building new power plants. We expect as California moves forward to increase its commitment to a carbon-free power system, geothermal power will grow in importance because it can provide the firm or flexible power needed to maintain system reliability, achieve climate goals, and do so with low integration costs.”

GEA recently released an updated Air Emissions Comparison and Externality Analysis showing geothermal energy provides significant benefits to public health and the environment as one of the least-polluting and most environmentally friendly forms of energy. The analysis found binary geothermal plants produce virtually no greenhouse gases (GHG) and dry steam and flash geothermal plants put out only trace amounts of emissions. GEA estimates geothermal provides approximately $88 million in externality benefits per year to California and $29 million to Nevadans by avoiding fossil fuel emissions.

GEA, together with the California Geothermal Energy Collaborative, have published a report “Energizing Southern California’s Economy” that examines the geothermal power potential in Southern California and the economic benefits to the region of developing them. It is available at: (PDF).

Members of Congress Sign Letter Supporting RE; GEA Endorses It
The Geothermal Energy Association endorsed a bipartisan letter to the Ways and Means Committee that supports renewable energy in tax reform. “As the Committee on Ways and Means debates tax reform we urge your continued support for renewable energy,” according to the letter. “With an estimated 3.4 million green jobs in the U.S., which include renewable energy jobs, the industry needs policy certainty to continue to create jobs, grow domestic manufacturing, and produce sustainable, American-made energy.” See our July 18 GEA newsletter ( (PDF))

Sixty members of Congress signed the letter. The signatories were: Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jon Runyan (R-NJ); Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Jim Moran (D-VA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Peter Welch (D-VT), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Takano (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Anne Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Tim Walz (D-MN), John Tierney (D-MA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Anne Kuster (D-NH), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Steve Israel (D-NY), John Conyers (D-MI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Scott Peters (D-CA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA), John P. Sarbanes (D-MD), David P. Joyce (R-OH), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Mike Honda (D-CA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Sam Farr (D-CA), Ron Barber (D-AZ), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), John Delaney (D-MD), Kieth Ellison (D-MN), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), William R. Keating (D-MA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Lois Capps (D-CA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Tom Latham (R-IA), Steve King (R-IA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Elizabeth Esty (D-CT).

Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change Release White Paper
Following up on the Administration’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change released a report this month recommending 20 steps the Department of Energy should take for fulfilling the plan. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) in a statement, “We recommend that the Department of Energy use its broad authorities to address the urgent threat of climate change. The Department of Energy should quickly take the steps outlined in the report, which would reduce carbon pollution while creating jobs and saving consumers money.”

Page 11 of the report notes that while Congress seems unlikely to act to support additional loan guarantees, DOE currently has $2.3 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy loan guarantees as well as $4 billion in loan guarantee authority that it can use for projects of any type. “Congress should act to support additional loan guarantees, but there is little prospect that Congress will do so in the near term . . . “We recommend that DOE support innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to the full extent of DOE’s remaining authority. Providing loan guarantees for worthy projects of these types would be a concrete step towards reaching the President’s goal of once again doubling renewable electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal resources by 2020.” (Click for Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change PDF)

Recommendations are given regarding efforts to Strengthen Energy Efficiency Standards; Accelerate Development and Deployment of Low-Carbon Energy Technologies; Expand Use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts; Encourage Reforms in State Building Codes and Utility Rate Structures; Maximize the Contribution of Power Marketing Administrations; and Analyze Climate Change Impacts of LNG Exports. The co-chairs of the Bicameral Task Force include Rep. Waxman, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).

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