Amendments to a bill introduced in the California Assembly could elevate geothermal resources at the Salton Sea and possibly throughout California. The GEA has a new report out on the international geothermal market that identifies 70 countries developing current projects, for a total of about 700 projects underway globally.
Bill to Elevate Salton Sea Resources Could Lead to Broad Geothermal Attention State-Wide
Amendments to a California bill direct the California Public Utilities Commission to “consider” (not mandate) geothermal energy resources in the Salton Sea basin in planning for the state’s 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard. SB 760 passed by a vote of 52-24, was referred Monday to the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, and awaits hearing (Pe.com). Amendments likely to be proposed will expand the focus to all geothermal resources state-wide.
Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez who presented the amendments was quoted (Ivpressonline.com): “With the closure of the San Onofre nuclear facility and the anticipated retirement of other power plants, we have an opportunity to pursue a path of clean, green energy. I firmly believe that Salton Sea geothermal resources can help anchor Southern California energy needs, improve air quality, and maintain the state’s progress in reducing greenhouse gases, while facilitating the growth of the desert renewable energy economy.”
The direction to CPUC to consider geothermal resources in its RPS goals is in line with geothermal industry needs, several GEA member companies in California indicated — such as EnergySource, CalEnergy, Ormat, and U.S. Geothermal. GEA drafted a letter to both the Utilities and Commerce Committee and Natural Resources Committee of the California Assembly that states:
On behalf of the members of the Geothermal Energy Association, I wish to express our strong support for SB 760 as proposed to be amended that encourages development of all geothermal resources. GEA represents over 100 US companies, many in California, that employ thousands of workers in California and the West.
We believe the direction that this legislation provides to the PUC is appropriate and timely. There are significant untapped resources that can support the state’s clean energy goals, and we believe the PUC should examine carefully the full suite of values that geothermal brings as it moves forward. Expanding geothermal power will create local jobs and provide economic stimulus while supporting achievement of the state’s renewable and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
California has been a leader in geothermal power, which is now being developed across the Western States and in 70 countries around the world. This legislation will help California retain its leadership role.
International GEA Report Identifies 70 Countries with ~700 Geothermal Power Projects
GEA Press Release (Washington, D.C.) September 3 –The Geothermal Energy Association today released a new report showing continued strong growth signals in the international market for geothermal power. The report, 2013 Geothermal Power: International Market Overview, identifies 70 countries moving forward with nearly 700 geothermal power projects.
“The number of geothermal projects continues to grow as more and more countries recognize the potential economic and environmental benefits that geothermal power can bring,” commented Karl Gawell, Executive Director of GEA.
“There are so many projects moving forward that just a year or two ago were ideas on paper. This demonstrates how quickly the geothermal industry is growing internationally,” noted Ben Matek, the report’s author.
Some of the report highlights are:
• By the end of 2013 the global geothermal market is expected to operate 12,000 MW of geothermal capacity on-line.
• There are 11,766 MW of new capacity in early stages of development or under construction in 70 countries and territories around the world. Additionally, developers are actively engaged with and exploring 27 GW (Gigawatts) of geothermal resource globally that could potentially develop into power plants over the next decade.
• This year some of the first demonstration Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) projects provided electricity to grids in Australia and the United States.
• Counties such as Uganda, France, Tanzania, Chile, and Rwanda have geothermal projects under construction or in the latter stages of development and will have their first operational geothermal power plants within the next few years.
The report also provides profiles on 21 countries and five continents. Highlights include:
• Kenya: Kenya is one of the fastest growing geothermal markets in the world. Kenya’s government is moving a substantial amount of resources into building up its geothermal infrastructure and the support is paying dividends. Right now 296 MW of the over ~1,000 MW of geothermal under development in Kenya are physically under construction. If all projects are completed on time Kenya will lead the world with substantial additions to their geothermal infrastructure over the next decade and become a center of geothermal technology on the African continent.
• Indonesia: Despite the massive potential for geothermal power in Indonesia, local experts and the media report that the country still struggles with regulatory issues obstructing geothermal development. That said, Indonesia has almost 4,100 MW in the pipeline for development and 860 MW physically under construction. Indonesia ranks second for developing projects with 57 projects in some phase of development. While no more plants are expected to come online this year in Indonesia, if all the plants are finished by their publicly announced completion dates, Indonesia could reach almost 2 GW of installed capacity by 2018.
• Costa Rica: Most of Costa Rica’s geothermal resources rest in national parks, leaving substantial regulatory barriers to its development. Despite the location of Costa Rican’s geothermal resource the government plans to introduce legislation that would open the Rincon de la Vieja National Park in Guanacaste for geothermal project development, a controversial proposal to environmentalists. Even so, the country’s top political leaders acknowledge climate change as an issue that will diminish the capabilities of their hydroelectric power plants, which accounts for most of Costa Rica’s energy production.
• Japan: Since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2012 the Japanese people and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) are looking for clean and disaster-free alternatives to nuclear energy and are deregulating many previous burdensome barriers to geothermal development. Officials are looking to shorten lead time for development, a significant step to accelerated geothermal development.
“In many developing economies there is a growing middle class driving a demand for affordable electrical capacity. In regions such as East Africa and Central America a lack of carbon based fuel resources lead to reliance on high cost/high CO2 emission imported fuel oil. Geothermal provides a preferred indigenous fuel source for a least cost baseload energy supply, providing the much needed increase in capacity. POWER Engineers/Galena Advisors is working in these regions to implement the lessons learned in the world geothermal industry with a goal of providing efficient and cost competitive power plants,” said Mike Long, Vice President, Galena Advisors.
“Geothermal Resource Group has been pleased to provide consulting services and training for the recent expansion of geothermal development in East Africa, ongoing exploration in the Caribbean and Latin America, and the resurgence of development activities in Indonesia. We appreciate GEA collecting this valuable data that allows us to better focus our efforts in providing resource evaluation, drilling engineering and training services,” said Bill Rickard, President of Geothermal Resource Group.
“The international markets are continuing to see robust growth and expansion. Established and emerging international markets including Africa, Turkey, Latin America, Indonesia, and the Philippines present a tremendous opportunity for the United States to export renewable technology, professional expertise, capital finance, and geothermal support services to the needs of this global industry. These key foreign markets have played a significant role in TAS Energy’s growth over the past three years with our geothermal technology, and over the past 15 years with our turbine inlet chilling solutions. We look forward to supporting the continued growth and helping the industry further expand to broader markets,” said Steve Hummel, Director of Renewable Energy, TAS Energy.
Members of the international geothermal community plan to discuss their successes and emerging market opportunities at the GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy EXPO in Las Vegas from Sept. 29-Oct. 2. This is the premier gathering to learn about the latest developments in geothermal energy, and brings together geothermal companies, academics, financiers, policy leaders, students, and other individuals. The GEA EXPO floor features a unique opportunity for leaders in the business to showcase their projects, equipment, services and state of the art technology to the geothermal community. Limited exhibit space still remains but is selling quickly.
“The report underscores how exciting the Geothermal EXPO will be. Last year the EXPO had over 38 countries in attendance and we expect just as big of a turnout this year in Las Vegas starting September 29th,” commented Kathy Kent, GEA’s Events Director. For more information about the EXPO, go to Geothermalenergy2013.org. The International Report executive summary is now available at: Geo-energy.org. The background data will be publicly released in early October. For more information or to request a press copy of the full report, please contact Shawna Seldon, The Rosen Group, 917 971 7852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.