Graph of the Week; WB funds for geothermal; KEPCO visits GEA; Congress’ budget committee; EPA listening sessions; International presentations

This week’s Graph of the Week, from a geothermal energy report prepared by World Bank, shows the various stages of geothermal project development and the cost and risk profile in each stage. The World Bank approves $115 million for fast disbursement in CTF pilot countries, with the program to focus on geothermal energy. GEA hosts visitors from KEPCO, Korea. The combined budget committees of Congress meet regarding FY2014 decisions. The EPA begins public listening sessions on carbon emissions regulations. Presentations from some of the geothermal international sessions at the GRC/GEA event last month in Las Vegas are now available online.

WB 2012 ESMAP Graph Geo Project Cost and Risk Profile at Various Stages of Devel_ed
The economics of geothermal power most closely resemble mining, oil, and gas, rather than that of other renewables. Source: World Bank


Graph of the Week Shows Geothermal Project Cost and Risk Profile for Stages of Development
World Bank CTF’s $115 Million to Focus on Geothermal Energy
GEA Hosts Visitors from KEPCO Company, Korea
Combined Committees of Congress to Meet Regarding 2014 Budget
EPA Begins Public Listening Sessions on Carbon Emissions Regulations
Presentations from Geothermal International Sessions Available Online

Graph of the Week Shows Geothermal Project Cost and Risk Profile for Stages of Development
Above: Our Graph of the Week comes from “Geothermal Handbook: Planning and Financing Power Generation,” World Bank, 2012. Authors Magnus Gehringer and Victor Loksha write: “To better understand the nature of the risks that are specific to geothermal power, it is helpful to consider the project cost and risk profile through the various stages of project development” (page 3). GEA’s Ben Matek adds, “The economics of geothermal power most closely resemble mining, oil, and gas, rather than that of other renewables; it is a resource that needs to be explored, drilled, and ‘extracted.'” High capital costs and accounting for subsurface risks in the early stages of development are key barriers that the industry is learning how to address. Meanwhile, solar and wind never had these barriers.

World Bank CTF’s $115 Million to Focus on Geothermal Energy
This week, the Trust Fund Committee (CTF) of the World Bank unanimously approved $115 million for the Utility Scale Renewable Energy Program, one of the four programs included in the Dedicated Private Sector Programs (DPSP) proposal. The program will initially focus exclusively on geothermal, addressing resource risk in early geothermal project phases in particular, through facilitating private sector engagement. Initial countries identified in the geothermal proposal for support under Phase I, which only qualifies CTF pilot countries, could include Turkey, Chile and Mexico.

GEA Hosts Visitors from KEPCO Company, Korea
This week the Geothermal Energy Association hosted visitors from Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), the national electric power company interested in developing its geothermal business.
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The four KEPCO company representatives (Jaeun Kim, Jung Ji-Joon, Gyo-Ryuk Lee, and Hye-Sun Youn) visited the GEA office in Washington, DC, on October 23 and were headed to the nation’s West coast for geothermal project site visits in Oregon and California. GEA representatives (Karl Gawell, Ben Matek, Leslie Blodgett) answered questions about geothermal development in the U.S., as well as in international regions such as East Africa, where GEA members conduct business and provide materials.

Combined Committees of Congress to Meet Regarding 2014 Budget
This week, 22 senators and seven House lawmakers will hold their first FY2014 budget conference committee meeting, in the first combined committee meeting in four years. The committee was created in the deal to end the government shutdown earlier this month. Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will co-chair the conference with her House counterpart, Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). A unified budget resolution is due Dec. 13.

All of the Senate Budget Committee members were named to the conference (Thehill.com). In addition to Murray, Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Bernie Sander (I-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Mark Warner (Va.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Chris Coons (Del.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Tim Kaine (Va.) and Angus King (I-Maine) were appointed. Republican appointed to the conference were Sens. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.).

In the House, Republicans named Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as well as Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Tom Price (R-Ga.), and Diane Black (R-Tenn.) (Thehill.com). Democrats named Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and Appropriation Committee ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). See also Eenews.net

If a majority of the House and a majority of the Senate Conferees reach an agreement, they will issue a Conference Report. That report will receive preferential treatment and cannot be filibustered in the Senate where debate is strictly limited to ten hours under the Congressional Budget Act. A budget agreement would set the parameters for funding under the annual appropriations bills for all federal agencies.

More significantly would be if the Conference Report includes any reconciliation instructions, which means, if it instructs specific congressional committees to report statutory changes that would achieve defined amounts of budget savings. That would trigger a budget reconciliation process that also cannot be filibustered in the Senate. A budget reconciliation bill is limited to 20 hours of consideration in the Senate and amendments are limited.

Because the budget reconciliation process by-passes the filibuster, some congressional observers are looking towards budget reconciliation as a method to achieve a so-called grand bargain involving perhaps tax reform and entitlement changes. Notably, the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress in 2010 using the budget reconciliation process.

EPA Begins Public Listening Sessions on Carbon Emissions Regulations
EESI Climate Change News — On October 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began a series of 11 listening sessions that it will hold in cities around the country to gather feedback on its planned regulation of carbon emissions for existing power plants. The EPA will be soliciting comments on its use of section 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act to limit the emission of carbon dioxide from the over 1,000 power plants currently operating. Northeastern states which are already using a carbon trading program that targets power plant emissions (the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) are expected to argue that they are already compliant with section 111(d). California may also request that the EPA recognize their cap-and-trade system as compliant with section 111(d). States that have not yet implemented their own emissions laws “will likely try to incorporate the lowest cost reduction measures . . . [to] ensure that the program’s requirement’s won’t compromise the availability of affordable and reliable electricity,” said Jennifer Macedonia, a senior adviser to the Bipartisan Policy Center. People who wish to make comments at a listening session will be awarded three minutes each. EPA; Huffington Post

Presentations from Geothermal International Sessions Available Online
Some of the presentations from International Sessions at the GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo, held last month in Las Vegas, are now available online. Mr. Gosaye Megiste Abayneh of the Ethiopia Ministry of Water and Energy and Mr. Albert Mugo of KenGen have provided their Luncheon presentations; eight additional experts provide updates on North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Australasia, Philippines, the Middle East, and Europe. The GRC has posted these international geothermal energy updates at Geothermal.org.

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