Graph of the Week; Geothermal on adjoining lands bill; Anti-PTC campaign; GEA in Orlando next week; Obama’s EO; The Senate’s RPS bills

Our Graph of the Week shows geothermal’s steady growth over the past 30+ years as well as the latest info on predicted capacity through 2017. A bill introduced this week would allow geothermal companies that have current projects priority access to adjacent federal lands. An anti-PTC campaign is underway by Americans for Prosperity. GEA will be chairing geothermal sessions at an international conference in Orlando next week. President Obama issued an executive order on climate preparedness. And bills in the Senate propose a national renewable energy standard.

1978-2013 Global Installed Capacity (MW) of Operating Geothermal Power Plants

Source: Geothermal Energy Association. Since GEA published its Geothermal Power: International Market Overview in September of 2013, several more geothermal power plants have become operational to put the new total nameplate capacity at 11,865 MW of geothermal power. (Note: PCA (Planned Capacity Additions), pilot plants and geothermal plants built in the first half of the 20th century and then decommissioned are not included.)


Graph of the Week Predicts Global Geothermal’s Continuing Upward Growth
U.S. House Bill Allows Geothermal Companies Priority on Adjoining Federal Lands
Anti-PTC Ad Campaign Targets U.S. House Lawmakers
GEA to Chair Geothermal Sessions at International Conference Next Week
President Obama Issues Executive Order on Climate Preparedness
Bills to Set Renewable Energy Minimum Introduced in the Senate

Graph of the Week Predicts Global Geothermal’s Continuing Upward Growth
Above: With data going back to 1978, our Graph of the Week shows how remarkably steady geothermal growth has been in the global market. This updates a graph from GEA’s recent Geothermal Power: International Market Overview with new data including plants that just came on line in the Philippines and New Zealand. GEA staff Ben Matek notes, “For the last two decades the international geothermal power market has averaged a growth rate of about 4% per year,” adding, “Developing countries along the Ring of Fire are recognizing the benefits geothermal power can bring to their economies.” In the short term, GEA expects exploding worldwide interest in the commodity will take the nameplate capacity beyond 12,000 MW in the first few weeks of 2014. In the longer term, the 2017 prediction (13,397 MW in the above graph) is based on all currently listed power projects becoming operational by their publicly reported completion dates.

U.S. House Bill Allows Geothermal Companies Priority on Adjoining Federal Lands
The U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a bill, the Geothermal Production Expansion Act of 2013, that changes current law to facilitate the development of geothermal energy on public lands. HR. 2004 matches the Senate’s S. 363 (Thomas.loc.gov) which was passed out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on a positive voice vote. The Geothermal Energy Association supports this bill. A letter from Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) describes the bill:

H.R. 2004 would allow for expansion of renewable geothermal energy, while at the same time protecting the national interests in receiving fair market value for energy leases on federal lands. The intent of the legislation is to protect legitimate geothermal developers from speculators by allowing companies that have discovered geothermal resources through capital-intensive drilling to obtain a one-time noncompetitive lease on up to one square mile of adjoining federal lands.

Currently, a developer who takes all of the risks of exploration with up front capital may confront a situation where a speculator acquires or nominates a nearby federal parcel with no intent to develop the resource. This locks up the land and delays the production of geothermal energy. The proposed legislation allows the developer to lease up to one square mile of land at a reasonable rate (fair market value) in a manner that protects the rights of both legitimate developers and the government, and allows for quicker development of the resource. Noncompetitive leases would only be allowed if the federal land was neither leased nor nominated to be leased – further protecting the rights of legitimate developers’ intent on actively exploring for geothermal resources in the area.

Anti-PTC Ad Campaign Targets U.S. House Lawmakers
A $75,000, six-week online ad campaign by Americans for Prosperity seeks to sign on 10 U.S. House lawmakers to a letter opposing the extension of the production tax credit for renewable wind energy. The geothermal industry supports the extension of the production tax credit for wind and all renewables including geothermal energy. The letter, circulated by Rep. Mike Pompeo, states that “Congress should break from the past and allow the wind PTC to expire as scheduled, once and for all” (Americanenergyalliance.org, PDF).

Christine Harbin Hanson, AFP’s federal affairs manager, told POLITICO the targeted campaign is “reaching for the middle,” in this case, “conservatives that purport to oppose government meddling in the marketplace” but “need a little nudging.” The first two ads target Republicans Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska and Lamar Smith of Texas; six additional Republicans and two Democrats are next. Forty-four Republicans and Democrat Nick Rahall have already signed Pompeo’s letter.

GEA to Chair Geothermal Sessions at International Conference Next Week
The Geothermal Energy Association sits on the planning committee of the Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America, taking place next week in Orlando. The event is co-located with Power-Gen International, and more than 20,000 individuals are expected to attend. GEA’s Leslie Blodgett will be chairing the geothermal sessions along with Meg Cichon of PennWell and Halley Dickey of TAS Energy. The geothermal sessions are:

Geothermal Technology and Its Evolving Applications: Although geothermal technology is well established, there are a number of new advancements that have extended applicability and increased efficiency. This session will explore some of those new advancements and the exciting new areas where advanced technologies are being applied. Speakers are: Guofu Chen, TAS Energy; Bob Sullivan, Ormat Technologies; Bob Hunt, Saturated Gas, Inc.; and Trenton Cladouhos, AltaRock Energy.

Extending Geothermal’s Reach to Exciting Global Opportunities: While the U.S. market is still growing at a steady pace, international markets are exploding and ripe with new opportunities. Recent reports show an estimated 18.6 GW of geothermal power currently in development across 70 countries accounting for $100 billion in investment, and much of this development is spearheaded by U.S. companies. This session will cover developing regions with opportunities to expand business overseas. Speakers are: Ben Matek, Geothermal Energy Association; Craig O’Conner, Export-Import Bank of the United States; Trent Philip, Ambata Capital and Reykjavik Geothermal; and Halley Dickey, TAS Energy.

Geothermal and Oil/ Gas Industries–Areas for Mutual Benefit: The use of oil and gas fields for electrical development has been rigorously discussed for years, but rarely acted upon. The application of geothermal co-production and geo-pressured hybrid technologies, including waste-to-heat power, is increasingly being transferred to the oil and gas industry and has been shown to reduce costs, CO2 emissions and more. Meanwhile geothermal projects are also using more oil and gas technologies to enhance their production through EGS (enhanced geothermal systems). This session covers mutual benefits to both industries. Speakers are: Trenton Cladouhos, AltaRock Energy; Mike Hillsheim, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Maria Richards, Southern Methodist University; Andrew Oxner, ElectraTherm; and James A. Valentino, Cornerstone Sustainable Energy.

Several of these speakers represent GEA member companies: TAS Energy, Ormat Technologies, AltaRock Energy, and ElectraTherm. In addition, at least four GEA member companies will be showcasing their supplies and services in the exhibition hall: Alstom (booth 2300), PB Power (booth 4147), Power Engineers (booth 4058), and Vooner Flogard Corp (booth 4041). If you are a GEA member who will be exhibiting or otherwise participating in this event, and is not listed here, let us know! Contact: leslie at geo-energy.org.

President Obama Issues Executive Order on Climate Preparedness
Sustainable Energy Coalition/SUN DAY Campaign: News Story Excerpts; White House, November 1–President Obama has signed an Executive Order that directs Federal agencies to take a series of steps to make it easier for American communities to strengthen their resilience to extreme weather and prepare for other impacts of climate change. The EO also established a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with the impacts of climate change. The Task Force members include state, local and tribal leaders from across the country who will use their first-hand experiences in building climate preparedness and resilience in their communities to inform their recommendations to the Administration.

Bills to Set Renewable Energy Minimum Introduced in the Senate
This week, two bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate that would each set a minimum on the percentage of renewable energy in the energy mix that utilities produce.

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced The American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act. According to his press release (Markey.senate.gov), the legislation “would require electric utilities to obtain a minimum of 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, biomass, and other renewable energy sources by 2025. The legislation also requires electric and natural gas utilities to implement energy efficiency programs that would save the equivalent of 15 percent and ten percent of sales, respectively, by 2025.”

Senator Markey said, “Clean energy and gains in energy efficiency have been very bright spots for the national and Massachusetts economy. The American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act would quadruple renewable energy production in the United States. It would create more than 400,000 jobs. We can put steelworkers and ironworkers and electricians back to work building the new energy backbone for America, from Massachusetts to Montana.”

Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Udall (D-CO), who are first cousins, introduced a bill that would “requir[e] utilities to generate 25 percent of their power from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2025” (Tomudall.senate.gov). Tom Udall said, “A national RES will get America running on homegrown clean energy, create almost 300,000 new jobs and help revitalize our rural communities – all while fighting global warming. I’ve long fought for a ‘do it all, do it right’ energy strategy, and a national RES is a critical part of maximizing our country’s energy potential.”

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