Geothermal Energy Weekly’s leading news

Geothermal Energy Weekly’s leading news this week.

Graph of the Week: Global Commercial Geothermal Technologies 1970-2013

Global Geothermal Power by Project Type 1970-2013
Source: Geothermal Energy Association. Internationally, single flash plants make up as much as two-thirds of installed commercial geothermal capacity. Note: Only geothermal power plants still operating today are represented and not the installed geothermal capacity during a given year. Pilot plants and geothermal plants built in the first half of the 20th century and later decommissioned are not included.

Above: In our Graph of the Week, the types of commercial geothermal technology are shown along with global use percentage for each. Interestingly, flash plants (counting both single and double turbines) make up as much as two-thirds of the global geothermal commercial installed capacity. By comparison, if you look at just the U.S., dry steam plants are the technology that leads installed geothermal capacity nationally at 47% (not pictured here). Most current new growth is happening through the expansion of binary plant technology, which utilizes lower temperatures.  On the rise: triple flash, back pressure, flash/binary hybrid, Enhanced Geothermal Systems, and other geothermal technologies together clock in at about 3% of the global total.  GEA’s Ben Matek featured the graph in his November 13 presentation on the international geothermal market at the POWER-Gen/Renewable Energy World North America Conference and Expo in Orlando (see next story).

Geothermal Energy Association Chairs Geothermal Panels at International Conference
Dan Utech Assumes Key Role in Energy and Climate Change Administration
For Congress, It’s Time to Act on Clean Energy Credits
EAGP Welcomes Robert​ Parra as New Progra​m Director​

Geothermal Energy Association Chairs Geothermal Panels at International Conference
Last week the Geothermal Energy Association and a delegate of geothermal industry members attended and provided Geothermal Track sessions at the POWER-Gen/Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America in Orlando. The geothermal panels were chaired by Leslie Blodgett, Geothermal Energy Association; Meg Cichon, PennWell; and Halley Dickey, TAS Energy and explored unique industry topics: “Geothermal Technology and Its Evolving Applications,” “Extending Geothermal’s Reach to Exciting Global Opportunities,” and “Geothermal and Oil/ Gas Industries–Areas for Mutual Benefit.” In addition, as part of the event a Geothermal Project of the Year recognition was awarded to the McGinness Hills Geothermal Power Plant. IMG_20131113_153442_lesliegea

Speakers from the geothermal community included: Heidi Bethel, Ormat Technologies; Guofu Chen, TAS Energy; Trenton Cladouhos, AltaRock Energy; Halley Dickey, TAS Energy; Mike Hillsheim, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Bob Hunt, Saturated Gas, Inc.; Ben Matek, Geothermal Energy Association; Craig O’Conner, Export-Import Bank of the United States; Andrew Oxner, ElectraTherm; Maria Richards, Southern Methodist University; and James A. Valentino, Cornerstone Sustainable Energy. Agnes Dasewicz, Director, Private Capital Group for Africa also provided remarks to the international panel on President Obama’s Power Africa initiative.

IMG_20131113_164412_lesliegea Cichon provided a deeper look at the international panel’s discussion in an article titled “International Geothermal Market Set for Development Boom but Challenges Remain.” She quotes O’Connor on how the Power Africa initiative can help move development along. “The will and the resource is there, but you’ve got risk elements. African governments do not like to give financial guarantees, but we need assurance from them. With Power Africa, we hope to get these guarantees in place.”

Several of the speakers represented GEA member companies: TAS Energy, Ormat Technologies, AltaRock Energy, and ElectraTherm. In addition, TAS Energy and at least four other GEA member companies showcased their supplies and services in the exhibition hall: Alstom, PB Power, Power Engineers, and Vooner Flogard Corp.

Dan Utech Assumes Key Role in Energy and Climate Change Administration
The new deputy assistant to the President for energy and climate change is Dan Utech, a former Energy Department advisor and the current deputy director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. He replaces Heather Zichal who stepped down. Utech provided the keynote address at GEA’s March 2013 State of the Geothermal Energy Industry Briefing.

For Congress, It’s Time to Act on Clean Energy Credits
Last week the House Republican leadership gave the tax committee leadership direction to downplay tax reform and to not release their proposed draft of new, possibly radical tax legislation. This was a clear indication that a grand bargain is not likely in this Congress. A grand bargain on tax reform might have led to the end of renewable tax credits as we know them, whereas this indication of waning interest means members could devote greater attention to extending the various expiring tax credits. The production tax credit (PTC) and 56 other tax credits are set to expire at the end of this year, and the pressure to fashion an extenders bill now or in the Spring is expected to grow. January 1, 2014 remains the expiration date for geothermal incentives, and geothermal facilities or property must be under construction by that date in order to qualify.

In a letter this week, green groups reminded members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee that clean energy tax credits will expire in just a few weeks if Congress does not deliver an extension. The letter came from the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters, and 11 other organizations. “We urge you to ensure that these credits do not expire because these provisions are vital to the economy, the environment, and public health,” the organizations wrote. “Without any clear directional policy, renewable energy projects cannot plan for the future. This has placed huge uncertainty on burgeoning and fledgling clean energy industries.” Since the geothermal industry is affected by incentives or lack thereof, the Geothermal Energy Association continues to stay involved and will continue to report on decisions.

EAGP Welcomes Robert​ Parra as New Progra​m Director​
The U.S. East Africa Geothermal Partnership (EAGP) is pleased to welcome Mr. Robert Parra as its new Program Director. Mr. Parra brings over 40 years of experience in business development, financial transaction advisory support, investment banking and project management to the program.

Mr. Parra’s strong background in public private partnerships (PPP), legal, regulatory and policy frameworks, transaction advisories, capital market engagement, and project analysis and appraisal will greatly enhance the EAGP program and benefit both U.S. geothermal companies working in East Africa and East African stakeholders. Mr. Parra’s depth of international experience – including work in Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia – and appreciation for many cultures has enabled him to work effectively on numerous engagements, especially those requiring “buy-in” at the policy or transactional levels, where interests of stakeholders and private parties are not always aligned.

Mr. Parra also has extensive experience in the energy sector, having worked with both public and private entities on a variety of power generation projects, including geothermal, hydro, solar, wind, and others. His wide-ranging background in the power sector includes assisting governments to develop comprehensive energy policies, reviewing terms of funding for renewable energy projects, advising governments on electricity sector reform, and working with private sector developers to negotiate power purchase agreements.

Mr. Parra recently spent a year working with the Kenyan Ministry of Finance on their PPP program through the U.S. Treasury. His work included improving policy formulation and PPP tendering guidelines, identifying commercially sustainable PPP projects –including a 200-Megawatt geothermal plant – to serve as “pioneer projects”, and developing a project appraisal handbook for use by line ministries.

Mr. Parra is co-author of Financing Large Projects: Using Project Finance Techniques and Practices, a university textbook published by Prentice Hall in mid-2003. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Economics from Georgetown University and a BS Degree in Engineering Sciences from the US Air Force Academy.

About EAGP: The U.S.-East Africa Geothermal Partnership (EAGP) was established in September 2012 to promote the development of geothermal energy resources and projects in East Africa. It also encourages and facilitates the involvement of the U.S. geothermal industry in the region. The EAGP program is a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), and is implemented by the U.S. Energy Association (USEA).

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