Geothermal Energy Weekly’s leading news

Geothermal Energy Weekly’s leading news.

Graph of the Week: Seismograph Record Near EGS Project Shows Effects of Passing Trains Vs. Effects of Reservoir Stimulation

AltaRock Dec2012 Seismogram La Pine
Courtesy of Trenton Cladouhos, Senior Vice President R&D, AltaRock Energy


Above: Our Graph of the Week shows a seismograph record from an instrument in La Pine, Oregon, the nearest town to AltaRock Energy’s Newberry Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) demonstration, on the day of the project’s largest microseismic event on December 7, 2012. The seismograph shows that at this site the ground motion of six passing trains produced a much greater effect than the largest hydraulic stimulation event (Mw 2.4), which was not even detected by this instrument. EGS can cause “hundreds of small microseismic events” (National Research Council); these events are several thousands of times smaller than is noticeable. Trenton Cladouhos, Senior Vice President R&D, of AltaRock Energy featured the graph in his November 13 presentation on geothermal technology and its evolving applications at the POWER-Gen/Renewable Energy World North America Conference and Expo in Orlando.

BLM Leases Four Geothermal Parcels in Nevada
Bills on Energy Permitting, Jobs and Security, Pass House with Some Amendments, but White House Threatens Veto
Geothermal Energy Association Hosts Webinar on Geo Development in East Africa
Energy Foundation Pakistan Visits Geothermal Energy Association
FERC Modifies Small Generator Interconnection and Says Goodbye to Wellinghoff
Carbon Tax Most Effective Option to Reduce Deficit

BLM Leases Four Geothermal Parcels in Nevada
A U.S. Bureau of Land Management competitive geothermal lease sale in Reno in November generated $13,888 for four parcels for initial 10-year primary terms. Three are in Churchill County and one is in Pershing County. The high bid was $2 per acre for each of the parcels, not including annual rental, with three going to Ormat Technologies and one to Colorado-based Presco Energy.

Bills on Energy Permitting, Jobs and Security, Pass House with Some Amendments, but White House Threatens Veto
The U.S. House passed The Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act (H.R. 1965) this week. H.R. 1965 is designed to expand drilling and energy development on public lands.  It amends the Mineral Leasing Act to revise requirements for the issuance of permits to drill in energy projects on federal lands and makes a range of other streamlining changes. The bill also designates a portion of the fees for oil and gas as well as for wind and solar energy development on federal lands that would go toward agency funds for increasing further development. Simultaneously, the House passed H.R. 2728, which would prevent the Department of Interior from issuing fracking regulations.

Several amendments were adopted with the passing of H.R. 1965. An amendment from Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) takes wind and solar permitting activities at the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management from $10 million down to $5 million. An amendment from Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) requires the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to study renewable energy opportunities on lands that are designated as Hawaiian Home Lands. And a third amendment, from Tom Marino (R-Pa.), requires Interior to include transmission and pipelines on federal lands in its energy security planning and legislation.

But the White House has threatened to veto both the bills.  In voicing the Administration’s disapproval and cause for veto, a White House statement said H.R. 1965 “would undermine the Nation’s energy security; roll back policies that support the continued growth of safe and responsible energy production in the United States; discourage environmental analysis and civic engagement in Federal decision-making; direct that Federal lands be managed for the primary purpose of energy development rather than for thoughtfully balanced multiple uses; and undermine public resource management plans that establish a balance between energy development and resource protection.”

Geothermal Energy Association Hosts Webinar on Geo Development in East Africa
By Becky Little, GEA staff ~ On Friday, November 22, the Geothermal Energy Association hosted a Webinar to provide updates on geothermal development in East Africa. The call featured a recap of the U.S.-East Africa Geothermal Partnership’s (EAGP) recent activities, an update on geothermal activities under the Power Africa Initiative, an update on the status of several East African geothermal projects, and a discussion of potential future EAGP activities.

Since 2012, EAGP (a public-private partnership between the Geothermal Energy Association and the U.S. government) has worked to promote geothermal growth in East Africa and encourage U.S. industry participation in the region’s emerging geothermal markets. Recently, EAGP has organized capacity-building modules and programs in Kenya and Ethiopia, and the group hosted nine East African delegates at the Geothermal Energy Expo along with the GRC Annual Meeting this past fall.

Currently, Kenya plans to complete six geothermal projects between 2015 and 2018. Ethiopia plans to complete two within that time frame. Although Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda do not yet have proposed completion dates for geothermal projects, all three countries are pursuing geothermal development.

In addition, EAGP coordinators discussed possible initiatives in 2014. These include hosting a trade mission to take U.S. companies to Kenya, creating a U.S.-East African private sector advisory group, and providing transaction advisory assistance to U.S companies.

Energy Foundation Pakistan Visits Geothermal Energy Association

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Ben Matek (Geothermal Energy Association) and Javed Ahmad (Energy Foundation-Pakistan)

Javed Ahmad, founder and chairman of Energy Foundation-Pakistan, visited the Geothermal Energy Association offices while in Washington D.C. last week (see photo). Ahmad and his group’s interest in geothermal energy includes investment opportunity in his own country and efforts to discuss initiating the first installation of geothermal energy in Pakistan on a priority basis. Ahamd’s organization is also working on climate change issues in Pakistan.

FERC Modifies Small Generator Interconnection and Says Goodbye to Wellinghoff
Changes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this week include modifications to the agency’s Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP) and a farewell to the agency’s chairman Jon Wellinghoff who stepped down this week. Small geothermal generators may see a more efficient interconnection process according to the design of the procedural changes to “enable a greater number of small renewable generators to safely interconnect quickly without the need for a lengthy study process,” according to the FERC announcement.

Speaking about the agency’s resigning chairman, GEA’s Executive Director Karl Gawell said, “Wellinghoff has been a well-known supporter of renewable energy, including geothermal, and is well respected in the geothermal community.” Wellinghoff served as chairman of the energy panel since 2009 and was a commission member since 2006. He has spoken at past Geothermal Energy Association events including the GEA National Geothermal Summit 2013, and in September he participated in U.S. Geothermal’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for their Neal Hot Springs geothermal plant in Oregon. Wellinghoff also keynoted the Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab conference this year (video at link). President Obama has named Cheryl LaFleur, a former utility executive who has served on the commission since 2010, as acting chairwoman.

Carbon Tax Most Effective Option to Reduce Deficit
In a November 19 published report the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) identifies a $25 per ton carbon tax as the most effective choice out of 103 options to reduce the deficit over the next decade. The scenario used a 2% annual increase and resulted in over $1 trillion in federal revenue while reducing emissions by 10%.

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