Washington, D.C. (December 9, 2013) – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has announced the winners for the GEA Honors, which recognize companies and individuals that have made significant contributions during the past year to advancing technology, spurring economic development and protecting the environment. The winners were selected in categories including Technological Advancement, Economic Development and Environmental Stewardship. Now in its third year, GEA also provides special recognition of companies and individuals who have made notable advances and achievements for geothermal energy.
“Even in a challenging environment, our GEA Honors winners represent the best in a growing industry. These geothermal leaders are trailblazers and should be praised for the headway they’re achieving for the entire sector,” noted Geothermal Energy Association Executive Director Karl Gawell.
Technological Advancement: Awarded for developing a new, innovative or pioneering technology to further geothermal development.
• U.S. Geothermal’s 22 MW Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Power Plant: Through a U.S. government program promoting the development of “Innovative Technology,” U.S. Geothermal received financing for its Neal Hot Springs project in Vale, Oregon, to develop and build the first commercial, supercritical Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) binary power plant. TAS Energy designed, manufactured and installed the supercritical ORC binary power plant employing R134a, an organic working fluid that is non-toxic and non-flammable.
Economic Development: Awarded for making a substantial contribution to the development of local, regional or national markets through the development of geothermal systems.
• GeothermEx’s work encompasses more than just a review of the resource data. The company excels in the facilitation of common understanding between developers and financiers. To date, GeothermEx’s evaluations have enabled the development of more than 7,000 MW of geothermal power, the total financed to date exceeding $12 billion U.S.
Environmental Stewardship: Awarded for fostering outstanding environmental stewardship through the use of geothermal systems. This award is presented in conjunction with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI).
• Dale Merrick, Canby Geothermal: Dale Merrick has been a leader and visionary working to implement a community-based geothermal development project at Canby, California. The project would produce power and cascade the remaining energy to support an existing geothermal district heating system and future greenhouse and aquaculture businesses. If successful, Canby would be the first net-zero community in California and a model to the 71 communities in the state identified by the CEC as having a co-located geothermal resource. Projects like the Canby Geothermal System take many different types of support, and an advocate and visionary, like Dale Merrick, is essential. Canby Geothermal is a classic example of what a geothermal “champion” and a supportive community can do.
Special Recognition: The Special Recognition Award is presented to individuals or companies for their outstanding achievement in the geothermal industry. GEA wishes to recognize the following individuals and organizations for their outstanding work and support for geothermal energy during the past year:
• Katherine Young and her team at NREL for their work on the Geothermal Regulatory Roadmapping effort: Kate Young is a senior analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where she focuses on geothermal exploration and permitting issues. Mrs. Young is serving as the principal investigator coordinating the team, project deliverables, and project schedule for the Geothermal Technology Office’s (GTO) Geothermal Regulatory Roadmapping effort. Since April 2012, the Geothermal Regulatory Roadmap (GRR) Team has been working with federal, state and local agencies to develop a working guide for agency, industry and policymaker use in an effort to understand regulatory processes and timelines and identify potential areas of concern.
• Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center, Reno NV: Hot springs water flows naturally from a well to heat the tubs, complex and ancillary buildings that make up the historic Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center in Reno, Nevada. The Center is working toward eliminating the need for traditional power completely, as well as building a world-class healing center offering alternative therapies based solely on geothermal waters and a Museum/Library to educate the public about environmental benefits of geothermal energy.
• Authors Magnus Gehringer and Victor Loksha of the World Bank for the ESMAP Geothermal Handbook: Gehringer and Loksha authored The Geothermal Handbook, a comprehensive guide to planning and financing geothermal projects. Based on lessons learned from multiple investment successes and failures, the handbook presents a step-by-step understanding of the phases of geothermal project development, looking at the risks involved and at the policies, institutions and financing mechanisms needed to successfully bring projects to fruition. The report stresses the importance of concerted international assistance to help finance geothermal scale-up in the early, risky phases of development, in order to mitigate risk and make projects attractive to private investment.
• Cornell Team Erin Riley Camp, Sean Hillson and Jeff Tester for their help on GEA’s analysis efforts, particularly the Geothermal Externalities Paper (Promoting Geothermal Energy: Air Emissions Comparison and Externality Analysis, available at http://geo-energy.org/reports.aspx). Their guidance and feedback went above and beyond to ensure the paper was academically and mathematically sound. As a result, the paper was widely acclaimed as a clear, concise and educational exploration of the externality benefit geothermal power provides to the United States. GEA appreciates the support provided by its member companies and organizations to provide reliable, informative, and trustworthy information on geothermal power to the public and Washington D.C. community.
GEA wishes to also recognize the companies that have worked to bring new geothermal power on-line in the United States this year:
• Ormat for the expected completion of the new Don A. Campbell (formerly named Wild Rose) geothermal power plant. Ormat expects to complete the Don A. Campbell project in Mineral County, Nevada this year adding 16 MW to the list of U.S. plants.
• ENEL Green Power North America and Ormat for completing construction of the new Cove Fort power plant in Utah. The plant added 25 MW to the list of U.S. geothermal power plants.
• Surprise Valley Electric Cooperative for their 3MW power plant in Oregon, which is expected to be on-line in early 2014.
• Gradient Resources’ Patua Geothermal Project: This project successfully obtained a $155M Phase 1 bank construction/term financing in December 2012 to finance the build-out of Phase 1A, the first geothermal bank financing to close in the entire U.S. market in almost 3 years. The project faced a tremendous challenge in successfully closing a bank transaction in the midst of a greatly diminished universe of project finance lenders in the U.S., which presents a specialized set of challenges. The Patua Project is expected to go on-line in the near future.