GEA’s leading news: Wyden on tax extensions; Senate committee leadership; DOE’s annual report

The Geothermal Energy Association brings you leading news of the industry. This week, Senator Wyden says tax extenders are on the agenda, while he and other senators take on new committee responsibilities. Meanwhile DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Program released its annual report. First, our Graph of the Week:

Graph of the Week Shows Large Untapped Geothermal Potential in New Mexico

New Mexico Geothermal Resource Areas 2014
New Mexico geothermal resource areas are indicated by geyser icons. A green “2” indicates two adjoining geothermal resource areas. The state’s first geothermal power plant recently came on line. Data from USGS and GEA research.

Above: Recently, Cyrq Energy finished the first phase of the first geothermal power project in New Mexico. Power from the 4-MW Lightning Dock plant in the southwestern tip of the state is delivered to Public Service Company of New Mexico. Our Graph of the Week shows identified geothermal resource areas in New Mexico, which are estimated to hold potential generation of over 170 MW capacity. The largest of these areas is the Valles Caldera region, which USGS estimates at about 120 MW of geothermal resource. Beyond known areas, USGS also estimates the state to have anywhere from 330 to 3,900 MW of undiscovered conventional geothermal resources using existing technology, at depths to 6 km. More exploration is needed to find and confirm the exact presence of the additional resources. (Ben Matek, GEA staff, contributed to this.)

Senate Finance Chair Wyden Seeks to Extend Tax Provisions
U.S. Senator Landrieu Takes Over Energy Committee as Senator Markey Moves onto Environment Committee
Energy Department’s Geothermal Technologies Office Releases 2013 Annual Report

Senate Finance Chair Wyden Seeks to Extend Tax Provisions
The new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee will be Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), replacing Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), who has been confirmed as the new U.S. Ambassador to China. Wyden has said he wants to extend dozens of expiring tax provisions, including geothermal, for another year as a “bridge” to tax reform. “My sense is that the focus at the outset is likely to be the extender package,” Wyden was quoted.

Iowa state senator Rob Hogg created a Climate Parents petition encouraging Wyden to seek to obtain a wind PTC renewal. The petition has about 50,000 signatures. It reads, “Your leadership as the new Senate Finance Committee chair in prioritizing and championing renewal of the renewable energy PTC can have a major impact on getting past the partisan gridlock that is jeopardizing this vital support for wind energy. There is growing momentum across the country for an extension of the wind tax credit.”

U.S. Senator Landrieu Takes Over Energy Committee as Senator Markey Moves onto Environment Committee
By Sustainable Energy Coalition/SUN DAY Campaign, source: Reuters.com and The Hill ~ Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is poised to take the reins of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee from Ron Wyden (D-OR), who will lead the Senate Finance Committee after its chairman, Max Baucus (D-MT), was confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to China. The League of Conservation Voters has given Landrieu a lifetime score of 51 percent, the lowest of any Democrat currently serving in the Senate. Meanwhile, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) was appointed to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, replacing Senator Baucus.

Energy Department’s Geothermal Technologies Office Releases 2013 Annual Report
The Energy Department’s Geothermal Technologies Office Annual Report 2013 is now available online. A statement on their Web site notes milestones and key achievements the Office saw in 2013, including “its first commercial, grid-connected EGS demonstration project, which opens the door to increased industry-wide adoption of in-field and near-field EGS activities.” The report covers new tools, sensors, and technologies that were developed in 2013, as well as strategic initiatives in strategies for facilitating development, including exploration techniques and permitting processes, the National Geothermal Data System, and some Funding Opportunities that are now underway. See the GTO’s Web site as well as GEA’s Community Notice Board for more info on opportunities.

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