Geothermal news briefs from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, and Virginia

Geothermal energy news briefs are coming in from U.S. states. Akutan Island Geothermal Potential Discussed; Apple Facility to Use Geothermal Energy; CARB Releases Updated AB 32 Scoping Plan; Funding for Puna Studies Approved; White Arrow Ranch Owner Plans Aquaponic Farm; and Wise County Seeks to Clarify Geothermal Rights.

*Alaska: Akutan Island Geothermal Potential Discussed
*Arizona: Apple Facility to Use Geothermal Energy
*California: CARB Releases Updated AB 32 Scoping Plan
*Hawaii: Funding for Puna Studies Approved
*Idaho: White Arrow Ranch Owner Plans Aquaponic Farm
*Virginia: Wise County Seeks to Clarify Geothermal Rights

Deborah Bergfeld, a USGS geochemist was the lead author on a recent report showing Akutan Island, Alaska’s geothermic potential. Bergfeld discussed the background of results of the report with press this week. The early indications of geothermal potential at the site were seen in the amount of chloride in the hot springs, she said. “We were assessing a couple of different components in this study, but most specifically chloride in the waters,” Bergfeld was quoted. “We know that chloride in the waters would most likely not be coming from atmospheric sources, but rather from a magma body or the hydrothermal system. By looking at those values in the water, and looking at those samples and comparing them to what was found in the 1980s has shown us that there is a whole lot more than there used to be.”

This week Bloomberg looks at how geothermal energy helped Apple choose Mesa, Arizona for its new sapphire manufacturing plant. Mesa offered tax breaks and fast-tracked building permits for the facility, and since Apple wanted to use 100% renewable energy, local power company Salt River Project lined up solar and geothermal power. Last year, Apple also looked to Reno, Nevada’s geothermal energy for a data center.

This week the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its updated AB 32 Scoping Plan. According to CARB, the update incorporates scientific consensus indicating the need for accelerated emissions reductions to achieve climate stabilization, and calls for a midterm statewide greenhouse gas reduction target, as well as specific reduction targets for each of the key sectors. “The 2013 Scoping Plan update lays out the remaining steps to the 2020 limits set by AB 32,” CARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols told press.

The Windward Planning Commission, Hawaii, has approved funding for geothermal-related testing at Puna. The studies include “fixed and hand-held hydrogen sulfide monitors, groundwater sampling in Kilauea’s east rift zone, an analysis of published studies on hydrogen sulfide exposure, and an environmental assessment of the former HGP-A geothermal test site.”

In Idaho, north of Bliss, the new owner of the geothermal site White Arrow Ranch is planning an aquaponic farm. “It’s the most unique property I have ever encountered,” said Ron Miller, the new owner, told press. “It’s unbelievable. I’m getting visions of what I’m going to make it into.”

Officials in Wise County, Virginia have formally requested an opinion from Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring “relating to geothermal energy and its interrelationship with Virginia real estate and taxation law.” Officials J. Jack Kennedy and Doug Mullins Jr. seek to clarify whether geothermal property rights are linked under Virginia law to surface, mineral or water rights. The request comes after a transfer deed tendered to Kennedy’s office would sever geothermal property rights from more than 200 acres of real estate surface.

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