International Geothermal New Briefs for the week of March 10, 2014

geotwitriptych-2March2014
Geothermal photos via Twitter users @AfricaGreenMedi in Iceland and @NatlParksPhotos at Yellowstone

The Geothermal Energy Association brings you this week’s geothermal news briefs from around the world.

U.S. States
*Maryland: GHP Business Growing
*Missouri: University Heating System Underway
*New Mexico: Geothermal Hot Springs Provide Healing
*Oregon: State’s Power Mix Changing
*Washington, DC: Geo System Considered for Monument Screening Facility
*Wyoming: Geothermal Data Available from WSGS

Africa
*Ethiopia: Corbetti Drilling to Begin by July
*Kenya: KenGen Raising Funds for Geothermal Power
*Kenya: EALA Tours Olkaria

The Americas
*Canada: First Nation Signs Deal on Mount Layton Area
*Dominica: Reinjection Well Completion Marks Project Milestone

Antarctica
*Geothermal Activity Sustained Life in Antarctica During Ice Ages

Asia-Pacific
*China: Administration Seeks Geothermal Policy and Finance Support
*China: Geothermal Hot Spring Tourism Gains Popularity
*Indonesia: Energy Minister Comments on Geo Energy
*Indonesia: Pertamina Allocates US$250 Million for Geo Projects
*Japan: Geothermal Won’t Interfere with Hot Springs, Says Industry
*The Philippines: Another Unified Leyte Unit Restored After Typhoon Damage

Europe
*Hungary: Jászberény Concession Awarded to CEGE
*Iceland: Groups Collaborate on Geothermal Measurement Tool
*Scotland: Government Ups Funding for District Heating

In Maryland, geothermal heat pumps are increasing in popularity. A Washington Post article quotes a GHP business owner who expects $20 million in sales this year.

Last week, workers made progress on drilling a geothermal heating system for the Missouri University Science and Technology campus.

In New Mexico, the Ojo Caliente geothermal hot springs are a draw to people looking for healing.

Oregon’s The Bulletin provides a look at the state’s power portfolio, where geothermal energy provides power but is not yet a large part of the mix. The state’s current top sources are hydro and coal. The article notes, “The state and PacifiCorp’s power portfolio is changing, with deadlines approaching to hit targets for more renewable power.”

A geothermal installation is being considered in plans for a new permanent screening facility at the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. The National Capital Planning Commission Environmental Assessment notes, “[G]eothermal wells may be installed in order to supplement climate control and reduce energy consumption at the facility. It is anticipated that this array would consist of 2-3 wells, extending to a depth of 400-500 feet, spaced 20 feet apart, with pipes running from the wells to a subsurface mechanical room of the facility.”

The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) has digital reports, maps, and other geothermal data available on its Web site. “Tourism is the primary use of geothermal energy in Wyoming,” WSGS states. “Geothermal features draw hundreds of thousands of tourists to Wyoming each year, allowing them to enjoy thermal springs in the state, primarily in Yellowstone National Park and Hot Springs State Park located in Thermopolis. Direct use of geothermal energy is also harnessed as a means to heat buildings, water, and roadways in some areas of the state.”

In Ethiopia, Reykjavik Geothermal (of Iceland) plans to begin drilling by July. The estimated total for the Corbetti project is about $2 billion. Chief Operating Officer Gunnar Orn Gunnarsson told press the demand is pressing: “All the industries here are screaming for power,” he said. “It’s dragging their development of everything to have no power.”

The 70%-government-owned Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited (KenGen) is looking to raise K30 billion in 2014, doubled from an earlier goal of K15 billion, to fund its expansions with a focus on renewables and particularly on geothermal. The company hopes to raise $5.5 billion in debt and equity by 2018 and to more than double its generating capacity. Chief Executive Albert Mugo told Reuters the company will add 280 MW of geothermal power by August, 20 MW of wind power between April and November, and 24 MW to an existing hydro dam.

In Kenya, members of the East African Legislative Assembly toured the Olkaria Geothermal station last month.

In British Columbia, Canada, an agreement on geothermal development has been signed between Kitselas First Nation, Enbridge, and geothermal exploration company Borealis GeoPower (together, LL Geothermal Inc.). The site is in the Mount Layton hot springs area, and the next step is to apply for authorization to drill.

Dominica’s geothermal power project has passed a milestone with the completion of its reinjection well. Initial readings have surpassed temperature requirements. “We have made reference to actually constructing a small plant by the end of 2015 and of course for production of energy for domestic use,” minister for energy Rayburn Blackmoore was quoted in local press.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Geothermal activity helps life survive glacial cycles,” used spatial modeling to compare areas of biodiversity in Antarctica with locations of geothermal hot spots, thus assessing how geothermal areas played a role in sustaining life and what this means for conversation efforts in the future. “Some terrestrial groups likely survived throughout intense glacial cycles on ice-free land or in sub-ice caves associated with areas of geothermal activity,” according to the abstract.

China’s National Energy Administration is looking to issue a policy package and seek financial support for geothermal energy development.

Also in China, the city of Xiamen is using its geothermal resources for hot spring tourism and hopes to transform itself into “China’s Hot Springs Capital,” a title that was introduced for the first time in 2010.

Indonesia’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Jero Wacik was quoted in local press on the local opposition to the Bedugul geothermal project. “We’re going to need a lot of alternative power supply, both for in the short, medium and long term,” he was quoted appealing for answers, and added that geothermal should not be excluded as an option.

Indonesia’s PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy has allocated US$250 million in capital expenditure this year for eight geothermal development projects. These are: Kamojang and Kraha in West Java; Ulubelu in Lampung; Sibayak in Brastagi, North Sumatra; Lumut Balai in Muara Enim, South Sumatra; Hulu Lais in Bengkulu; Kotamobagu in North Sulawesi; and Sungai Penuh in Jambi.

Japan continues to struggle between its desire for geothermal energy to replace nuclear power, and its hesitation to oppose the onsen industry. “We start with an understanding of underground conditions,” Masaho Adachi, Japan Geothermal Association, told press. “So we can realize geothermal power plants in Japan without any interference to hot springs.”

Energy Development Corp. of The Philippines says another unit of the Mahanagdong Power Plant, which was damaged in last year’s supertyphoon, has been restored. The plant is part of the Unified Leyte geothermal power complex where many units sustained damage. Power was previously restored to another Mahanagdong unit, Malitbog units, Upper Mahiao units, and a plant outside the Unified Leyte complex, the Tongonan plant.

Green Rock Energy subsidiary CEGE has been awarded a geothermal concession tender for the Jászberény area, Hungary.

A new heat and pressure measurement tool (HP1) measures up to 400C and has seen promising results at Krafla geothermal field, Iceland. The tool by Icelandic startup GIRO was tested in collaboration with Mannvit, Reykjavik Energy, and Landsvirkjun (Iceland’s National Power Company).

The Scottish Government has announced £4 million toward toward both geothermal and solar district heating networks. This brings the total funding for the next two years to £10.5 million.

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