GEA’s Leading News and Member Company headlines for the week of March 17, 2014

The Geothermal Energy Association brings you this week’s leading news and member company headlines.

*Geothermal Industry Endorses Salton Sea Initiative
*GEA Strongly Represented at Imperial Valley Renewable Energy Summit
*ElectraTherm: Work Continues at Florida Canyon Mine
*Ormat Technologies: Tax Incentive Granted for Don A. Campbell Geothermal Plant
*U.S. Geothermal: Year-End Results to be Posted on March 25

But first, our Graph of the Week:

*International Markets are Rising with Pieces of the Geothermal Pie

InternationalInstalledPieChart_march2014

Above: Our Graph of the Week shows which international markets have chunks of the geothermal pie in early 2014. Countries are given in order of most megawatts on line to least, starting with the United States and going clockwise. GEA will detail geothermal market developments in its 2014 U.S. & Global Geothermal Power Production report, set to be released exclusively to the attendees of GEA’s International Showcase on April 22 in Washington, DC. This popular report will not be available to the public until a week after it is distributed to attendees at the event. Click here to register to attend, and be the first to read this year’s report.

Geothermal Industry Endorses Salton Sea Initiative
GEA Press Release (Winter Haven, Calif.) March 14 ~ The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) today joined with other influential groups in endorsing the Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative. Karl Gawell, GEA Executive Director, delivered a resolution from the group’s Board of Directors to representatives of the Imperial Irrigation District at the Imperial Valley Renewable Energy Summit in Southern California.

“By backing this initiative we are showing that there is widespread support across the geothermal industry for the effort, and hope that our endorsement will bring it closer to fruition,” Gawell said.

According to the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), “the Salton Sea Restoration & Renewable Energy Initiative, launched by the Imperial Irrigation District in partnership with Imperial County, will leverage funds generated by new renewable energy projects located at the Sea to help finance activities for air quality management and habitat restoration.”

The GEA Board resolution notes that “the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area (SSKGRA) is one of the greatest opportunities for new geothermal energy development in the United States.” It points out some of the advantages of the initiatives as:

  • Creating thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs and bringing other substantial economic benefits to Southern California;
  • Providing consumers affordable, long-term electric price stability through a renewable baseload fuel supply that does not fluctuate; and
  • Enhancing environmental quality and supporting species habitat conservation.

IID further explains, “The Initiative will first focus on developing up to 1,700 megawatts of new geothermal energy at the Sea – enough to power more than one million homes. Not only is there more geothermal generating capacity in the Imperial Valley than anywhere else in the U.S., but geothermal energy can be produced with minimal impact on landscape and habitat. It also provides a steady, reliable source of energy to the state electricity grid that is not subject to weather or seasonal fluctuations.”

GEA recently issued a status report on California’s geothermal resources that says they are still largely untapped. The report found that the SSKGRA is considered by many to be the best opportunity for growth in California in the near term. Geothermal power is a viable, cost-effective, and plentiful renewable energy option to meet California’s climate goals. Utilizing the Golden State’s geothermal resources can help achieve carbon reductions with the least total cost and highest power system reliability.

The GEA resolution is dated March 12 and states:

Whereas California has substantial geothermal resources and the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area (SSKGRA) is one of the greatest opportunities for new geothermal energy
development in the United States;
Whereas development of the SSKGRA will create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs and will bring other substantial economic benefits to Southern California;
Whereas expansion of geothermal power generation throughout all of California will support and facilitate higher levels of renewable power production needed to achieve the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards goals;
Whereas geothermal power provides consumers affordable, long-term electric price stability through a renewable baseload fuel supply that does not fluctuate;
Whereas geothermal power production supports California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expansion will enable the state to achieve its future emission reductions goals;
And, whereas the Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative would significantly expand geothermal power production, enhance environmental quality, provide economic
benefits, and support species habitat conservation;

THEREFORE the Board of Directors of the Geothermal Energy Association adopts the following resolution.
The Geothermal Energy Association
1) Supports the Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative, and
2) Pledges to work collaboratively to achieve the goals of the Initiative, and
3) Calls upon state and local officials to take the actions necessary to achieve the goals of the Initiative, and
4) Calls upon the Governor to direct the California Public Utilities Commission to mandate expanding geothermal power in the state with the goal of having policies in place by the end of the year to support the expansion of 500 MW and ultimately achieve no less than 1,700 MW of new geothermal power production as envisioned by the Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative.

For more information on the The Salton Sea Restoration & Renewable Energy Initiative go to: http://www.iid.com/index.aspx?page=663. For more information or to schedule an interview with a GEA representative, please contact Shawna McGregor, The Rosen Group, 917 971 7852 or shawna@rosengrouppr.com.

See also an article on RenewableEnergyWorld.com, “Can Gigawatts of Geothermal Save the Salton Sea?”.

GEA Strongly Represented at Imperial Valley Renewable Energy Summit
(Edited 3/20/14) The 7th Annual Renewable Energy Summit in Imperial Valley, California, featured attention to geothermal energy and strong industry participation in an area of the U.S. that represents potential for new geothermal development. Imperial Valley is poised to be a major contributor in helping California achieve its energy portfolio standards of 33% renewable energy by 2020.

GEA Chairman Jonathan Weisgall, vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs for MidAmerican Energy Holdings, provided the event’s Opening Keynote address. Weisgall gave a powerful address on the changes and challenges facing the renewable markets in California and across the U.S. He emphasized the increasing importance of state policies as politics at the federal level spell “continued deadlock.”

Vince Signorotti of California geothermal company EnergySource moderated a panel composed of Carl Stills of the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), Bob Sullivan of Ormat Technologies, and Karl Gawell of the GEA. The group discussed the values of geothermal energy as a firm and flexible resource. Attendees learned that current energy valuation models don’t yet consider the full array of technology-unique benefits, leaving geothermal energy at a competitive disadvantage.

Randy Keller of CalEnergy participated on a panel discussing the Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative, which aims to leverage projects compatible with aiding efforts toward air and habitat quality. An initial focus of the initiative is up to 1,700 MW of new geothermal energy at the Sea.

At the dinner that evening, Gawell presented to Kevin Kelly, IID, a geothermal industry resolution to support and work collaboratively on the Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative. GEA’s Board of Directors adopted the resolution this month. “By backing this initiative we are showing that there is widespread support across the geothermal industry for the effort and hope that our endorsement will bring it closer to fruition,” Gawell was quoted in local press. For the text of the resolution, see the story above or click here.

Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez presented the 2014 Imperial Valley Company of the Year award to MidAmerican company CalEnergy, LLC.

The next morning, Gawell opened the day’s events with comments to the audience, discussing developments in the U.S. and global geothermal markets, and applauding IID and its supporters in moving forward with their initiative. “You have made a great start,” Gawell told the audience.

Activities associated with the event also included a bus tour of geothermal sites.

ElectraTherm: Work Continues at Florida Canyon Mine
An article on ElkoDaily.com features work on geothermal energy at the Florida Canyon Mine in Nevada, where GEA member company ElectraTherm’s 60-kW Green Machine was installed under a DOE grant. Work will continue at the site, which has enough waste heat from geothermal sources to potentially run six machines. Joel Murphy, Florida Canyon’s general manager, was quoted, “ElectraTherm is a good group to work with. Very hands on, easy group to work with, supportive of their equipment. It’s been interesting. We’ve learned a lot, and they learned a lot out here.”

Ormat Technologies: Tax Incentive Granted for Don A. Campbell Geothermal Plant
GOE Press Release (Carson City, NV) March 18 ~ More of Nevada’s extensive geothermal energy potential is being tapped after the Governor’s Office of Energy (GOE) granted a tax incentive for construction of a geothermal power plant in Mineral County.

Ormat Technologies, Inc. received the incentive for its Don A. Campbell geothermal power plant after undergoing a rigorous screening process that included meeting State and local statutes requiring the project provide employment for Nevadans, major capital investment in the State; and providing a living wage with comprehensive health benefits.

“The construction of this power plant is a result of Nevada’s commitment to the development and exportation of renewable energy,” said Governor Brian Sandoval. “The streamlined permitting and enhanced incentives are allowing projects like this to move forward, create jobs, and show energy developers that Nevada is a great place to do business.”

According to Ormat’s tax incentive application, the Don A. Campbell geothermal power plant is expected to create 138 full-time construction jobs with an average hourly wage of $41 per hour, and seven full-time operational jobs with an average wage of $25 per hour.

The tax incentive amount granted to Ormat is $12.6 million over 20 years. The total amount Nevada is projected to gain from the power plant during that time is $102 million, which includes employee wages, a capital investment worth $84 million dollars, and $8 million combined from property taxes and school support taxes. This represents an 8-to-1 return on Nevada’s investment, far exceeding the loss of revenue from the tax incentive.

Once completed, the power plant will be capable of generating 20 megawatts of electricity, which will be sold to Southern California Public Power Authority under a 20 year contract. It will utilize 13,800 acres of public land in Mineral County, and will include photovoltaic panels and related right-of-way features including a substation and switchyard facilities.

“The GOE tax incentive is a good example of government and industry working together in the development of clean, renewable energy in Nevada,” said Bob Sullivan, Vice President of Business Development at Ormat. “With the support of tax incentives, both from Nevada and federally, Ormat successfully completed many projects providing quality jobs and economic development to the State. We’ve seen great success with our geothermal power plants in rural Nevada, including the Don A. Campbell plant in Mineral County, and look forward to this opportunity for continued growth.”

According to the Geothermal Energy Association, Nevada remains second only to California in existing geothermal power capacity. Ormat’s Mineral County power plant will be the 13th the company has built in Nevada since 2005.

The GOE decision to approve Ormat’s tax incentive request highlights the GOE staff’s ability to facilitate cooperation among stakeholders, lead initiatives to stimulate economic development, and attract energy related business ventures that include site development, generation and production, and inter/intrastate transmission.

U.S. Geothermal: Year-End Results to be Posted on March 25
U.S. Geothermal Press Release (BOISE, IDAHO) March 17 ~ U.S. Geothermal Inc. (NYSE MKT:HTM)(TSX:GTH) plans to release its Year End 2013 financial results on Tuesday March 25th, 2014 after the market close. Management will present the results during a telephone conference call for investors and analysts on Wednesday March 26th at 11:00 a.m. ET (9:00 a.m. MT). At the same time, the company will report on its performance relative to 2013 guidance and provide updated guidance for 2014 financial performance. The conference call may be accessed by dialing (877) 407-8133 in Canada and the United States, or (201) 689-8040 internationally. A simultaneous webcast of the conference call will be provided through: http://www.investorcalendar.com/IC/CEPage.asp?ID=172479.

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