International geothermal news briefs for the week of March 24, 2014

View of the crater at Menengai, Kenya, where Sam Abraham, Business Development Manager at Baker Hughes was just traveling on geothermal business. Photo: Sam Abraham
The view of the crater at Menengai, Kenya, where Sam Abraham, Business Development Manager at Baker Hughes was just traveling on geothermal business. Photo: Sam Abraham

U.S. States
*California: IID Talks with Potential Transmission Investor
*Hawaii: Bill Aims for Public Input, Transparency, and County Home Rule for Geothermal Projects

Africa and the Middle East
*African Renewable Energy Fund Launches with $100 Million
*Kenya: Senate Committee Requests Support for Geothermal
*Kenya: Energy Official Challenges Utility to be Ready for New Power
*Lebanon: Geothermal Assessment Shows Large Potential

The Americas
*Canada: Developer Targets 15 MW for British Columbia Geothermal Plant

*Pakistan: Renewable Energy Potential is Available
*The Philippines: Ex-Im Signs MOU with Energy Department
*The Philippines: Mindoro Project Moves Forward

*England: GTE and SLR Plan Next Phase of Manchester Project
*Turkey: $13 Million Going Toward Geothermal Exploration

The Imperial Irrigation District is in “definitive talks” with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ pension fund, a potential investor in the proposed 500-kilovolt energy transmission line at the Salton Sea. The line could potentially deliver new geothermal power at the Salton Sea into the CAISO grid.

Hawaii’s House Water and Land and the Energy and Environmental Protection Committees have amended a bill relating to how geothermal energy is regulated. Hawaii SB 2663 “Establishes a framework to regulate geothermal resources development through a permitting process administered by the Board of Land and Natural Resources and the appropriate county authority,” according to the State Legislature. Rep. Cindy Evans, chairwoman of the Water and Land Committee told local press amendments would allow for public input and increased transparency and would maintain county home rule. “The Big Island community has clearly expressed their desire for renewable energy and continue to ask why aren’t we developing more geothermal. This bill moves that discussion along,” she was quoted.

Announced on March 12, the African Development Bank and other sponsors have launched the African Renewable Energy Fund with US$100M capital. AREF is targeting a final close of US$200M in the next 12 months and aims to fund IPPs of between 5 MW and 50 MW.

Kenya’s National Energy Policy and Energy Bill is expected before Parliament by July, with plans to add 5,000 MW of new power production by 2017. At the same time, a Senate committee has requested in a written report that the government adequately fund geothermal development, supporting lower tariffs. “The recurrent budget allocation for FY 2013/14 is Sh877 million. GDC requires an additional Sh1.5 billion as recurrent allocation and also support the additional staff,” reads the report.

Also in Kenya, Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir has challenged Kenya Power to overcome delays in upgrading and expanding the transmission systems so it will be ready to handle the influx of power. Kenya’s Daily Nation notes that companies from around the world that are involved in the country’s geothermal work, or soon will be, including Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Geothermal Development Associates, Quantum Power (of Finland), and Ormat Technologies.

From Lebanon, Energy and Water Minister Arthur Nazarian announced the completion of a geothermal resource assessment for the country, with promising results. “The geothermal resource assessment for Lebanon showed that the geothermal energy available in the country is 1,000 million megawatt hours, which is 70 fold the amount of energy needed in Lebanon per year,” Nazarian was quoted in local news. CEDRO project, the United Nations Development Program, and the Ministry were collaborators.

A geothermal project in British Columbia, Canada, by LL Geothermal Inc., is nearing the exploration process. Plans include biochemical analyses, data gathering, and modelling in phase one; slim-hole drilling in phase two, and drilling production wells in phase three. The consortium made up of Kitselas First Nation, Enbridge, and Borealis GeoPower is targeting a 15-MW plant.

An article from Pakistan discusses the pathway to geothermal energy and other renewables being developed in the country. “Manghopir has hot sulphur springs that can be assessed for geothermal energy,” according to the article.

In the Philippines, Ex-Im Bank has signed a $1 billion MOU with the Philippine Department of Energy. According to the press release, Ex-Im provided the first geothermal project-finance transactions in the country in 1994: Cebu Geothermal for $170 million, and Mahanagdong Geothermal project for $211 million.

As the 40-MW Montelago geothermal project in the Philippines’ Oriental Mindoro approaches the drilling stage, company Emerging Power Inc. has been approved to raise its authorized capital stock to P500 million. The plant’s estimated costs are $180 million. Reynaldo Umali of the Second District of Oriental Mindoro, the House energy committee chairman, told press the project is expected to reduce the cost of electricity in Mindoro by 40%.

GT Energy has chosen SLR Consultings to manage the next phase of development in its deep geothermal project in Manchester, UK. “This geothermal project is an innovative green energy development that has the scope to be replicated across the UK in similar urban environments and areas with similar geology,” SLR principal planner Alan Mitchell was quoted in press.

In Turkey, the General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration selected 20 cities that will be explored for geothermal potential in 2014. The cost is US$13 million.

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