International geothermal news briefs for the week of April 7, 2014

Geothermal photos via Twitter users @ericamulherin in Iceland and @ravisarma in Wyoming, U.S.

U.S. States
*Michigan: MSU Team Wins Energy Student Challenge Prize
*Texas: Geothermal Coproduction Expanding
*Vermont: Utility to Consider Geothermal in Rate Structure Overhaul

*Ethiopia: First Phase of Corbetti to Yield 500 MW
*Kenya: KenGen to Reduce Dust, Encourage Local Trade

The Americas:
*Costa Rica: Bill Supports Financing for Pailas II Geothermal Project

*Indonesia: Geothermal Auction to Make Way for 375-MW Potential
*Japan: Capital Secured for Oita and Fukushima Projects
*The Philippines: Energy Sec. Visits 200-MW Project Site
*The Philippines: DOE Resource Assessment Nears Completion
*Solomon Islands: Geothermal Company Appoints Country Representative

Europe and Central Asia
*Iceland: R&D Project Seeks to Reduce Steam Odor
*Russia: Three Preschools Getting Geothermal Systems
*Spain: Geothermal Project Planned for Tenerife Island

The 2014 Clean Energy Challenge has announced the winners for its $500,000 award to innovative clean energy startups, which included a student geothermal team winning the $100,000 Dept. of Energy Student Challenge Prize. The team from Michigan State University won for its carbon-based turbine pump designed for use with geothermal steam. [Reuters, Crain’s Chicago Business]

Geothermal coproduction potential was highlighted in Texas news this week. Professor David Blackwell at Southern Methodist University’s Geothermal Lab was quoted explaining that new techniques allow geothermal to be produced at lower temperatures and to use geothermal fluids already being tapped at oil and gas fields. []

Stowe Electric of Vermont is considering geothermal energy in an overhaul of its rate structure. General manager Ellen Burt told local press that “Stowe is poised to be the rare utility that charges a special rate for customers tapping into the earth’s energy.” The utility also plans to begin building new headquarters this year that will include a geothermal system. [VTDigger]

Minister of water, irrigation and energy Alemayehu Tegenu says the first phase of the Corbetti, Ethiopia (or Korbete) geothermal project is expected to generate 500 MW, out of a 1,000-MW expected total generation. The $2 billion project will take about six years until completion. []

In an application to begin construction at the Olkaria, Kenya geothermal field, KenGen described plans to reduce dust emissions during construction by planting tree around the project area. The company will also reach out to Kenya Wildlife Service to establish a facility for local trade to sell to visitors of Hell’s Gate National Park. [Kenya Daily Nation]

The Pailas II Geothermal Project in Guanacaste, Costa Rica saw support this week through a bill that would support financial backing for the project’s construction. []

The Indonesian government is planning a geothermal energy site auction in mid-2014. Areas include Lake Ranau in Lampung and South Sumatra, Mount Lawu in Central and East Java, Mataloko in East Nusa Tenggara, Simbolon Samosir in North Sumatra, and Way Ratai in Lampung. The total expected potential power production of the included areas is at least 375 MW. []

More information is available about two projects in Japan that were chosen for the country’s first-ever loan guarantees for geothermal projects by the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation. The planned 400-kW unit in Fukushima will be a water-cooled binary system led by Tsuchiyu Onsen Energy Corporation, with funding from Fukushima Shinkin Bank. The planned 5-MW in Oita Prefecture will be an air-cooled binary system led by NEECO Corporation, with funding from Mizuho Bank, Ltd. and Nippon Life Insurance Company. [NationalJournal] has a blog up with photos from the recent visit by Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla to the project site of the Biliran Geothermal project, located in Barangay Cabibihan, Philippines, in Caibiran town. “We need private investors to come in and help solve the power situation in this country,” Secretary Petilla was quoted on the government Web site. Orka Energy-Biliran Geothermal Inc. has reported a possible generating capacity of 200 MW. [;]

Also in the Philippines, the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Management Bureau is completing a resource assessment under a P30.22-million budget. Three areas–Banton Island in Romblon, Balut Island in Saranggani, and Maricaban Island in Batangas–are seen as having high geothermal potential. []

After recent reports that Geodynamics (Australia) and joint venture partner Kentor Energy have completed an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the Savo Island Geothermal Power Project in the Solomon Islands, the company announced Mal Kuper as its Country Representative resident in Honiara. [Solomon Star News]

A research and development project at the Hellisheidi, Iceland geothermal power plant seeks to lower odor pollution. Reykjavik Energy has built a treatment plant to extract hydrogen sulphide from the steam output at one of its six units. The project team seeks to consider environmental and economic feasibility of further implementation. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Three projects bringing geothermal heating systems to preschools will be implemented this year in the Tomsk region of Russia, under an alternative energy development program. []

A geothermal power project that could begin operations in 2018 is being proposed on the island of Tenerife, Spain, by the Slovak company Arllen Development. The developer has signed a purchase agreement from a quarry, and discussions are underway with investors. []

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