Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper plans to sign a new geothermal bill this week. Elsewhere around the world, geothermal projects are moving forward in stages of development in countries such as Canada, Australia, Indonesia and Japan.
GEA brings you our extended weekly roundup of geothermal news from around the world. To get these headlines delivered to your inbox in one easy list, subscribe here. Follow daily Twitter updates here. Read on for details below.
*California: Water Settlement Could Affect Salton Sea
An editorial on DesertSun.com (“Chinatown II? The future of the Salton Sea”) looks at possible ramifications of a contract known as the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement that would change water allotment and would affect the Salton Sea area in coming years. This includes local, state and national effects like loss of foods grown in the region, greater unemployment, desert conditions, and loss of water to the Salton Sea.
*Colorado: Governor to Sign Geothermal Bill into Law
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper plans to sign geothermal bill HB14-1222 into law on May 30 during a visit to Pagosa Springs. The bill, titles” Clean Energy Private Activity Bonds,” aims to mitigate financial risk associated with geothermal production by modifying existing eligibility and financing definitions. The Colorado bill was sponsored by Rep. Mike McLachlan (D) in the House and Gail Schwartz (D) and Ellen Roberts (R) in the Senate. [pagosasun.com; pagosadailypost.com]
*Hawaii: Regulators Ask HELCO to Act on Geothermal Contract
Hawaii regulators are requesting that Hawaii Electric Light Co. (HELCO) respond with its plans for completing a final “request for proposals” for geothermal energy in a process that has already been delayed by several months. “Such action is necessary is light of HELCO’s lack of timely, decisive action and urgency in completing the bid evaluation and selection processes to procure up to 50 megawatts of geothermal capacity on the island from interested bidders,” the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission said in an order to HELCO dated May 21. [bizjournals.com]
*Idaho: Statesman’s “Top 50 Stories in Past 150 Years” Includes Discovery of Geothermal
An article on idahostatesman.com includes the discovery of geothermal hot springs as one of the “Top 50 Stories” in 150 years of The Statesman. The article states, In January 1892, the Statesman published the “Record of the Year,” a news and development roundup from Secretary Clark of the Board of Trade. “The most important event of the year 1891, as well as in the history of the city, in my view, was the discovery of the flowing hot wells,” wrote Clark.
*Utah: Renewable Resources are Plentiful
An article on utahpolicy.com notes the state’s plentiful renewable energy resources that have begun to be utilized. Geothermal energy has been used in the state since Blundell became the first U.S. geothermal plant outside of California in the 1980s, and is now also home to Blundell 2, Thermo No. 1, and Cove Fort geothermal plants.
*Canada: Prince George Geothermal Exploration Gets Funding
The British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines will fund $3 million toward geothermal exploration west of Prince George. The project that has been awarded the amount is Geoscience BC’s “Targeting Resources for Exploration and Knowledge,” or TREK. The group will look for for both mineral formations and geothermal heat. [biv.com]
*Panama: Officials Cancel Baru-Colorado Project Request
A request that could have resulted in the first geothermal project in Panama, the 5-MWe Baru-Colorado Geothermal Project, has been canceled by authorities, according to bnamericas.com.
*Nicaragua: San Jacinto-Tizate Completes Stabilization and Performance Period
In Nicaragua, Ram Power subsidiary Polaris Energy Nicaragua announced it has completed a 30-day stabilization period and 7-day performance test of the San Jacinto-Tizate geothermal project. The performance test saw an average of 57.8 MW (gross) / 52.7 MW (net). [ram-power.com]
Asia and the Pacific
*Australia: CSIRO to Lose Geothermal Funding
Geothermal research will lose funding due to cuts in funding at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency. CSIRO’s funding is being cut by $111 million over four years. A statement said, “To adjust to the more difficult operating environment, we will stop our geothermal work and reduce other activities, especially in CO2 capture and efficient energy management.” [theage.com.au]
*Australia: Innamincka Exclusivity Agreement Signed
Geodynamics Limited and Beach Energy Limited have signed an Exclusivity Agreement for the supply of geothermal power from Innamincka, South Australia. As part of the agreement, Beach Energy will contribute $200,000 toward Geodynamics further research at the site over the next year. Geodynamics’ CEO Geoff Ward said in a statement, “The Habanero Pilot Plant trial and Field Development Plan demonstrated the potential for significant energy efficiency improvements, cost benefits and carbon emission reductions . . . [and] The research project will examine some new and innovative ways of achieving these benefits.” [businessspectator.com.au]
*Indonesia: Philippine Firm Enters Indonesia Geothermal Project
This week First Gen president Francis Giles Puno discussed subsidiary Energy Development Corporation’s involvement in an Indonesia geothermal project, although there is no contract had been signed yet. “EDC is having partnership discussions with an Indonesian concession holder for the possible joint development of one of their geothermal sites with a target development capacity of at least 200 MW and with an estimated project cost of US$ 1 billion,” Puno said. [Manila Bulletin]
*Indonesia: Sarulla to Break Ground “Very Soon”
A highly anticipated geothermal project in Indonesia is projected to be the world’s largest at 330 MW. “The Sarulla groundbreaking will be very soon,” Coordinating Economic Minister Chairul Tanjung told reporters. The Sarulla project will be supplied by GEA member Ormat Technologies. [Reuters]
*Japan: Growth Possible for Small-Scale Geothermal Projects
The Japanese IHI Corp. expects small-scale geothermal projects will take off in the country (rather than large geothermal plants). Representative Tomohiko Yamaguchi was quoted on Bloomberg Businessweek.com, “Small ones are easier to set up. They are faster to expand.” Yamaguchi said, The market to utilize heat from hot springs “is becoming active, helped by the government’s focus on clean energy.”
*Japan: JFE to Install Ormat System at Fukushima
JFE Holdings Inc. has been chosen for a geothermal power generation system order in the northern prefecture of Fukushima, Japan. The group will install a 400-kW system made by Ormat Technologies. [Bloomberg]
*New Zealand: Netherlands Institute to Aid Maori-Owned Geothermal Business
Wageningen Institute of The Netherlands will be partnering in New Zealand to help move a geothermal project forward for the Ngati Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau Geothermal Assets Ltd, a Maori-owned geothermal business. The university will work on the business aspects of a geothermal powered greenhouse development in Kawerau. [radionz.co.nz]
*UK: Crewe Project Moves Forward
Cheshire East Borough Council is moving forward with a geothermal project and has opened a tender notice for engineering companies who would like to compete for the project. The Department for Energy & Climate Change is providing a £200,000 grant for the Leighton area of Crewe. Duties of the geothermal delivery partner will include technical design services, including architecture, engineering, urban planning and scientific analysis. [theconstructionindex.co.uk]