Leading news: Geothermal Contributes to Sustainable Futures in California, Nevada, etc.

“This week’s top news for geothermal development and GEA members”

In this post, read about legislation underway in both California and Nevada that considers geothermal energy’s in planning for a sustainable and environmentally balanced future.

Source: EGS, Inc. Note: New technologies have allowed for some scenarios where the “Not Currently Viable”  portion of Figure 2 and the “EGS” portion at depths of 3000m - 5000m and temperatures of 100 - 150°C to become  economical geothermal projects.
Source: EGS, Inc. Note: New technologies have allowed for some scenarios where the “Not Currently Viable” portion and the “EGS” portion at depths of 3000m – 5000m and temperatures of 100 – 150°C to become economical geothermal projects.

The image above schematically illustrates the relationships between geothermal power technologies, depth, temperature and economic feasibility. Deciding how and where geothermal resource extraction will be most viable is “An integral part of geothermal power economics,” notes a recent GEA report titled The Manageable Risks of Conventional Hydrothermal Geothermal Power Systems. “Often geothermal developers spend a substantial amount of time gathering as much information as possible about subsurface conditions in order to reduce risk. This information increases drilling success and decreases geothermal project risk.”

Click below to keep reading “This week’s top news for geothermal development and GEA members”

*California Natural Resources Approves S.B. 1139
*Senators Incorporate Feedback in Nevada Sagebrush Landscape Conservation and Economic Development Act
*DOE Announces Rechargeable Energy Storage Device for Geothermal-Level Temperatures
*Yale Project Says Voters More Likely to Back Climate-Friendly Candidates

California Natural Resources Approves S.B. 1139
The California Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee approved the proposed geothermal legislation S. B. 1139 on June 26, with a 6-2 vote. Earlier in the week, the Utilities and Commerce Committee also passed it, by 8-5. The Senate approved it in May.

Karl Gawell, GEA’s Executive Director said, “The Geothermal Energy Association supports existing geothermal power facilities in California and efforts to expand geothermal power production in the state.”

If the bill is enacted, retail sellers would need to add a combined total 500 MW of electricity from baseload geothermal power plants by 2024. The bill is next expected to be heard in August, by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

California has known geothermal resource areas across the state. A concurrent initiative by the Imperial Irrigation District in Imperial County would use geothermal energy in a plan to restore the Salton Sea habitat and shorelines.

Senators Incorporate Feedback in Nevada Sagebrush Landscape Conservation and Economic Development Act
U.S. Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller have released a new draft of the Nevada Sagebrush Landscape Conservation and Economic Development Act that incorporates industry feedback. The legislation seeks to protect important sage-grouse habitat, while at the same time ensuring certainty for Nevada’s economy, including future geothermal development.

Senator Heller’s office distributed an email stating: “As you know, over 84% of sage-grouse habitat, as identified by U.S. Fish and Wildlife, is located on lands administered by the federal government in our state. This draft intends to direct specific management on those lands, providing certainty to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that some habitat will be treated and preserved, and to provide certainty to industries and local communities throughout Nevada so that they can continue to grow and prosper.

“One of the major goals of the economic development portion of this bill is to spur more energy development on federal lands. Sec.101 establishes a new categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). for geothermal drilling. A variety of companies have requested direct land sales for development. These are all ideas we are open to moving forward.”

Additionally, the Washoe County Commission voted unanimously for a resolution supporting the efforts of the Senators.

To view the draft click here. To view a summary of changes click here. Senator Heller’s office is inviting additional comments and requests by Friday, August 15; see GEA’s Community Notice Board for details.

DOE Announces Rechargeable Energy Storage Device for Geothermal-Level Temperatures
The Department of Energy and industry partner FastCAP Systems have successfully commercialized a first-of-its-kind rechargeable energy storage device that can handle the extreme temperatures of geothermal energy production. A press release states the ultracapacitor is “fully operational in 200°C conditions, extending the upper limit of high-temperature energy storage and electronics, and engineering a flexible system that could reduce cost and risks of geothermal drilling.” The expansion will see $2.2 million in Energy Department investment and $5.5 million in private investment.

“Widespread adoption of geothermal energy production is impeded by the cost of drilling deep wells in very hot formations—one of the greatest cost drivers in geothermal development,” according to the release. “FastCAP’s innovation targets this challenge: by utilizing a novel combination of downhole energy generation and storage capability, FastCAP’s system can generate and store the necessary power for downhole measurements while drilling (MWD), as well as enable communication with the surface. Combining these advancements will yield a complete geothermal downhole power source. The final upper operating temperature goal of the project is 250°C, though FastCAP expects its 200°C ultracapacitor technology to be deployed downhole as early as this year.”

Yale Project Says Voters More Likely to Back Climate-Friendly Candidates
Via Sustainable Energy Coalition/SUN DAY Campaign, source The Hill–New research from the Yale project on Climate Change Communication titled “The Politics of Global Warming” finds that registered voters are nearly three times as likely to vote for politicians at the federal level who believe that climate change is real and support action to address it. The research also finds a major divide among Republican voters on the issue. Roughly 61 percent of liberal or moderate Republican say climate change is happening, compared to 28 percent of conservative Republicans. And 65 percent of liberal or moderate Republicans are in favor of carbon dioxide limits on existing power plants to help mitigate climate change, Yale reports, compared to 31 percent of conservative Republicans.

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