“Weekly news roundup for international geothermal markets”
This week’s international roundup brings you headlines from California, Nevada, New York, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Vanuatu, Vietnam, France, and the UK.
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*California: Report Warns Against Inaction at the Salton Sea
A report by the Pacific Institute, “Hazard’s Toll,” quantifies the costs of inaction at the Salton Sea, where a revitalization or mitigation plan would be necessary to fix the declining water levels and air quality. Many people assign the cost of inaction to be $0, but the report finds this isn’t the case, and that the costs are escalating rapidly. These include (1) health care costs from dust emissions on human health; (2) regional property values go down due to health threats and declining aesthetic value; (3) agricultural productivity goes down due to dust emissions and loss of the Sea’s buffering impacts on temperature and humidity in nearby farmland; (4) recreational revenues go down and (5) ecological value is impacted as species are threatened and endangered. [pacinst.org (PDF); pacinst.org]
*California: Geothermal Generates 20% of California’s Renewable Power
ThinkGeoEnergy.com points out some key figures on geothermal energy in California as tracked (PDF) by the California Energy Commission: (1) Wholesale capacity is 2,700 MW or 16% of total renewable energy capacity in California; (2) Geothermal power generation is around 12,000 GWhs or around 20% of all renewable power generated in California; (3) in terms of Geothermal projects online in California, as of June 30, 2014, there were 44 with a total capacity of 2,753 MWe; and (4) Geothermal projects that have received environmental permits number 6, with a total potential capacity of 566 MWe.
*Nevada: Tesla Chooses Reno for Gigafactory
Tesla has chosen Reno, Nevada as the location for its planned $5 billion plant or Gigafactory where it plans to produce batteries for electric vehicles. An article on reviewjournal.com cites as many as 6,500 jobs that could be created, and it could be in operation by 2017 and produce up to 500,000 lithium-ion battery cells per year by 2020.
*New York: Geothermal Powers Cell Tower Structure at Cornell
Verizon and Cornell University partnered to create a ground-source geothermal cooling system for a cellular tower shelter near the school’s campus. The Verizon Foundation begin funding this and three other graduate research projects focused on energy sustainability in 2009, notes nationaldriller.com. The project could offset the use of conventional air conditioning units to cool the equipment shelters, and Cornell also sees it as “a real living laboratory for students,” stated Abby Westervelt, director of corporate relations.
*Nevis: Geothermal Concession Signed
The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) and Nevis Renewable Energy International, Inc. (NREI) have signed geothermal concession agreement. According to a press release, the next immediate agreement priority is to finalize a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between NEVLEC and NREI. The joint effort has included support from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources from Deloitte Consulting LLP and technical support from Tetra Tech Inc. [sknvibes.com]
*St. Lucia and New Zealand: Ministers Sign Geothermal Agreement
New Zealand will provide technical assistance for a geothermal project in St. Lucia. Dr. James Fletcher, Minister of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology signed a Geothermal Support Partnership Framework Agreement with New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully this week. “The Agreement is also designed to support training opportunities in geothermal energy through New Zealand Development Scholarships, and facilitate where possible, practical skills development opportunities,” according to an official statement. [dominicavibes.dm]
*St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Mount Soufriere Shows High Geothermal Potential
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has said that geothermal surface exploration at Mount Soufriere shows high potential for commercial production. The exploration thus far has included 34 magnetotelluric (MT) and transient electromagnetic (TEM) sounding sites. Emera and Reykjavik Geothermal are involved and have approved the next phase of funding. The government of New Zealand is advising. [caribbean360.com]
Asia and the Pacific
*Vanuatu: ESIA Submitted for Takara Project
The Vanuatu Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation is reviewing a draft Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) by Geodynamics Limited for its Takara Geothermal Power Project. It is hoped that geothermal energy will make Vanuatu less dependent on imported fuel. [proactiveinvestors.com]
*Vietnam: Permit Granted for Geo Plant at Dakrong
An article on lexology.com provides an overview on “Investing in geothermal power project in Vietnam.” It notes that Quang Tri Province has granted an investment certificate and construction permit for a geothermal energy plant with a capacity of 25 MW at Dakrong. The US$46.3 million project could be the first geothermal energy plant in Vietnam.
*France: Geothermal-Friendly Paris Gets Another System
In Paris, France, a new geothermal heating and cooling system is expected to be added in an area, halfway between the Eiffel Tower and the Orly airport. The new system would service around 170,000 homes as well as schools and hospitals. The Paris region has the world’s second largest concentration after Iceland of geothermal systems, notes bloomberg.com. See also cospp.com.
*UK: Glasgow, Midlothian to Use Geothermal from Mines
Geothermal pump demonstration projects are planned for two more cities in the UK using abandoned mines beneath the city: Clyde Gateway in eastern Glasgow as well as Shawfair in Midlothian. Project estimates show residents could save up to 75% of their heating bills if commercialized. [business-reporter.co.uk]