“Weekly news roundup for international geothermal markets”
This week’s international roundup brings you headlines from California, Nevada, Ethiopia, Kenya, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Burma, New Zealand, Northern Marianas Islands, Vietnam, France, Hungary, and Iceland.
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*California: Geothermal Support Continues
An article on desertsun.com recaps this year’s legislative discussion around geothermal in California. “It was a very aggressive bill. It got a lot of opposition, but it also made it very far down the line. I think that shows there’s a lot of support in the state to advance geothermal as a resource,” state Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, the bill’s author, is quoted. Randy Keller, director of development for CalEnergy, a GEA member, also weighs in. “The Salton Sea resource is one of the hottest resources in the world — definitely in North America, but arguably the world,” Keller said. “Why would we try a different system when we’re sitting on the golden goose?” (See also “California Takes Steps Toward a New Policy Structure for Renewable Power” by Karl Gawell on Renewableenergyworld.com.)
*California: Net Metering Law Analyzed
A study from the Institute for Electric Innovation shows that California’s net metering law gives unfair advantages to solar companies. “The bulk of the subsidy goes to solar leasing companies — only a small fraction flows through to the customers themselves,” as summarized on smartgridnews.com.
*Nevada: Hillary Clinton Applauds Nevada’s Clean Energy Commitment
This month in Las Vegas, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. should lead in clean energy and credited the steps taken by Nevada toward a sustainable energy future. She pointed out Reno has been named as Tesla’s selection for a $5 billion automobile battery plant, and included geothermal energy in her comments. “Nevada was competitive because it had already invested in green energy, solar, geothermal and wind,” Clinton said. [abcnews.go.com]
*Ethiopia: Aluto-Langano Geothermal to be Completed by April
Ethiopia is aiming to see the 70-MW Aluto-Langano geothermal power plant installed and operating by April. Two more geothermal plants remain in the plans for the coming years as well — the 100-MW Tendaho in Afar and the 1,000-MW Corbetti — as the country seeks to meet the energy demands of the population. [allafrica.com]
*Kenya: GDC Expects 810 MW Geothermal by 2016
In an internal report, the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) of Kenya says it has developed 490 MW steam capacity since its inception, and has a target to deliver 810 MW to the national grid by December 2016. In Menengai in Nakuru, three power plants of 35 to 37 MW each are expected to add power to the national grid by December 2015, contracted by Sosian Energy, Quantum Power East Africa, and Ormat Technologies, respectively. [standardmedia.co.ke]
*El Salvador: Geothermal is the “Future of the Country”
Submitted by Marcelo Lippmann–The Salvadorean public utility, Comisión Ejecutiva Hidroeléctrica del Río Lempa (CEL), is looking to change its energy mix to emphasize the country’s natural resources, CEL President David López has told press. He says geothermal is the “future of the country” because it is a clean, renewable and cheap energy source. At present, geothermal satisfies 24% of El Salvador’s electricity needs, and the plan is to increase it to 40%. Mr. López added that four new geothermal areas have been explored, which will be developed under private industry-government ventures. [lapagina.com.sv]
*Guatemala: Ministry Considering New 300-MW Geothermal Tender
Submitted by Marcelo Lippmann–Guatemala’s Ministerio de Energía y Minas (MEM) is studying the possibility of opening a new tender for 300 MW of geothermal energy because of the low purchase prices obtained in the last bidding process. That was about 110 dollars per MWh, for a total of 250 MW in the bid called PEG-3 (see GeoEnergyWire – 29 January 2014). [www.mem.gob.gt]
*Mexico: University-Led Project Aims to Study Enhanced Geothermal and Lower Emissions
Lehigh University of Pennsylvania’s Energy Research Center has signed on to a project with the University of Michoacan San Nicolas de Hidalgo that will study and test methods of using CO2 to enhance geothermal energy extraction. The project will also lead efforts to recycle carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power plants. The project aims to help Mexico increase its use of renewable energy sources while reducing emissions. [labmanager.com]
*Nevis: Geothermal Contract Breached, Says WIP
West Indies Power (WIP) says it has instructed its legal counsel to begin legal action against the Nevis Island Administration (NIA). NIA recently awarded a geothermal concession to Nevis Renewable Energy International (NREI), but WIP says its own prior contract with the NIA is in full force and effect. Kerry McDonald, CEO of WIP stated, “The action of the NIA in seeking to grant a concession to develop the geothermal resources on Nevis to NREI, while there is an existing contract with WIP, is an intentional breach of contract and has no legal effect.”
Asia and the Pacific
*Burma: VP Wants to Utilize Renewable Sources
At meetings this month, Burmese Vice-President Nyan Htun raised concerns about energy consumption. Dvb.no quotes the VP that Burma is reliant on sources such as wood and charcoal, and that much of the population does not have energy access at all. The potential for renewable energy exists, and geothermal energy in particular, according to a United Nations Development Project report from May 2013.
*New Zealand: Geothermal Scientist Shares Research
This week stuff.co.nz posted an interview with Chris Bromley, GNS Science senior geothermal scientist. As this year’s Hochstetter Lecture recipient, awarded by the Geoscience Society New Zealand, Bromley is able to travel around the country to share his research. “It all comes down to economics,” he said about the future of geothermal in the country. Bromley believes New Zealand could reach 90% of its power generated from renewable sources by 2020.
*Northern Marianas Islands: Gualo Rai Exploration in Phase 2
Geothermal energy exploration by Commonwealth Utilities Corp. (CUC) shows potential for geothermal development in the Gualo Rai area. “We are now in the second phase of the study. It has been approved. We dug about 400 feet and we found some heat increase,” CUC Board Chairman David J. Sablan told local press. [mvariety.com]
*Vietnam: Champa Area Has High Geothermal Potential
Geothermal potential is high in the Champa area of Vietnam, according to onislam.net. The article notes that license applications by Ormat Technologies would cover the building of five geothermal energy plants with a total proposed capacity between 150 MW and 200 MW. These are located in Le Thuy in Quang Binh province, Mo Duc and Nghia Thang in Quang Ngai province, Hoi Van in Binh Dinh province, and Tu Bong in Khanh Hoa province. (Last week we included an announcement that Quang Tri Province had granted an investment certificate and construction permit for a 25-MW geothermal plant at Dakrong.)
*France: Geothermal Plans in the Works
An editorial in the New York Times this week, “France Bets on Geothermal Energy,” gives evidence that the country is betting on renewable energy and geothermal in particular. A new bill would unleash private investment in renewable energy, while in the meantime, GDF Suez is already planning at least one geothermal project per year in France over the next five years.
*Hungary: New Geothermal Unit for Miskolc
A new geothermal unit has been completed at PannErgy’s KUALA power plant in Miskolc. The new 30-MW unit will supply electricity to downtown Miskolc and the city’s University. [bbj.hu]
*Iceland: U.S. Sophomore Interviewed about Geothermal Studies
University of Pennsylvania sophomore Elizabeth Dresselhaus spent the summer studying geothermal energy in Iceland, and discusses her experience in an article on upenn.edu. Dresselhaus says, “My time in Iceland has certainly helped me to see that solving the energy crisis is dependent on interdisciplinary studies and initiatives. Balancing economic growth with environmental protection and social issues is the challenge of sustainable energy development, and I hope to work with other subjects in the future even though I plan on approaching energy mostly from the technological perspective.”
*Iceland: Geothermal Featured
This month decarboni.se features an article on geothermal energy in Iceland. The country’s seven geothermal power plants provide 30% of its electricity.