Leading news: Geothermal Industry Heads to Oregon for Big Annual Event

This post brings you the week’s “Top news for geothermal development and GEA members,” including the latest on the highly anticipated Geothermal Energy Expo; legislative and regulatory efforts in Nevada, California, and the federal government; and headlines from GEA members Atlas Copco, Dewhurst Group, and Scientific Drilling.

But first:

Source:Geothermal・・・from FY2010 publication of The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, Wind・・・Generated power=installed capacity(2,186 MW(※1)×24hours×365days×capacity utilization(20%) Photovoltaic・・・Generated power=installed capacity(2,627 MW(※2))×24 hours×365 days×capacity utilization(12%) (※1)FY 2009 data from New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) (※2)METI calculated based on FY 2009 data from Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association, etc.

The graph above shows Japan’s generation and installed capacity for geothermal, wind, and photovoltaic. While installed capacity for geothermal was lower than wind and photovoltaic counterparts, at just over 500 MW, the amount of power generated from geothermal (2.9 GWh) stands comparison with photovoltaic (2.8 GWh) and wind (3.8 GWh). Japan has increasingly shown interest in the benefits of geothermal energy; a generous feed-in tariff and attention to the National Park Act are part of the efforts toward developing the country’s vast geothermal resources.

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

*World’s Largest Annual Geothermal Energy Gathering Opens This Sunday
*Senate Finance Committee Aligns on Extending Tax Incentives
*Global Geothermal Alliance Created at UN Climate Summit
*Nevada PUC Ruling to Affect SB 123 Geothermal Eligibility
*California Releases Draft Desert Renewable Energy and Conservation Plan
*Wildlife Conservation Plan Approved at Salton Sea
*Atlas Copco Among Top Ranked Companies in Dow Jones Sustainability Index
*Dewhurst Group CEO Interviewed on ThinkGeoEnergy
*Scientific Drilling Introduces the TiTAN22
*TMCC Student Team Wins National Competition Sponsored by the U.S. DOE
*Research Shows Strong Geothermal Growth in the Forecast
*DOE Produces Renewables Coloring and Activity Books for Students

World’s Largest Annual Geothermal Energy Gathering Opens This Sunday
The geothermal energy world is heading to Portland, Oregon from September 28 through October 1 to take part in the largest annual event for the industry. The GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo is the premier gathering to learn about the latest developments in geothermal energy. With the international market booming, last year, the GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Expo hosted representatives from more than 37 countries on six continents. In 2014, an even broader attendance of geothermal companies, academics, financiers, policy leaders, students, and other individuals is anticipated.

The GRC Annual Meeting will offer technical, policy, and market conference sessions, educational seminars, tours of local geothermal and renewable energy projects, and numerous networking opportunities. “Portland was chosen as the site for this meeting because it is the gateway to a new geothermal frontier in the U.S. Pacific Northwest,” said GRC Executive Director Steve Ponder. “Impressive geothermal sites and volcanoes are in the immediate vicinity and Portland itself has a vibrant downtown area with world class shopping and dining.” (Note that registration for the GEA Expo does not include attendance in the technical sessions; if you would like to attend the technical sessions, you should register through GRC.)

The GEA Expo floor features a unique opportunity for leaders in the business to showcase their projects, equipment, services and state of the art technology to the geothermal community. “The GEA Expo will showcase the latest innovations that are taking geothermal technology to the next level,” said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. “We look forward to dialoguing with the many industry leaders expected from nearly every continent, making Portland one of the hottest venues for geothermal in 2014.”

GEA Expo partners include Gold Level Sponsor EthosEnergy, Bronze Level Sponsor GEO Drilling Fluids, Inc., and other sponsors Atlas Copco, Ormat Technologies, Geothermal Resource Group, TNG Energy Services and POWER Engineers.

“This is an encouraging time for developers,” said William Harvey, Senior Project Engineer at POWER Engineers. He cited the rise in reasonable feed-in tariffs globally, improved exploration techniques, risk mitigation strategies for drilling, a competitive power plant equipment marketplace and wide needs for base load and green power as all “very positive aspects in the evolution of the [geothermal energy] industry.”

“We value the relationships that we’ve built over our many years of servicing the geothermal market,” noted Reza Akhavain, District Sales Manager, Siemens Energy. “During this year’s Geothermal Expo we hope to enhance these current relationships and develop new ones. The event has proven to be beneficial for our networking opportunities, general geothermal knowledge, and overall bottom line.”

Oregon, the location of this year’s event, has spearheaded new initiatives that move to recognize the values of geothermal power, leading the industry to be optimistic that state policies such as these could spark another period of growth in geothermal power over the next decade. In addition, Oregon Public Utility Commission changed its current methodology for calculating standard renewable avoided cost prices that might more fairly calculate the cost of geothermal power. Southern Oregon boasts a cluster of developing geothermal power projects that fall in a highly desirable Klamath Basin that geothermal developers are actively pursuing.

Special presentations for international visitors are available, and a Power Africa Pavilion at the GEA Expo will feature representatives from the leading countries in East Africa: Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda.

Ahead of the main events, on Sunday, September 28, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, there will be an industry briefing on East African geothermal project updates and opportunities (PDF). This briefing is part of the Power Africa – African Union Commission Geothermal Roadshow and is open to all on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information about the Expo, please visit geothermalenergy2014.org. Join the conversation on Twitter by following GEA at @geoenergist and #GEAExpo2014. For GEA Expo exhibitor or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kathy Kent Schott, 202 454 5263 or kathy@geo-energy.org. To request press credentials, please contact Shawna McGregor, The Rosen Group, 917 971 7852 or shawna@rosengrouppr.com.

Senate Finance Committee Aligns on Extending Tax Incentives
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore. and Republican counterpart Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah both support extending tax incentives for renewables, including geothermal energy, and an eventual overhaul of the tax code. “The alignment of the committee leadership makes it likely that Congress will revive the production tax credit,” opines washingtonexaminer.com.

Global Geothermal Alliance Created at UN Climate Summit
The United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 2014 in New York, included discussion on Energy as an Action Area that is “critical for keeping global temperature increases to less than two degrees Celsius,” notes un.org. A Global Geothermal Alliance was created as part of this, with partners including: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Fiji, Iceland, Kenya, Nicaragua, the Philippines; The Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank Group; and The International Renewable Energy Agency.

The Global Geothermal Alliance Action Statement (PDF) states it is “a platform for dialogue and knowledge-sharing among partners as well as a coalition for action to increase the share of installed geothermal electricity and heat generation worldwide.” The partnership plans to develop and adopt a detailed Work Plan for the Alliance by January 2015.

Nevada PUC Ruling to Affect SB 123 Geothermal Eligibility
The Nevada Public Utilities Commission will issue a decision in mid-October for Dkt 14-05003, Nevada Power’s Resource Plan, following hearings that were held this week. The issues raised and the outcome of that decision could significantly affect the geothermal industry’s ability to compete in the upcoming SB 123 RFP cycle. SB 123 requires the closure of approximately 1,200 MW of coal plants and requires that the energy be replaced with at least 600 MW from renewable energy facilities.

The upcoming SB 123 100-MW first round RFP, Rulemaking Dkt 13-06023, is due to be issued October 1, with a bidders conference scheduled October 8 and RFP responses due November 12. On Friday, September 26, Rulemaking Dkt 13-06023 will be on the NPUC agenda for a decision to finalize those dates and the initial RFP protocols.

Several contested issues are the topic of testimony in Dkt 14-05003 and will be decided in that docket. Those issues along with the associated NPUC decision on those issues could affect how and what resources are chosen in the upcoming RFP. Dkt 14-05003 could determine whether or not the NPUC will approve NPC’s proposed 200-MW PV project at the Moapa Indian reservation in Southern Nevada, as well as NPC’s proposed 15-MW PV project located at Nellis Air Force Base in Southern Nevada.

The Geothermal Energy Association filed initial informational comments. Ormat has filed extensive comments and testimony, identifying several issues that could be of significant consequences to geothermal and other bidders in the upcoming SB 123 RFP. They suggest an integration adder for solar, factors that should be explicitly recognized in bid evaluation, quantification of societal benefits of projects bid into the SB 123 RFP, and fair comparison of UOG and IPP projects.

California Releases Draft Desert Renewable Energy and Conservation Plan
After five years of work, federal and California agencies have released a proposed draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) intended to provide more environmental and permitting certainty for renewable projects in Southern California. The 8,000-page report is intended to facilitate development for projects cited in less sensitive areas. It addresses issues related to endangered species conservation, cumulative development impact and related matters.

The Geothermal Energy Association has been a member of the Stakeholder Group throughout the study process. Karl Gawell and John McCaull participated in numerous hearings for GEA and made a presentation to the group on geothermal energy in November 2011. Other geothermal companies also participated in the process, including a presentation by Jonathan Weisgall, GEA’s Chair, in 2012.

The public will have until January 2015 to provide comments on the Draft, which includes lands in Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. See http://www.drecp.org/about/. [More stories: desertsun.com; blog.ucsusa.org; wral.com]

Wildlife Conservation Plan Approved at Salton Sea
Federal Wildlife Conservation Plans for a portion of the Salton Sea have been approved. The restoration project there will place restored habitat area adjacent to geothermal development projects, and the decision opens the door for action on geothermal development there. Officials responded to the announcement: “This action will accelerate real progress in federal wetlands needed to sustain the ecology surrounding the sea,” said Jim Hanks, chairman of the Salton Sea Authority Board. “This is a boon for air quality,” said Bruce Wilcox, Imperial Irrigation District’s environmental manager for Salton Sea restoration. [sbsun.com]

Atlas Copco Among Top Ranked Companies in Dow Jones Sustainability Index
Press Release (COMMERCE CITY, Colo.) September 22––Atlas Copco, a leading provider of industrial productivity solutions, was again listed as one of the top companies in its industry in the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 2014/2015. The index lists the world’s leading sustainability-driven companies.

“It is gratifying that this well-respected index once again has chosen Atlas Copco for inclusion,” said Mala Chakraborti, Atlas Copco’s Vice President Corporate Responsibility. “It is the result of our continued hard work on sustainable productivity.”

Atlas Copco was among the top tier in the Machinery & Electrical Equipment industry, scoring particularly well in the categories of Environmental Policy/Management Systems, Environmental Reporting and Risk & Crisis Management.

The DJSI World index assesses some 2,500 public companies from around the world, and only 10% of those end up being included in the index. The index helps identify and measure the companies that represent an attractive investment opportunity by demonstrating an ability to manage sustainability issues. The companies were also analyzed on factors such as climate strategy, labor practices, occupational health and safety and strategy for emerging markets.

The DJSI ranking is based on research by RobecoSAM, a specialized and renowned investment group, in collaboration with S&P 500.

Earlier this year Atlas Copco was ranked number seven globally in the Newsweek Green Rankings, one of the world’s foremost rankings on corporate sustainability. The company was also recognized on the annual Global 100 list, presented at the World Economic Forum, as one of the world’s most sustainable companies.

Dewhurst Group CEO Interviewed on ThinkGeoEnergy
Dr. Warren Dewhurst, CEO of the GEA member company Dewhurst Group, was interviewed this week on the site ThinkGeoEnergy.com. He discusses topics such as obstacles to the business, names a few key international geothermal markets, and looks to the future direction of the geothermal industry. On the topic of funding, he says it would be “best spent creating easily accessible drilling risk mitigation funds.” Read the full interview here.

Scientific Drilling Introduces the TiTAN22
Press Release (Houston, TEXAS) September 17–SCIENTIFIC DRILLING INTERNATIONAL (SDI) is proud to introduce the TiTAN22, the ultimate performance motor solution.

The TiTAN22 is engineered to support the most demanding drilling environments to deliver reliability and durability across a wide range of applications. The innovative design features SDI’s Ti-Flex™ titanium flex shaft, and supports the highest torque power sections and most robust bearing assemblies in the industry – providing optimal drilling performance in all sections of the well.

The TiTAN22 delivers confidence and reliability through, enhanced weight-on-bit capacity for increased rate of penetration, a rugged driveline for the ultra-high torque applications, full rotational capacity in any section of the well, a short bit-to-bend for directional versatility, and a robust design system-matched for optimal PDC bit performance.

The TiTAN22 is ideal for drilling extended reach laterals, laminated formations, and factory drilling in shale reservoirs.

Jeff Ward, Drilling Systems – Product Line Manager at Scientific Drilling says, “We’re excited to commercially launch the new TiTAN22, targeting the unconventional resource plays market and confident it will set a new standard in motor performance and reliability”.

TMCC Student Team Wins National Competition Sponsored by the U.S. DOE
Press Release (Reno, Nev.)–A geothermal energy student team at Truckee Meadows Community College has won first place in the 2014 National Geothermal Student Competition (GSC), sponsored by the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) in the U.S. Department of Energy.

Students Phil Ulibarri and Kim Baccelli were mentored by TMCC professor Jim Nichols to create their winning geothermal energy infographic and educational outreach plan. The theme for this year is “GeoEnergy is Beautiful 2014.”

“It’s about being able to distill the information you learn in class, and to make it understandable to people in order for them to want to support geothermal energy,” Ulibarri said. “You have to translate the information to the average person who’s going to be buying and using geothermal,” Ulibarri said.

Ulibarri has posted his work on a website he hosts; http://www.youandmecleanenergy.com. The letters m and e in the domain stand for both Mother Earth and “me,” the possibility that each person can make a difference in protecting the environment, he said. Baccelli was offered a full time job and had to withdraw from the project, but Ulibarri was willing to work on the entry as a solo effort.

The team’s winning entry is a package of graphics, illustrations and outreach and education materials

The entire package contains a collection of 12 major visuals and illustrations, with additional outreach and educational content interconnected with the narrative portion of the entry. There is a colorful graphic of the earth with a dinosaur and volcano created for elementary school children, a diagram of geothermal energy delivery to buildings that is appropriate to middle school students, and more complex instructive illustrations about energy production for high school students.

“Each graphic can stand alone as its own story,” Ulibarri said.

Teams from U.S. colleges and universities entered their applications for this year’s contest in late February, and round one entries were due on April 25. The three semifinalist teams received $2,500 awards to further develop their infographics projects. In addition to the entry by the TMCC team, there were two other finalist teams from the University of Texas-Pan American and University of Mississippi, who placed second and third place respectively. Winners were announced on Sept. 4.

More information about the Geothermal Plant Operator Program can be found on tmcc.edu, (http://www.tmcc.edu/appliedtech/ait-programs/energy-technologies/).

Research Shows Strong Geothermal Growth in the Forecast
Transparency Market Research has released a new report on the global geothermal power generation market. “Geothermal Power Generation Market for Dry Steam, Flash Steam, Binary Cycle Technology – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013 – 2019,” states that geothermal worldwide was valued at US$2.5 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach US$8.9 billion by 2019. The report points out that geothermal is the only form of renewable power with high capacity utilization and base load capability. [mynewsdesk.com]

DOE Produces Renewables Coloring and Activity Books for Students
The Department of Energy has posted resources about renewable energy for students and teachers. The Get Current coloring book (PDF) introduces sources such as geothermal energy for young students. The Get Current activity book (PDF) uses puzzles and games to teach energy efficiency and renewable energy concepts.

DOE writes, “Perfect for pre-K and kindergarten students, the coloring book takes the student through solar, wind, water, hydropower, bioenergy and geothermal before demonstrating ways to improve energy efficiency—like plug in electric vehicles. The activity book includes crosswords, word games, math puzzles and more challenging fun ways to help students, learn, understand, and internalize the principles of energy literacy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.”

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