International roundup: Geothermal in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Iran, Guatemala, China, and more

This post includes updates on the geothermal markets in California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Iran, Ethiopia, Kenya, Guatemala, Mexico, China, Indonesia, The Philippines, and the UK.

dip-october2014
Geothermal photos via Twitter users @dpcarrington in UK and @denisegoolsby in California.

Click below to read the international geothermal roundup.

U.S. States

*California: Salton Sea Could See Transformation
An article on palmspringslife.com takes a look at the Imperial County and Imperial Irrigation District’s Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative. The article points out supporters see the plan, which incorporates geothermal energy development, as both environmentally and economically helpful to the needs of the area. “[R]ecently, the odds of revitalizing this troubled body of water appear to be improving. Calls for the sea’s rehabilitation gained momentum this year when local stakeholders pitched Tesla on the area as the ideal site for the company’s newest battery manufacturing factory. In addition to diverse and abundant renewable energy to power its factory, the company could capitalize on vast local supplies of lithium, a byproduct of the brine from geothermal activity at the sea,” according to the article.

*Hawaii: Geothermal Can Lower Dependence on Energy Imports
An opinion piece on EnvironmentalLeader.com titled “Public Opposition Forces High Electricity Prices in Hawaii” explains that Hawaii’s electricity rates are the highest in the U.S. due to its dependence on imported energy. In 2010, the state imported “a whopping 94% of its energy,” writes Al Maiorino of Public Strategy Group, Inc. Maiorino posits that geothermal energy could help turn this trend around if locals were better educated about its use and benefits. Maiorino suggests geothermal energy providers reach every resident near a potential geothermal project in order to identify supporters and avoid costly delays in the approval process. His suggestions include effective mailers about project announcements; follow-up phone calls; open house community events; maintaining a database; and identifying and enabling key advocates.

*Maryland: Geothermal Heating Pays Off
In Howard County, Maryland, geothermal heating and cooling is providing benefits to long-term customers. “I’m probably saving an average of $3,000 to $3,500 a year,” John Fuller of Fulton told press. Geothermal customers in this area are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit through 2016, a state grant of $3,000, and $1,800 per compressor unit from BGE. [baltimoresun.com]

*Massachusetts: Bill Qualifies GHPs for Incentives
Geothermal heat pumps will qualify for incentives under a new Massachusetts bill that is expected to take effect on January 1, 2015. “Passage of SB 2214 is great news, and a huge victory for the geothermal heat pump industry in Massachusetts and across the country,” GEO president and CEO Doug Dougherty told press. [blog.trinity-solar.com]

*Nevada: Geothermal a “Deal Clincher” for Businesses
This week, the New York Times explored the future of renewables in Nevada, with geothermal energy high on the list, in an article titled “Warren Buffett’s Big Bet on Renewables in Nevada.” And, on EVworld.com, an article titled “Three Reasons Tesla Picked Nevada for Gigafactory” called geothermal energy “the deal clincher.”

Africa and the Middle East

*Iran: Geothermal Plant at Turbine Purchasing Stage
This week Yousef Armodeli, Managing Director of Renewable Energy Organization of Iran, updated local press on the progress of the country’s first geothermal power plant construction. “Currently, we are at the stage of purchasing turbines which will be installed in the drilled wells,” Armodeli was quoted by Tasnim News Agency. “Up to now, 11 wells have been drilled and tested in the site, 7 of which have reached geothermal reservoirs,” he said. In July we reported that a five-year economic development plan in discussion for Iran was to include geothermal energy.

*Ethiopia: EEP and Toshiba Create Geothermal Partnership
Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) and the Toshiba Corporation have signed a comprehensive partnership for geothermal energy development including power plant construction. [allafrica.com]

*Kenya: KenGen Seeks Joint Ventures
This week Albert Mugo, Chief Executive of Kenya Electricity Generating Co (KenGen), said the company is looking at possibilities for further geothermal projects through joint ventures with private partners. Such partnerships would be a first for the company. “We are also looking at being able to do joint ventures,” he said, adding private partners “can help us in mobilising the debt for the project and also inject a substantial amount of equity and then we do these projects together.” [Reuters]

*Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda: Power Line Would Connect Geothermal Fields
Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are seeking a consultant for a feasibility study to connect their nations by high voltage power line from Olkaria geothermal fields via Uganda to Birembo in Rwanda. The consultant will examine power needs and potential for export and imports until 2035 and will assess designs for the project. Bids are due by Oct. 17. [Reuters]

The Americas

*Guatemala: Ministry Considers Public-Private Partnerships for Geothermal
The Guatemalan Ministry of Energy and Mines is discussing plans to attract private investors in geothermal energy. A potential plan would see public-private partnerships in which the state would have a minimum of 5% and a maximum of 10% of the share in the potential partnerships. [prensalibra.com, Google Translate]

*Mexico: CFE to Study Cerritos Colorados Geothermal Area
In 2015 the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) of Mexico plans to pick up studies on the geothermal potential in ​​Cerritos Colorados area. CFE’s budget projects 907 million pesos for Cerritos Colorados geothermal between 2016 and 2018, pending approval by Congress. The CFE drilled the first exploration well in 1980 and the area is thought to hold about 590 GWh of geothermal potential. [informador.com, Google Translate]

Asia and the Pacific

*China: Geothermal Recognized as a Non-Carbon Solution
China is responding to calls to decrease carbon emissions, and in July announced 100 MW of geothermal by 2015 as part of its plan. The government plans to establish a national geothermal energy data and information system by next year. The country’s efforts are summarized in an article this month on renewableenergyworld.com.

*Indonesia: PPA Signed for Sokoria Project
Executives respresenting PT PLN (Persero) and PT Sokoria Geothermal Indonesia (SGI) have signed a final Power Purchase Agreement for power from the 30-MW Sokoria Geothermal Project on Flores Island, Indonesia. SGI also obtained a Temporary Electricity Business License and has secured a Bank Guarantee for the Performance Security Stage 1 for the first 5-MW unit of the project. Sokoria is a Joint Venture project with PT Bakrie Power. [RayaGroup.com (PDF)]

*The Philippines: Geothermal Company Considers International Prospects
Energy Development Corporation (EDC) which operates geothermal power plants in the Philippines is considering foreign geothermal prospects in areas such as Latin America, including Chile, Peru, and Nicaragua, as well as Indonesia. [mb.com]

Europe

*UK: Cornwall Demonstrates Geo Potential for Regional Use
A geothermal project at Cornwall successfully demonstrates deep geothermal potential, possibly throughout the region. The site has been visited this month by Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, as well as Lord Teverson, LibDem Spokesman for Energy and Climate Change in the House of Lords. “We need a broad base of renewable energy in the UK and I am pleased to see that a deep geothermal heat project is finally producing energy,” Davey was quoted in press. Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) manages the project with funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. [renewableenergymagazine.com]

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