Leading news: 2014 Expo in Photos; Looking Ahead to Tax Extenders, State RFPs

This post brings you photos from the recent Geothermal Energy Expo, as well as the latest on a possible renewal of tax credits for geothermal energy projects, a new Request for Proposals in Nevada, and more.

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This year’s Expo was located in Portland, Oregon.

Click below for GEA’s leading news.

*Industry Wraps Up the Geothermal Event of the Year 
*GEA Membership Supports Industry Events
*IRS Asks Congress to Act on Tax Extenders
*NV Energy Announces 100-MW Renewable Energy RFP and Oct. 10 Bidder’s Conference
*Hawaii Electric Light Requests Changes to Geothermal RFP
*GEA Submits Comments for Quadrennial Energy Review
*Smithsonian Scientists See Global Impacts of Climate Change

Industry Wraps Up the Geothermal Event of the Year 
From September 28 to October 1, companies, government, and individuals who are involved or interested in the geothermal industry met in Portland, Oregon, for the co-located GRC Annual Meetings and GEA’s Geothermal Energy Expo, which together comprised the most highly anticipated week of the year for the industry. This year’s exhibits featured state of the art technology as companies met to network and do business.

Best in Show exhibit awards went to A-T Controls, Best Small Booth:

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A-T Controls, Best Small Booth, Geothermal Energy Expo 2014

Mitsubishi Power Systems/Turboden, Best Large Booth:

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Mitsubishi Power Systems/Turboden, Best Large Booth, Geothermal Energy Expo 2014

and Scientific Drilling International, Most Popular:

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Scientific Drilling International, Most Popular Booth, Geothermal Energy Expo 2014

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Participants traveled from around the globe to engage in the largest annual geothermal event in the world. A delegation from East Africa traveled to Portland for the event as part of the 2014 Power Africa Geothermal Roadshow. High-level representatives from Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya gave presentations on the status of geothermal energy in their countries and were available for business meetings.

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Power Africa Geothermal Roadshow delegates from Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya presented country updates and opportunities at the 2014 Geothermal Energy Expo.

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Industry members said Portland, Oregon was the location of choice because within the U.S., the Pacific Northwest is a region of strong future potential for undeveloped geothermal energy. Doug Glaspey, president and founder of U.S. Geothermal in Boise, and Vice President of the GEA, told press his company is exploring a new project near Vale, Oregon. “If you’re going to continue growing a company, you’ve have to look elsewhere, and that elsewhere right now is the Pacific Northwest,” Glaspey was quoted by Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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GEA’s Karl Gawell introduces government & NGO speakers at the geothermal conference.

Of note during the Monday morning keynote sessions, Dave Olsen of the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO) spoke about the many ancillary values of geothermal power beyond its commonly recognized attributes like its baseload capability. Lesser known benefits of geothermal, such as its flexibility, bring diversity to the utility power mix, a point that GEA member companies have often urged leaders in regulatory policy to value and incorporate into their procurement strategies. (See “The Values of Geothermal Energy: A Discussion of the Benefits Geothermal Power Provides to the Future U.S. Power System” a free GEA report available at http://geo-energy.org/reports.aspx).

For more coverage on the annual geothermal event of the year, check out these stories:

  • “Why The Northwest Is the New Frontier For Geothermal Energy,” Oregon Public Broadcasting [earthfix.opb.org]
  • “Geothermal Industry Sees a New Frontier the Northwest,” by Cassandra Profita, Northwest Public Radio [nwpr.org]
  • “One hot ticket: Portland hosts the Geothermal Energy Expo,” by Wendy Culverwell, Portland Business Journal [bizjournals.com]
  • “Geothermal energy looks promising in the Pacific Northwest,” Hydrogen Fuel News [hydrogenfuelnews.com]

GEA Membership Supports Industry Events
Juliana Glenn, GEA staff–As the trade association for geothermal energy, GEA works hard to generate growth for Member companies and the geothermal industry. Members’ support makes possible events that bring the industry together, such as the recent Geothermal Energy Expo. GEA would like to thank Members and encourage non-members to consider a GEA membership. Benefits include:

  • Listing in GEA’s searchable online Member database
  • Discounts for all employees to attend GEA events and a special exhibitor rate at the Expo
  • Advance copies of GEA reports
  • Eligible to participate on GEA committees and win GEA Honors Awards
  • “Member Access” on GEA’s Web site with additional industry resources
  • Geothermal press releases published in GEA’s newsletter

To apply for membership, visit http://geo-energy.org/become_member.aspx. Contact: Juliana@geo-energy.org

IRS Asks Congress to Act on Tax Extenders
The GEA has received a copy of a letter written by John Koskinen, Commissioner of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore. asking he and his colleagues to make a decision regarding expired tax provisions without delay. Both Wyden and Republican counterpart Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah have said they support extending tax incentives for renewables, including geothermal energy, and an eventual overhaul of the tax code. The draft of the legislation includes extending the tax credit for geothermal for two years; it expired on December 31, 2013.

“The IRS is currently facing a great deal of uncertainty related to the expired provisions, which raises serious operational and compliance risks,” Koskinen writes. Tax professionals, software providers, and tax volunteers, as well as the IRS itself are some of the people who will face further delays and system changes, as well as possibly the need for millions of tax payers to file amended returns, if Congress does not make a decision on the expired provisions no later than the end of November. “I would appreciate if you would share with your colleagues that it would be detrimental to the entire 2015 tax filing season and to millions of taxpayers if Congress fails to provide a clear policy direction before the end of November,” added Koskinen.

NV Energy Announces 100-MW Renewable Energy RFP and Oct. 10 Bidder’s Conference
Nevada public utility NV Energy has announced a 100-MW renewable energy request for proposal and a related Bidder’s Conference. The 2014 RE RFP is the first of the three 100-MW request for proposals for renewable energy resources under SB123, and is open to those parties who currently own, propose to develop, or have rights to a renewable energy generating facility with a minimum capacity of 10 MW (AC).

The Renewable Energy RFP Bidder’s Conference will be held at NV Energy headquarters, Las Vegas (6226 W. Sahara Avenue) on Friday, October 10 at 9:30 a.m. It will be simultaneously video conferenced at the Reno office (6100 Neil Road). An audio connection also will be offered. For more information, including a projected timeline for awards, visit “NV Energy 2014 Renewable Energy RFP” [https://www.nvenergy.com].

Hawaii Electric Light Requests Changes to Geothermal RFP
New information is available regarding the Hawaiian Electric Light Company’s delayed request for proposals for geothermal development on the Big Island of Hawaii. HELCO has asked the PUC to approve a change in the geothermal RFP to cut geothermal development to 25 MW, to delay development for 11 years until 2025, and to consider only geothermal development on the west side of the island.

By contrast, the original RFP was for 50 MW, had a target range for start of commercial operations of 2018 to 2023, for geothermal resources located on the east side. HELCO expects to issue the new RFP on October 27.

The request to modify the Geothermal Request for Proposals is available here. For more on the history of the RFP, read the March 2014 article, “Hawaii Senator Blasts Agencies for Geothermal Project Standstill” on GeoEnergyWire. See also https://plus.google.com/+HawaiiRatepayers/posts.

GEA Submits Comments for Quadrennial Energy Review
This month the GEA submitted comments for the federal administration’s Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). Comments are due this Friday, October 10. In its comments, the GEA reminded the task force about the opportunities and barriers in relation to the energy infrastructure for geothermal power. “Since transmission infrastructure planned today will effect geothermal resources development for the coming decades, it’s important that areas with geothermal resources are considered during today’s transmission planning proceedings,” according to the comments. The GEA also sought to help identify areas where geothermal power can mitigate threats, reduce risks, and create opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security.

President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on January 9, 2014, directing the administration to conduct a QER. As described in the President’s Climate Action Plan, this first-ever QER process will focus on energy infrastructure and identify the threats, risks, and opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security, enabling the federal government to translate policy goals into a set of integrated actions. Information on past meetings, including video recordings, panelists’ statements, summaries of discussions and public comments are available online: www.energy.gov/qer.

Smithsonian Scientists See Global Impacts of Climate Change
For the first time, the Smithsonian Institution has released a statement about the causes and impacts of climate change. “Scientific evidence has demonstrated that the global climate is warming as a result of increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases generated by human activities,” begins the statement. “. . . The 500 Smithsonian scientists working around the world see the impact of a warming planet each day in the course of their diverse studies. A sample of our investigations includes anthropologists learning from the Native people of Alaska, who see warming as a threat to their 4,000-year-old culture; marine biologists tracking the impacts of climate change on delicate corals in tropical waters; and coastal ecologists investigating the many ways climate change is affecting the Chesapeake Bay.” For the full statement, visit newsdesk.si.edu.

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