International roundup: Geothermal in Hawaii, Iowa, Ethiopia, Canada, France, and more

This post includes updates on the geothermal markets in Hawaii, Iowa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada, Nicaragua, The Philippines, France, and Turkey.

Geothermal photos via Twitter users @shazola61 in New Zealand and @mikelongsv in Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A.
Geothermal photos via Twitter users @shazola61 in New Zealand and @mikelongsv in Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A.

Click below to read the international geothermal roundup.

U.S States

*Hawaii: Big Island Geothermal Discussion Continues
Senator Malama Solomon and Governor Neil Ambercrombie support geothermal energy, notes an article on A switch to mostly renewables could save 27% on residential energy bills, but bids for proposed geothermal projects have been caught up in politics for months. Hawaii’s geographic location puts it at risk economically if it remains dependent on imported fossil fuels, points out an article on Alajazeera.

*Iowa: West Union a Leader in Midwest Geo District Heating
The town of West Union, Iowa has connected a dozen businesses to its new geothermal district heating project that became operational earlier this year. This is thought to be one of the first projects of its kind in the Midwest for a municipality. Much of the funding came from a $1 million federal Department of Energy grant and a $500,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant. []


*Africa Energy Outlook Report Calls for Action
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released the Africa Energy Outlook Special Report showing a severe lack of electricity per capita in sub‑Saharan Africa. “Economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa hinges critically on fixing the energy sector,” IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol said in a statement. “The payoff can be huge; with each additional dollar invested in the power sector boosting the overall economy by $15.” The report finds that three actions could be key to boosting economic growth: an additional $450 billion in power sector investment; deeper regional co-operation and integration; and better management of energy resources and revenues.

*Ethiopia: Geothermal Valued in New Mining Sector Report
A new report on “Strategic assessment of the Ethiopian mineral sector” was compiled with assistance from the World Bank. It shows that the country’s geothermal energy resources could help it tap into a $5 billion-a-year mining sector. []

*Kenya: Olkaria 4 to be Commissioned This Week
The Olkaria 4 plant will be commissioned this Friday by Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta, and is expected to reflect in a lowered cost of energy as soon as this month. Officials hope to attract businesses setting up shop, and Kenya Electricity Generating Company is looking at setting up an industrial park near the power plant facility for this purpose. []

*Kenya: OPIC Grant Awarded for Olkaria Project
A $950,000 grant from the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Africa Clean Energy Facility will go toward consultation on Kenya’s 40-MW geothermal project. The project is located at Olkaria field, and drilling could commence in early 2015. The grant has been awarded under one of the programs of the administration’s Power Africa initiative. Akiira One Ltd., Ram Energy, and GreenMax companies are involved. []

The Americas

*Canada: Geothermal an Alternative to Dam Proposal
With research showing British Columbia could generate up to 5,500 MW of geothermal energy, the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association suggests geothermal as an alternative to BC Hydro’s Site C dam proposal. B.C. could make its decision about Site C sometime in November. []

*Nicaragua: Geothermal Operating Licenses Extended
Changes to geothermal exploitation law in Nicaragua will extend 25-year operating licenses to 30 years. Additionally, extensions will be prolonged by 10 to 30 years. [, Google Translate]

Asia and the Pacific

*The Philippines: 7 Projects Move Forward in Predevelopment Stages
The Philippines DOE-Mindanao senior science research specialist, Rolando J. Fara-on, has said seven geothermal service contracts awarded this summer are for projects in the predevelopment stage. Energy Development Corporation (EDC) was awarded service contracts for five projects, and AP Renewables Inc. (APRI) for the remaining two. EDC is working toward 140 MW of new geothermal energy at the 30 MW Mainit Geothermal Project, 40 MW Lakewood Geothermal Prospect, 30 MW Ampiro Geothermal Power Project, 20 MW Balatukan-Balingasag Geothermal Prospect; and the 20 MW Mt. Zion Geothermal Power Project. APRI projects are located at the Mt. Talomo-Tico Geothermal Power Project in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur and the Mt. Sibulan-Kapatagan Geothermal Power Project in Davao del Sur. []


*France: Geothermal Plans See 400% Increase by 2020
An article on points out that France’s plans for geothermal would bring its capacity to 80 MW by 2020, a 400% increase. Current geothermal heating accounts for between 3% and 6% of France’s total heat production. A current project near Paris will bring geothermal heating to another ~35,000 homes, while aquifers in the Dogger layer of sediment are already heating 170,000 homes. France gets 14% of its energy from renewable sources, and the EU has set a goal for member countries to reach 20% by 2020.

*Turkey: Water Treatment Increases Efficiency of Geo Plants
Three recent expansion projects at the Maren Enerji geothermal plants, as well as one new geothermal plant under construction, are using water treatment technology and Industrial Internet data analysis. The plants have have significantly reduced water usage, lowered CO2 emissions, and decreased corrosion. GE provided the technology to Kipaş Holding. []

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