International roundup: Geothermal in California, Pennsylvania, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Russia, and more

This post includes updates on the geothermal markets in California, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kenya, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, The Philippines, and Russia.

kenya-oct2014
Above: The commissioning event of Kenya’s new Olkaria IV geothermal plant; photos are from the Twitter account of Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta).

Click below to read the international geothermal roundup.

U.S. States

*California: Sonoma Clean Power Contracts for Geothermal Power
This week power utility Sonoma Clean Power announced it had entered a long-term contract for geothermal power from Calpine’s Geysers facilities in Sonoma County. The amount of power will increase until it reaches 50 MW in 2018, at which point the total energy coming from the Geysers will amount to 23% of Sonoma Clean Power’s mix. [northbaybusinessjournal.com]

*Colorado: Former Geothermal Hot Springs Site Gets a Remake
This week, developers broke ground on a geothermal hot springs destination called the Iron Mountain Hot Springs at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. The site was historically home to a geothermal hot springs in the past but has been vacant since 1996. [aspentimes.com]

*Michigan: Heating Project Involves Community
A geothermal project team at the Keweenaw Research Center at Michigan Technological University is involving the local community of Calumet village in the process. The interviews with local community members are meant to help build a framework of financial stability, cultural capital, and environmental balance. The team is testing for geothermal potential from 30 abandoned copper mineshafts that reach thousands of feet depth.  [midwestenergynews.com]

*Pennsylvania: Geothermal Replaces Coal Heating at WCU
This week, West Chester University of Pennsylvania is decommissioning its coal-fired power plant in favor of geothermal for heating and cooling needs. Many of the North Campus academic buildings and residence halls have already been converted to geothermal as a more efficient and sustainable source. [wcupa.edu]

Africa

*Kenya: Geothermal Represents Country Competitiveness, Says President
The East Africa energy world has been abuzz this week with the October 17 commissioning of the 140-MW Olkaria IV geothermal plant in Kenya. President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta called it “a milestone in our country’s journey to self-sufficiency, competitiveness and prosperity.” He shared that through rural electrification, 250 schools are being connected to power every week. The plant is being called the world’s largest single turbine geothermal plant, and plans are in place to commission another plant of the same size in December. [standardmedia.co.ke; the-star.co.ke]

The Americas

*Chile: Geothermal Mapping to Begin in Aysen Region
The local government for mining has announced a joint project with the Andean Geothermal Center of Excellence (CEGA) that prioritizes geothermal mapping in the region of Aysén. Sampling and analysis is expected to begin in December. “Our goal is to establish the hydrochemistry of thermal sources, which can give us an idea on the nature of said resources and the temperature that these fluids might have,” Dr. Linda Daniele, Hydrogeologist and researcher with CEGA told press. [thinkgeoenergy.com]

Asia and the Pacific

*China: O&G Producer Weighs in on Geothermal Pilot Projects
China Petrochemical Corp., a major oil and gas producer, is now seeking to commercialize geothermal energy under Sinopec Star Petroleum. The company has spent about 1 billion yuan on 10+ pilot projects. Sinopec researcher Zhou Zongying told press: “So far, geothermal energy’s development has been limited by the high initial investment required, but as more local governments are imposing restrictions on coal-fired heat and power generation, geothermal energy will have more room for development.” [scmp.com]

*India: Country Gets First Geothermal Heating System
India’s first geothermal space heating system has been installed at Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment in Himachal Pradesh state. The demonstration is working with a 115 kW output. After further tests, the annual reduction in carbon emission is expected to be 14.2 tonnes. [The Times of India]

*Indonesia: New Law Implemented in Sarulla Project
Latham and Watkins, LLC [lw.com] have posted an interview with Clarinda Tjia-Dharmadi, a member of their team who advised lenders on the 330-MW Sarulla geothermal power project. Sarulla is expected to be the largest geothermal power project in Indonesia when it opens, and is the first project to reach financial close under a new Fast Track 2 program. “Sarulla is the first project to have closed with the new form of government support and that is just crucial for any limited recourse financing project going forward in Indonesia,” said Tjia-Dharmadi.

*New Zealand: Geothermal has Lowest Cost for Capacity
Professor Rosalind Archer, director of the Geothermal Institute and head of the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Auckland was quoted on nzresources.com this week. “We are unlikely to build more large hydro stations. Geothermal has the lowest cost per unit of electricity generation capacity so it’s an attractive technology for future generation,” Archer said.

*The Philippines: Mindoro Project Gains New Investors
Mekong Brahmaputra Clean Development Fund (MBCDF) and the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) have joined as investors in the 40-MW geothermal power project in Oriental Mindoro led by Emerging Power, Inc. (EPI). Drilling is expected to start next month. “The geothermal project is expected to result in as much as P2.1 billion in savings (or by 40% from P11 per kilowatt-hour [/kWh] to P6.58/kWh) in electricity bills the people of Mindoro will pay in four years’ time,” EPI Chairman Martin Antonio G. Zamora told press. [bworldonline.com]

Europe

*Report Shows Geothermal is Competitive, but Support is Insignificant
The European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC) released a statement on the new European Commission interim report, “Subsidies and costs of EU energy.” EGEC stated, “The study clearly shows that geothermal power technologies present the highest load factor–even high than nuclear–with competitive costs (per kWh, estimated external costs included). The report shows that the level of support given to geothermal is insignificant compared to other mature of less mature technologies, even though the sector is ready to deploy new innovative technologies.” For the full statement go to egec.info [PDF]. For the report go to ec.europa.ec [PDF].

*Russia: Dagestan Republic Plans Geothermal Greenhouses
The Republic of Dagestan, a federal subject of Russia in the North Caucasus region, is planning to utilize geothermal wells for 30 hectares of new greenhouses. The geothermal greenhouses will be used for growing vegetables. [freshplaza.com]

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