Leading news: Several GEA Members Reach Geothermal Project Milestones, and more

This post brings you news of PTC discussion in Congress, early registration for next year’s Geothermal Energy Expo, updates from GEA members involved in current geothermal power projects, international markets for U.S. companies to consider, student research in Nevada, and more.

The Caribbean is well primed to expand in geothermal production. Most countries in the Caribbean rely on expensive oil for their energy needs, but the islands are situated on continental plate boundaries that indicate geothermal potential. Estimated potential in the area is 850 MW. The figure compares current installed geothermal capacity to “announced developing capacity,” the estimated power plant capacity reported for a specific site by a private company, government agency or contractor associated with the site. Source: GEA report, “The Status of Geothermal Power in Emerging Economies,” see geo-energy.org/reports

Click below for GEA’s leading news.

*Geothermal PTC Part of Potential Post-Election Deal
*GEA Geothermal Energy Expo 2015 Exhibitor Registration Now Open
*Alternative Earth Resources: Crump Geyser, North Valley Geothermal Projects Sold
*Geothermal Development Associates: Ulumbu Geothermal Power Plant Commissioned
*Mitsubishi Power Systems: Order Received for First Privately Build Geothermal Plant in Mexico
*Pagosa Verde: Drilling to Begin at Pagosa Waters Geothermal Project
*GEA Director Participates in Global Geothermal Development Plan Roundtable Discussion
*Stanford Releases RFP Due November 17
*UNR Graduate Students Present Projects to U.S. Secretary Moniz
*ARGeo Conference Showcases Support for Geothermal in East Africa
*OPIC Blogs About Geothermal Conference and Expo
*GRC Posts Selected Presentations from Portland
*The Economist Weighs in on the Value of Baseload Power

Geothermal PTC Part of Potential Post-Election Deal
An article on Bloomberg Businessweek discusses a potential post-election deal lawmakers could take for reaching agreement on extending expired tax credits in Congress. Senate Democrats support the production tax credit for geothermal energy and other renewables, and are also supporting tax credits for families and low-income workers. House Republicans are leading support for most business tax credits.

Under current law, taxpaying geothermal energy providers are able to claim a 2.3 cent per kilowatt hour production tax credit (PTC) or a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) if their facility commenced construction before December 31, 2013. The bill extends it through December 31, 2015. In early October, the IRS asked Congress to make a decision on the tax breaks, as the uncertainty raises serious operational and compliance risks for the IRS.

GEA Geothermal Energy Expo 2015 Exhibitor Registration Now Open
Press Release (Reno, Nevada) October 28-–Registration is now open for exhibitors looking to showcase their projects, equipment, services and state-of-the-art technology to the geothermal community at the GRC Annual Meeting and GEA Geothermal Energy Expo in Reno, NV, next year. The Expo is the world’s largest gathering of the geothermal industry, providing support for geothermal resource exploration, characterization, development, production and management.

“Every year, the GEA Expo attracts the largest and most diverse group of geothermal stakeholders in the world,” said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. “Industry leaders interested in showing the industry and the world what they have to offer should make plans to come to Reno, NV, next September.”

The 2014 Expo welcomed over 1,500 influential attendees representing nearly 40 countries and 40 states to Portland. Attendees engaged with industry representatives and a wide range of technologies at 125 booths in the Expo Hall. Expo booths showcased the latest technology to support today’s power projects and tomorrow’s enhanced geothermal systems developments.

Exhibitors and attendees are excited to be back in Reno for the 2015 Expo. “The City of Reno is host to numerous geothermal companies and has enough geothermal production within the city limits to power the entire residential load. We are staunch supporters of the industry,” said The Honorable Bob Cashell, City of Reno Mayor. The 2015 Expo will be held at the Peppermill Resort & Casino.

GEA encourages international participants to plan early to have enough time for processing required visas or other travel documents. For information on U.S. State Department requirements for business travel, go to: http://travel.state.gov/pdf/BusinessVisa.pdf. For more info on the 2015 GEA Geothermal Energy Expo, please visit http://www.geothermalenergy2015.org.

Alternative Earth Resources: Crump Geyser and North Valley Geothermal Projects Sold
Press Release (Vancouver, B.C.) October 23–Alternative Earth Resources Inc. (“Alternative Earth” or “the Company”) (TSX.V: AER) today announced results for the year ended June 30, 2014. The Consolidated Financial Statements and Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) are available at http://www.sedar.com and on the Company’s website at http://www.alternative-earth.com. As at June 30, 2014, the Company’s assets (consisting primarily of cash and cash equivalents of $1.3 million) exceeded its liabilities (consisting primarily of asset retirement obligations) by approximately $1.6 million.

Subsequently, on August 27, 2014, the Company closed a Purchase and Sale Agreement with Ormat Nevada Inc. (“Ormat”), whereby Ormat purchased the Company’s Crump Geyser (50% interest) and North Valley geothermal projects. The agreement also gives Ormat an option, exercisable over a four year period, to purchase certain Company leases from the New Truckhaven geothermal project. The agreement will see the Company receiving up to $1.5 million in cash payments. The sum of $1.49 million was paid upon closing of the transaction, and a further $10,000 is payable if and when Ormat exercises the lease purchase option. As a result of this sale, AER’s project carrying costs are reduced to zero, while well abandonment liabilities were reduced by $0.2 million.

Geothermal Development Associates: Ulumbu Geothermal Power Plant Commissioned
Press Release–Geothermal Development Associates (GDA) is pleased to announce that the Ulumbu 2 x 2.5 MW Geothermal Power Plant has been commissioned and is now providing base load power for the local grid.

Ulumbu geothermal facility, Indonesia. Photo from Geothermal Development Associates

GDA designed the plant and supplied major equipment, including the steam turbine generator sets. GDA also manufactured auxiliary equipment packages to minimize installation time, including the lube oil system, turbine inlet control valve assembly, and the plant control system. The equipment and materials were shipped from GDA in 12 shipping containers during July and August of 2013.

PT Rekadaya Elektrika (Rekadaya) of Indonesia served as the general contractor, responsible for construction of the plant. Throughout 2014, GDA engineers were on-site working closely with Rekadaya engineers and construction crews to erect the plant and subsequent commissioning and performance testing. PLN UIP XI-UPK 3 formally handed the power plant over to PLN Wilayah NTT in a Taking Over Ceremony on September 4, 2014.

PLN is Indonesia’s state owned electricity company with a total installed electric capacity of 34,205 MW as of December 2013, of which 568 MW (2%) were geothermal. The Ulumbu geothermal field is located 13 km to the south of Ruteng, the capital of Central Manggarai Regency, Flores Island, in the East Nusa Tenggara Province of Indonesia.

Mitsubishi Power Systems: Order Received for First Privately Build Geothermal Plant in Mexico
Press Release (Yokohama) October 29–Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS) has received a full turnkey order from Grupo Dragon through Geotérmica para el Desarrollo S.A.P.I de C.V. (GEODESA), one of its power generation companies in Mexico, to build a 25 MW (megawatt) geothermal power generation plant. The event represents the 13th geothermal power generation plant to be supplied by the company to Mexico. The new power plant is slated to go on-stream in 2016.

MHPS received the order through Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems de México, S.A. de C.V. (MHPS-MEX), a business base of MHPS in Mexico. The power plant, which is Mexico’s first geothermal power generation project by a private company, will be built in Domo de San Pedro, Nayarit state in midwest Mexico. In the construction project, MHPS will be responsible for engineering, manufacture, procurement and installation of major components, including the steam turbine, and balance of plant (BOP), as well as civil engineering work and commissioning.

Grupo Dragon developed and also operates two wind power generation farms and currently develops photovoltaic farms as well as new geothermal projects along the country. The power produced at the newly ordered geothermal power plant will be supplied to different private companies, to support their business activities.

Mexico ranks fifth in the world in terms of geothermal resources, and to date MHPS has received the order of 12 geothermal power plants from two power stations (six plants each) of Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) until now. MHPS considers Mexico one of its most important markets, with MHPS supplying thermal and geothermal power generation systems equivalent to 40 percent of Mexico’s installed capacity.

Pagosa Verde: Drilling to Begin at Pagosa Waters Geothermal Project
This month, Pagosa Area Geothermal Water and Power Authority approved resolution 2014-2 to allow drilling to move forward on the Pagosa Waters Geothermal Project. Pagosa Verde said in a statment, “Drilling of six thermal gradient wells for the Pagosa Waters Geothermal Project is anticipated to begin in late October or early November after an extensive permitting and environmental process. Various governmental agencies including the Department of Energy, Colorado Division of Water Resources, and Fish and Wildlife Services have been involved.” [pagosasun.com]

GEA Director Participates in Global Geothermal Development Plan Roundtable Discussion
Last week, GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell participated in the Global Geothermal Development Plan Roundtable 2 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Gawell led a session called “Hard Talk” on geothermal market trends. The international roundtable included representatives of organizations from around the world including the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Germany, Turkey, Mexico, Indonesia, Iceland, Kenya, Tanzania, Armenia, and the U.S. The GGDP initiative is led by the World Bank/ESMAP in collaboration with bilateral and multilateral funding institutions. The aim of this second roundtable was for to discuss challenges, solutions, and accompanying policies for developing geothermal projects.

The World Bank/ESMAP Global Geothermal Development Plan Roundtable 2 was held in Copenhagen, Denmark

At the event, Anita M. George, Sr. Director, World Bank Group provided opening remarks. The agenda included over 30 governmental representatives, development institutions, industry, developers and financial experts. Many of these have participated in past GEA events including Dr. Subir K. Sanyal, President and Manager, Reservoir Engineering Services, GeothermEx, USA; Prof. Dr. Horst Rüter, Managing Director, IGA Service GmbH, Germany; Richard Zehner, Chief Geologist Geothermal Development Associates, USA; Dr. Horst Kreuter, Director Geothermal Power Tanzania; Isaac Nachman, Vice President, Project Finance and Development, Ormat Technologies, USA; and Dr. Pierre Audinet, ESMAP Clean Energy Program Team Leader, World Bank Group.

Stanford Releases RFP Due November 17
As previously announced, Stanford University’s Land Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE) department is soliciting bids from renewable energy sources through long term PPAs. The RFP is open to all CA RPS eligible renewable resources. Energy Edge Inc. with support from Black & Veatch and LBRE staff will lead the solicitation and evaluation process. The RFP is now available; Click here for the PDF.

UNR Graduate Students Present Projects to U.S. Secretary Moniz
An article on The Nevada Sagebrush provides details on U.S. DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz’s visit with University of Nevada, Reno geothermal graduate students on last Wednesday, October 22. The students included Neil Pearson, whose project is on aerial remote sensing of geothermal systems, and Joseph Dierkhising, who is studying northern Nevada development potential with the Nevada Seismological Lab. The article quotes Moniz saying that geothermal is a steady source of energy unlike wind and solar; is dispatchable and unaffected by weather; produces little to no greenhouse gases; and is profitable.

ARGeo Conference Showcases Support for Geothermal in East Africa
An article on Tanzania’s Daily News site provides details on last week’s 5th African Rift Valley Geothermal (ARGeo) Conference. Tanzania’s Assistant Commissioner for Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Edward Ishengoma, was quoted saying that geothermal could help “boost Tanzania’s industrial base” as well as reducing power tariffs by 20%. Arusha Regional Commissioner Magesa Mulongo was quoted, “Our efforts and plans should be based on resources that do not diminish and compromise with our environment, and in this context renewable energies such as geothermal are inevitable.”

OPIC Blogs About Geothermal Conference and Expo
Coverage continues to come in from the GRC Annual Meeting and GEA Geothermal Energy Expo. On The OPIC Blog (Overseas Private Investment Corporation), Stephen Morel included details about the visiting delegates from key East Africa geothermal markets. “Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz detailed the Obama administration’s strong interest in developing geothermal power in East Africa. Representatives from Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company and the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation discussed the opportunities in each country, including the areas within their countries rich in geothermal resources they are looking to develop,” he wrote. He also quotes U.S. geothermal industry leaders. “…Yoram Bronicki, chairman of Ormat Technologies, and Dennis Gilles, CEO of US Geothermal, made strong calls for increased awareness and education of policymakers of the benefits of geothermal power.”

GRC Posts Selected Presentations from Portland
Following up from last month’s geothermal events in Portland (GRC 39th Annual Meeting and GEA 2014 Geothermal Energy Expo), the Geothermal Resources Council has posted several presentations from the industry. On the U.S. side, these include an Geothermal Technologies Office Update from Doug Hollett, GTO Director; Geothermal As a System Resource from David Olsen, California ISO Board of Directors; and US Geothermal: Renewable Independent Power Producer from Dennis Gilles, CEO and Director, U.S. Geothermal.

International presentations are available from Australasia on Long-term Progress (Chris Bromely, GNS Science, NZ); Indonesia, Resource Opportunities (Dr. Suryantini, Bandung Institute of Technology); The Philippines, Prolonged Generation and Opportunity (Fernando Peñarroyo, National Geothermal Association of the Philippines); Japan, Renewed Opportunities (Kasumi Yasukawa, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology); Middle East, Expanding Development (Orhan Mertoğlu, Turkish Geothermal Association); Europe, Historic Legacy; Lasting Future (Eva Schill, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology); South America, Geothermal Progress (Diego Morata, University of Chile); Central America, Current Generation and Future Plans (Paul Moya, West Japan Engineering Consultants, Inc.); North America, Geothermal Developments and Opportunities (Luis Carlos Gutiérrez Negrín, Geocónsul, S.A. de C.V.); GDC’s Geothermal Development Strategy for Kenya: Progress & Opportunities (Ruth Musembi, Head of Corporate Communication & Marketing, GDC), and Ethiopia Update (Mekuria Lemma, Head of Corporate Planning, Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP)). [GRC Web site]

The Economist Weighs in on the Value of Baseload Power
An article in The Economist this week weighs in on the debate over whether “base-load power is dead.” The author writes, “The virtue of geothermal electricity is that it can provide base-load power, flexible power or anything in between. In other words, it can be a base-load producer that runs all the time, a “load-follower” that operates during the day and into the early evening, or even a “peaking power” plant that ramps up quickly to meet sudden spikes in demand. If the geothermal industry manages to get that message across, the days of wind and solar could well be numbered.”

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