International roundup: Geothermal in Alaska, Missouri, Canada, Costa Rica, Azerbaijan, and more

This post includes updates on the geothermal markets in Alaska, Missouri, Canada, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.

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

Click below to read the international geothermal roundup.

U.S. States

*New Energy-Balancing System Covers Six Western States
The new Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) went live on November 1 and covers six western states – California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. The real-time market is designed to add additional participants in the future. EIM merges systems online to enable better coordination of energy management in the West. The result is the ability to “automatically balance demand in the West every five minutes with the lowest cost energy available,” according to a press release from the California Independent System Operator Corp. (CAISO). EIM has been a joint effort of CAISO and Portland-based PacifiCorp.

*Alaska: Pilgrim Hot Springs Tests Exceed Expectations
The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) has completed flow tests at the Pilgrim Hot Springs geothermal site that point to on-site use of the resource. Gwen Holdmann, director of ACEP, is quoted on that the tests “exceeded expectations” for uses such as on-site generation or greenhouses. More tests are needed to determine whether the resource could be exported to nearby Nome.

*Missouri: University Switches to Geothermal
Missouri University of Science and Technology will officially kick off its geothermal energy system on Thursday, November 6. The system consists of four plants connected to 17 buildings on campus for heating and cooling, and it also provides chilled water to most campus buildings. The university expects to cut its annual energy use by 50% and reduce its carbon footprint by 25,000 metric tons per year by using geothermal. []

The Americas

*Canada: Lakelse Project Could be Nation’s First Commercial Geothermal
This spring, Borealis GeoPower expects to begin exploration drilling for potential geothermal power at the Lakelse region in British Columbia. GE Canada talks about the economics of geothermal in Canada, which has yet to see a commercial geothermal power plant, on

*Costa Rica: Opening Parks to Geothermal Could Lower Electricity Costs
This week Citizen Action Party (PAC) lawmakers shared a plan supporting geothermal development in Costa Rica’s national parks, though only through the state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). The lawmakers met as part of a government panel convened by President Luis Guillermo Solis that seeks ways to lower electricity prices. []

Asia and the Pacific

*New Zealand: Geothermal Rep Comments on New Plant
The Te Mihi geothermal power station opened in August. In a video, Mike Dunstall, Contact’s GM of Geothermal R&D, says: “Today we are celebrating the opening of Te Mihi power station. This is a big part of the Wairakei Investment Programme which has been going on for a number of years. The power station construction itself since it started in 2011 has involved a huge workforce, up to 500 on site at a time. The power plant itself costs around $560 million but the total program is over &750 million. Geothermal generation is one of the best ways to generate electricity at a low cost. It’s a very very reliable form of generation, can generate 24-7, no concern about what the weather will do and it helps to reduce the overall cost of electricity supply for our customers. This plant’s a 166-MW plant, gross output, it’s enough electricity to supply over 160,000 tonnes. Contact does have a considerable amount of generation electricity from geothermal.” Contact has posted the video (, Waikato Times), which includes extensive footage of the geothermal plant, on their Facebook page.

Europe and Central Asia

*Azerbaijan: Geothermal Potential Estimated at 800 MW
According to Azerbaijan’s Agency on Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources, the country has over 12,000 MW of renewable energy resources. Of this, geothermal energy is estimated to have a potential of about 800 MW, said Samir Rahimov, Deputy Head of the Department of Investments and Strategic Development. The agency plans to support development of 300 MW of renewable energy in the near term, with a goal of 20% renewables share of energy consumption by 2020. []

*Turkey: Renewables to Increase in 2015
Turkey’s Ministry of Development has released details of its 2015 energy program. The country aims to increase electricity production from renewables to 28.8% in 2015. The program aims to ensure constant energy at low prices for consumers while diversifying the energy mix, and also has increased goals for natural gas and nuclear energy. Geothermal energy is included under the Mineral Research and Exploration General Directorate. []

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