Leading news: Stateside Opportunities Continue to Surface for Geothermal

This post brings you a post-election wrap-up from GEA’s Executive Director; updates from GEA members Mannvit and Ormat Technologies; a reminder about an International Update opportunity for GEA members this week; introduces new GEA members Atlas Copco Gas and Process, Cardno, Transmark Services, and Tuscarora USA; and advises the geothermal industry on additional opportunities from DOE, the Forest Service, and more.


Bids are due next week, November 12, for the first of three 100-MW renewable energy Requests for Proposals from NV Energy that are together being conducted in accordance with Senate Bill 123. See GEA’s Community Notice Board. The visual above shows how geothermal energy is leading the way in terms of Nevada’s renewable portfolio credits, with 71% of the credits total. Source: NV Energy

Click below for GEA’s leading news.

*Election Sets Stage for Business in the Lame Duck Session
*Mannvit: New District Heat Contract and New CEO Announced
*Ormat Technologies: Kenya Project Gets 25-Year PPA and Steam Supply Agreement
*GEA Members Invited to Nov. 6 Recap of Tanzania and Denmark Events
*GEA Welcomes New Member Companies Atlas Copco Gas and Process, Cardno, Transmark Services, and Tuscarora USA
*DOE Announces Geothermal Grants with LOI Due December 15
*EPA Details Climate Rule Issues, Seeks More Input
*New DOE Lab Program to Accelerate Commercialization of Clean Energy Technologies
*Forest Service Seeks Comments on Geothermal Potential at Mount Baker, Washington State
*East Coast Utility Issues RFP for Baseload Power

Election Sets Stage for Business in the Lame Duck Session
Karl Gawell, GEA Executive Director–The 2014 elections mark a return to election politics characterized by winning from the middle. This is a departure from recent years where campaigns seemed dominated by ideological extremes. As a result, the call in the air today seems to be for a Congress that can get down to business. How that transpires into Washington’s version of political reality will be tested as Congress returns for a lame duck session starting November 12.

Perhaps this will mean that legislation bottled up in Congress related to geothermal energy will move forward. From extension of the renewable tax credits to leasing and permitting reforms, there are several pieces of legislation that the geothermal industry should be watching in the coming lame duck session.

The Congress needs to pass a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running past December 11, and the industry needs to watch that play out with an eye toward possible funding impacts for geothermal programs at the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Land Management or other federal agencies.

It is likely that legislators and the media will focus the most attention around the EXPIRE Act, S. 2260. This is a bipartisan tax extender package pending in the Senate. It amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend through 2015 expiring tax provisions pertaining to individual and business taxpayers and the energy sector, including the tax credit for new geothermal projects. While there is considerable uncertainty about its fate, many Washington experts think it will move forward as a prelude to more significant tax reform work from Congress over the next two years. A good number of Senate offices have expressed support for the legislation, and some express the caveat that it will be the last extenders package, so groups whose interests are tied to time-limited tax provisions need to engage in tax reform discussions in 2015 and 2016.

Meanwhile, at least two other measures are also on the horizon. Both measures have been favorably reported by the House Resources Committee and await further action. They are:

H.R. 2004 (Simpson), To expand geothermal production, and for other purposes. “Geothermal Production Expansion Act of 2013.” H.R. 2004 is a mirror image of legislation in the Senate, S. 363, sponsored by Senator Wyden and co-sponsored by Senator Murkowski. S. 363 was passed by the Senate in July and the House Resources Committee reported it favorably in September.

The other is H.R. 1363 (Labrador), To promote timely exploration for geothermal resources under existing geothermal leases, and for other purposes. “Exploring for Geothermal Energy on Federal Lands Act.” H.R. 1363 was reported favorably by the House Resources Committee in September. There is no Senate counterpart, but there has been legislation introduced addressing the same issue – the need for aiding geothermal exploration. Senator Tester also introduced legislation, S.362, the Geothermal Exploration and Technology Act.

Action on S.363/HR 2004 is possible, but whether Congress will also try to move forward pieces of the other pending geothermal bills is uncertain at best.

See also an article from E&E News (login required) titled “Amid logjam, energy issues stand as potential bright spot.” The article states energy-focused export and infrastructure legislation are some of the best hopes for success in the next two years, while the tax landscape is uncertain.

Additionally, lyghtco.com has posted 2014 Clean Energy Election Summaries for the West, Midwest, South, and the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

Mannvit: New District Heat Contract and New CEO Announced
GEA member Mannvit has posted announcements about a contract for a district heat feasibility study and about the new CEO who will succeed Eyjolfur Arni Rafnsson beginning in 2015.

Mannvit News, October 15–Mannvit and UK subsidiary LWRC, have been awarded the contract for a comprehensive District Heat Network Feasibility Study for Allerdale Borough Council within the town of Workington, Cumbria, UK. Within a vigorously contested tender process, the Mannvit bid stood out with consistent quality, capability and track record across all areas of the deliverables including heat mapping, energy master plan, project prioritisation and business case.

Technical Director for the UK, Michael Moggeridge said “Not only have we pulled together a first class team for the project, but we have engaged with an enthusiastic and motivated client keen to reap the benefits of technologies at the forefront of heat generation. This will be a flagship project that clearly demonstrates the ability of a town to assess its thermal needs and deliver a truly sustainable solution for years to come”.

Mannvit News, October 22–Dr. Eyjolfur Arni Rafnsson, who has been the CEO of Mannvit for the past 12 years, will be stepping down as CEO at his own request at the end of 2014. Mr. Rafnsson will continue to work for the company in the areas of Project Management and Business Development.

Mr. Rafnsson’s successor as new CEO is Mr. Sigurhjörtur Sigfusson, who has held the position of CFO at Mannvit since 2012. Mr. Sigfusson is a Certified Public Accountant and has a degree in Accounting and Business from the University of Iceland. Prior to his position at Mannvit, he was the Head of Planning and Analysis at Skipti, holding company of Siminn (Iceland’s largest telecom company).

Ormat Technologies: Kenya Project Gets 25-Year PPA and Steam Supply Agreement
Press Release (Reno, Nev.) November 3–Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:ORA) today announced that its majority owned Kenyan subsidiary (the Project Company) owned by Ormat (51%), Symbion Power LLC (24.5%) and Civicon Ltd. (24.5%), signed a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power and Lighting Co. Ltd (KPLC) and a project implementation and steam supply agreement (PISSA) with Geothermal Development Company (GDC) for the 35 MW Menengai geothermal project in Kenya.

Under the PISSA agreement, the Project Company will finance, design, construct, install, operate and maintain the Menengai steam plant on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis for 25 years. GDC, which is wholly owned by the Government of Kenya, will develop the geothermal resource, supply the steam for conversion to electricity and maintain the geothermal field through the term of the agreement. Under the PPA, KPLC will purchase all the energy generated by the project.

The Menengai project is expected to benefit from the Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) arrangement to be provided by the African Development Bank. Moreover, this project is part of the Power Africa initiative promoted by the U.S. Government. Such initiative was launched by President Obama in June 2013 in order to increase access to power in sub-Saharan Africa. The Project Company expects to start construction upon financial closing.

Isaac Angel, Ormat’s Chief Executive Officer, stated: “We are extremely excited to contribute from Ormat’s expertise in the geothermal industry in building and operating this project. This will be our fifth plant in Kenya and once it is operational, we will supply 145 MW to the Kenyan grid. Upon completion of the Menengai project, more households in Kenya will gain access to cost-effective and clean power from their nation’s geothermal resources.”

GEA Members Invited to Nov. 6 Recap of Tanzania and Denmark Events
The 5th African Rift Geothermal (ARGeo) Conference was held this month in Arusha, Tanzania. Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal provided opening remarks and called on foreign investors to help boost the country’s power generation from 2,780 MW to 10,000 MW by 2025. ARGeo member countries moved forward on information sharing by launching an online geothermal database for the region. Plans were also discussed for a geothermal training center in Nakuru, Kenya, with funding from the United Nations Environment Programme, that would benefit all ARGeo member countries. And, each member country is to devise a policy to guide geothermal development. For Tanzania alone, there are 50 potential geothermal energy sites yet to be explored, Chief Executive Officer at the Geological Survey of Tanzania Abdulkarim Mruma told attendees. “Tanzania stands to benefit a lot from the proposed geothermal center,” Mruma was quoted in local press. [ippmedia.com; thecitizen.co.tz]

The Geothermal Energy Association will hold an International Update call for GEA members only this Thursday, November 6 to present highlights from two recent international events: the ARGeo Conference in Tanzania and the Global Geothermal Development Plan Roundtable in Copenhagen. On the phone we will have GEA’s Executive Director Karl Gawell and EAGP’s Acting Deputy Director Andrew Palmateer who will provide an overview of highlights from these events and take questions from participants on the call. If you would like to become a member of the GEA and join in on the call, contact Juliana, Juliana@geo-energy.org.

GEA Welcomes New Member Companies Atlas Copco Gas and Process, Cardno, Transmark Services, and Tuscarora USA
Juliana Glenn, GEA staff–The Geothermal Energy Association extends a warm welcome to our new members. GEA is dedicated to providing our members with the valuable information, resources, and networking opportunities companies need to grow and thrive. Membership dues provide the bulk of financial support for GEA and directly facilitate our efforts to engage policy makers on key industry issues, organize events, and produce industry data, reports, and publications. We would like to thank all of our members for their support. New GEA Members from August through October 2014 are:

Atlas Copco Gas and Process designs and manufactures standardized and customized compressors, expanders, and cryogenic pumps for a host of industries that keep the world in motion: oil and gas, industrial gases, and power generation. Their Web site can be found at atlascopco-gap.com.

Cardno is a professional infrastructure and environmental services company, with expertise in the development and improvement of physical and social infrastructure for communities around the world. Their Web site can be found at cardno.com.

Transmark Services is an Urla, Turkey based company that provides the following services: consulting and legal services, drilling and completion, exploration, power plant design and construction, project feasibility and analysis, reservoir assessment, and well field services. You can contact them at u.destegul@transmark-services.com.

Tuscarora USA is leading a project to provide fresh water and electrical energy throughout California by using geothermal heat to desalinate ocean water, and to generate electricity. Internal R & D includes innovative geothermal electric-generating plant designs that significantly lower exploration and development risk, while reducing the upfront capital expenditures. Their Web site can be found at tuscarorausa.net.

DOE Announces Geothermal Grants with LOI Due December 15
The Department of Energy has announced nine topics and 26 new subtopics under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. For geothermal, grant applications are sought in the following subtopics: Innovative Products or Technologies that Develop New Markets/Revenue Streams for Geothermal Energy, and Enabling Geothermal Co-produced Applications by Employing Electromagnetic Manipulation of Magnetizable Oil.

According to DOE, “The Geothermal Technologies Office seeks to fund electricity production or direct use applications but excludes ground source heat pumps. All innovations in new markets are welcome, including geographic locations, such as the eastern United States, new technological applications – power storage or other ancillary services, for example – and new revenue streams, including cascading direct use applications.

“The technology transfer opportunity is targeted to enable wider use of co-produced geothermal resources,” continues the DOE announcement, “specifically by developing a product that uses electromagnetic manipulation of magnetizable oil – a Fermi Lab developed technology under Patent No. 8795519 – to improve current oil/gas/water separation technologies.” To apply, eligible businesses must file by Monday, December 15 before 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Final applications are due February 3, 2015. [energy.gov]

EPA Details Climate Rule Issues, Seeks More Input
Via Sustainable Energy Coalition–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified some of the concerns it had heard about its plan to cut carbon emissions for power plants and offered new data on pollution as it called for more feedback on how to best develop flexible regulations to fight climate change. In a 60-page “notice of data availability” that supplements the proposed rule issue in June, the agency identified issues that had come up in meetings with states, utilities and greens who have weighed in on the plan. In particular, the agency is focusing on issues related to boosting natural gas-fired power, how to best credit states that develop renewable power, and the 2012 “baseline” from which states must cut carbon emissions. [Reuters, EPA]

New DOE Lab Program to Accelerate Commercialization of Clean Energy Technologies
Via Sustainable Energy Coalition–The U.S. Department of Energy has launched a new $2.3 million pilot program to accelerate the transfer of innovative clean energy technologies from the DOE’s National Laboratories into the commercial marketplace. Lab-Corps aims to better train and empower national lab researchers to successfully transition their discoveries into high-impact, real world technologies in the private sector. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will leverage its deep expertise in technology commercialization and clean energy sectors to develop, deliver, and manage the Lab-Corps training program across the laboratory sites, with support from Brookhaven National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratory. [U.S. Department of Energy]

Forest Service Seeks Comments on Geothermal Potential at Mount Baker, Washington State
The U.S. Forest Service is proposing an environmental review of about 130 square miles in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, with about 18 square miles to potentially be considered for geothermal use. The proposal is a response to an unnamed company’s request to nominate land for geothermal leasing. The Forest Service encourages comments from the public to be submitted on or before November 28. Bureau of Land Management state officials in Washington State have previously issued four geothermal leases to company Gradient Resources, and leasing would again be handled by the BLM. For more information including the Public Scoping Letter, visit fs.usda.gov. See also seattletimes.com.

East Coast Utility Issues RFP for Baseload Power
Dominion Virginia Power, a unit of Dominion (NYSE:D), has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for up to ~1,600 MW of intermediate or baseload generation to begin delivery in the 2019/2020 timeframe. The RFP is for power purchase agreements of 10 to 20 years for a minimum of 300 MW of new or existing dispatchable power generation. Interested parties must submit a Notice of Intent to Bid by 5:00 PM EST on November 14, 2014 and proposals must be submitted by 5:00 PM EST on December 19, 2014. For more information, visit dom.com/2014GenRFP.

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