Leading news: Energy Markets Need Geothermal Reliability and Cleanliness

This post brings you perspectives on U.S. green policies and the latest details from the East Africa geothermal industry.

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The map above shows known areas of geothermal manifestations in Malawi. The highest recorded temperature, at Chiweta spring in Rumphi, stands at 79.3°C. This was part of a presentation at the Fifth African Rift Geothermal Conference called, “Status of Geothermal Exploration in Malawi” by H. Kaonga, G. Tsokonombwe, and T. Kamanga, from the Geological Survey Department of Malawi. Presentations from all over Africa are now posted online (see below).

Click below for this week’s leading geothermal news.

*Senate and House Committee Leaders Seek Action on Grid Reliability
*Senators Introduce Carbon Pricing Legislation
*Clean Energy Mandates Withstand Repeal Across the U.S.
*ARGeo Conference Papers Posted Online
*UK to Tender Technical Assistance for East Africa Geothermal

Senate and House Committee Leaders Seek Action on Grid Reliability
Members of Congress sent a letter (PDF) to the top official at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission inquiring about agency coordination with Environmental Protection Agency in the development of the latter’s Clean Power Plan. The Members also shared their views in an official statement:

“The reliability of the grid is not optional,” Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said. “It has been apparent for some time that we may need to protect the grid from our own federal actions and ensure the growing number of environmental rules do not negatively impact reliability. The challenge before us is maintaining and improving reliability and ensuring our energy supply remains affordable.”

“New environmental regulations pose one of the most serious threats to our nation’s electric grid. This administration continues to regulate too much too fast without proper consideration of the consequences for American consumers,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “It is imperative that we know how these rules will impact reliability before they are implemented and that we have a plan in place to ensure that American families and businesses can keep the lights on.”

“Recent reports have raised significant concerns over the reliability impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan and other rules as to whether our grid can sustain the president’s proposed electricity sector overhaul. We can’t afford to play a guessing game when it comes to reliability, and we need to be assured that EPA won’t simply leave Americans in the dark,” said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY).

Senators Introduce Carbon Pricing Legislation
New carbon pricing legislation titled the “American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act” would require large emitters of greenhouse gases to pay $42 per ton.  The bill was released by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI). Schatz said in a statement, “Republicans in the Congress are going to take some time to warm up to this proposal, but I am confident that they will listen to their consciences and their constituents, and join us on the right side of history.” Whitehouse said, “We are subsidizing big polluters to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars annually by allowing them to pollute for free. We all pay the costs of this subsidy through higher health costs, property damage from rising seas, warming waters that affect our fishing industry, and more.”

Clean Energy Mandates Withstand Repeal Across the U.S.
An article in National Journal this week looks at green energy policies around the U.S., noting that many local Republicans support these policies and a countermovement funded largely by the Koch brothers has not been as successful as the notorious power players would have liked. Clare Foran writes: “Over the past two years, at least 40 bills aimed at weakening or repealing clean-energy mandates have been introduced in legislatures across the country … But not a single state has done away with its renewable-energy standard … And Democrats are not to blame … In Kansas and North Carolina, conservative lawmakers have voted against repeal—while Republicans in Minnesota and Nevada actually cast votes to strengthen clean-energy mandates last year.”

ARGeo Conference Papers Posted Online
The Fifth African Rift Geothermal Conference (ARGeo-C5) in Arusha, Tanzania brought together geothermal industry and government representatives from ARGeo member countries around Africa, as well as foreign representatives interested in collaborating. ARGeo-C5 organizers have now made the event’s Full Papers available at abstracts.theargeo.org/papers. The theme of the conference was “Geothermal: Solution to Africa Energy Needs,” and plenary sessions focused on financing and development strategies.

UK to Tender Technical Assistance for East Africa Geothermal
The Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom plans to tender technical assistance and has an associated Terms of Reference for Improving Strategy, Policy, and Regulation for East Africa Geothermal Power Investment. Details from DFID are available at supplierportal.dfid.gov.uk. Companies will need to register to the portal to view the details. The deadline for bids is December 18.

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