Leading news: Geothermal a Unique Player in Politics and Economics

This post brings you news on renewable energy incentives, EPA rule recommendations, GEA member activities (including news of the Olkaria III expansion), EOIs for opportunities in Kenya and Saint Lucia, and more.

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California relies on geothermal energy to guarantee power for its customers. The table above shows that geothermal energy provided over 40% of the state’s total renewable energy production on December 2, 2014 (report dated December 3). Source: California ISO [PDF]. CAISO notes, “This table gives numeric values related to the production from the various types of renewable resources for the reporting day. All values are hourly average unless otherwise stated. Peak Production is an average over one minute. The total renewable production in megawatt-hours is compared to the total energy demand for the ISO system for the day.”

Click below for this week’s leading geothermal news.

*House Extenders Package Does Little for Renewables PTC
*GEA Members Move the Market Forward
*Ormat Technologies: 24-MW Expansion Planned for Olkaria III in Kenya 
*Geothermal Recommendations Would Improve EPA’s Clean Power Rule
*EOIs Invited for African Geothermal Centre Feasibility Study
*Saint Lucia Invites EOIs for Geothermal Consulting
*Geothermal Reps Head to Renewable Energy World Conference
*11 Countries Funded So Far in Global Geothermal Development Plan

House Extenders Package Does Little for Renewables PTC
The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote today December 4 on a bill, HR 5771, that would extend its tax extenders package for only one year–meaning the tax credit for new geothermal energy projects will be extended only through December 31, 2014 (three weeks from now). Senate office discussions from earlier in the week considered substituting a two year extension as proposed in the EXPIRE Act, but finally determined there is no time to amend it and they are resigned to simply pass it.

Energy Guardian reported: “Lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol said they wanted a longer term bill to give businesses and individuals more certainty. But they also said the one-year bill was the only viable option after a $400 billion multi-year draft plan discussed by leaders in both chambers was shelved after the White House voiced its opposition last week.”

“The three-week extension being considered by the House does not provide the certainty and stability needed to keep U.S. factories open and keep workers on the job,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association in a statement. “And if you think otherwise, try telling that to the American workers who will be laid off starting in January. A three-week extension kills jobs and provides businesses little ability to create the jobs we want to create.”

Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association Karl Gawell said, “We are urging the Senate to adopt the EXPIRE Act, which would extend the credits through 2015 and allow for some transition to future tax reform proposals. Geothermal representatives together with the other baseload renewable technologies have urged the Senate to consider their unique circumstances. They were all added to the Section 45 Production Tax Credit comparatively recently, have longer lead times and higher up-front costs and risks than other sources and have claimed only a very small fraction of the production credits allowed under section 45.”

The Senate is now expected to take up the House tax extenders legislation sometime next week before the currently scheduled adjournment date of December 11. The summary of the proposed House Bill is available at rules.house.gov [PDF].

GEA Members Move the Market Forward
During this holiday season, we would like to express gratitude to our members who make the work we do here at GEA possible. Each and every GEA member helps us work towards our goal to expand the geothermal industry in the U.S. and worldwide. The more members we have supporting us, the more we can do to advance the industry and promote growth for our member companies.

We believe the future looks positive for geothermal as individual states seek to adopt policies to strengthen the industry and international agencies move the world market forward. By the end of this year there will be 12.7 GW of operating capacity worldwide, with geothermal projects developing, built, or operating in over 80 countries. Help us continue to work for the future of the geothermal industry and your company by joining GEA today!

For membership information please contact Juliana@geo-energy.org or visit our Web site at geo-energy.org/become_member.

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Ormat Technologies: 24-MW Expansion Planned for Olkaria III in Kenya 
Press Release–Fourth plant at complex to come on line in second half of 2016 and will bring its capacity to 134 MW–(RENO, Nev.) December 4–Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) announced today its subsidiary has signed an amended and restated Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) with Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited (KPLC), paving the way for the expansion of the Olkaria complex.

Under the terms of the PPA, Ormat expects to increase the generating capacity of the complex by 24 MW, bringing the complex’s total capacity to 134 MW. The fourth plant is expected to come on line in the second half of 2016 and to sell electricity under a 20 years PPA with KPLC.

“Ormat’s Olkaria geothermal complex provides clean, reliable and firm power to over 200,000 Kenyan households, increasing the complex by an additional 24 MW will further benefit the Kenyan people. We see Kenya, with its progressive renewable energy policy, as an important market for us and where we will continue to explore additional projects”, said Ormat CEO Isaac Angel. “The synergies that derive from adding units to the existing complex allow smaller plants to be a cost effective and provide the additional power that the country needs in record speeds”.

Geothermal Recommendations Would Improve EPA’s Clean Power Rule
On December 1, GEA provided comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding its Clean Power Rule proposal for curbing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and building a cleaner U.S. power sector (Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602). The comments offer background information on geothermal energy and facts about the market’s ability to address the concerns of the U.S. energy market. The geothermal industry at large widely supports the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Rule, and the GEA gives six recommendations for improvement, ranging from additional opportunities that should be taken into account, to concerns that emissions reductions efforts should begin to receive credit toward the plan immediately, to requests for clarification on transactions that cross state borders.

“As Western States consider reducing their emissions, geothermal power should play a significant role in replacing more polluting generation while maintaining system reliability as a baseload and flexible power source,” says GEA.

EOIs Invited for African Geothermal Centre Feasibility Study
The Icelandic International Development Agency and the Nordic Development Fund are funding a feasibility study for the proposal to establish an African Geothermal Centre of Excellence in Kenya in coordination with the Geothermal Development Company of Kenya and other stakeholders. The organizers invite eligible, experienced and qualified companies from any country to express interest in being shortlisted to submit proposals for the contract. The deadline for EOI submission is December 12, 2014 at 16:00 Icelandic time.

The specific objective of this assignment is to ascertain the feasibility of establishing a regional geothermal training center in Kenya and prepare a concept note with recommendations on key aspects of establishing such a center, including: institutional set-up, operational model and long term sustainability. The assignment shall be conducted through a consultative process and with input from key stakeholders, as well as a review of relevant documents and studies.

The call for EOIs is online at http://www.iceida.is [PDF]. Would you like to receive Geothermal International Alerts from GEA? Send an email to leslie@geo-energy.org.

Saint Lucia Invites EOIs for Geothermal Consulting
The Government of Saint Lucia is requesting Expressions of Interest for geothermal-related consulting services in the World Bank’s Geothermal Resource Development Project in Saint Lucia. The consultant will assist with integrating technical and related aspects of the project and provide advice on project implementation. EOIs and other documents are due by December 12, 2014. View a PDF of the invitation or contact slupcu@gosl.gov.lc. Would you like to receive Geothermal International Alerts from GEA? Send an email to leslie@geo-energy.org.

Geothermal Reps Head to Renewable Energy World Conference
The Renewable Energy World North America Conference and Expo will be held next week, December 9-11, in Orlando Florida. The event is colocated with POWER-GEN International, POWER-GEN International Finance Forum and other related events with over 40,000 people expected to attend. GEA members will be in attendance and exhibiting at the show, including A-T Controls Inc., Atlas Copco, Cooling Tower Depot, EthosEnergy, Maarky Thermal Systems, Mitsubishi Power Systems, PB Power, SNC-Lavalin, SPX, TAS Energy, Vooner FloGard Corporation, and Wanzek Construction. In the conference sessions, geothermal energy speakers will include GEA members John Fox, CEO of ElectraTherm (who is a GEA Board Member) and Maria Richard, Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab Coordinator. Geothermal Energy Association staff member Leslie Blodgett will participate as a panel moderator.

11 Countries Funded So Far in Global Geothermal Development Plan
An article from the World Bank provides an update on the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). Since launching in March 2013, ESMAP has mobilized $235 million toward its Global Geothermal Development Plan through the Clean Technology Fund. With this work now well underway, projects have been identified in 11 countries: Turkey, Armenia, Indonesia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Mexico, Chile, Nicaragua, Dominica and St Lucia. Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association is quoted: “It is in its early stages, but it is happening, and it will mean strong growth for geothermal energy in the days ahead.”

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