International roundup: Geothermal in North Dakota, Iran, Mexico, St. Lucia, Taiwan and more

This post brings you geothermal news from Hawaii, North Dakota, Iran, Mexico, St. Lucia, The Philippines, Taiwan, Hungary and Italy.

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Geothermal photos via Twitter users @AaronMandell in Oregon and @hafizhamdalah in Indonesia.

Click below to see this week’s international geothermal roundup.

U.S. States

*Hawaii: New Well Announced for Puna
Beginning in January, Puna Geothermal Venture plans to drill a new geothermal well that will support current power operations on the Big Island.

*North Dakota: Fargo Committee Recommends GHP for City Hall
Fargo City Hall Building Committee members have decided to recommend a plan for a geothermal heat pump at the new City Hall.

Africa and the Middle East

*Iran: 5-MW Pilot Geothermal Plant Feasible in Two Years
A team working at a potential geothermal site in Iran hopes to have a pilot 5-MW geothermal power plant up and running within two years. The managing director of the project was quoted in press, “Fifteen wells have already been drilled, and seven have run into geothermal reserves; with temperatures at 240˚C, they are highly efficient. Feasibility studies suggest the potential of electricity production in the region under study [that is to say Meshkinshahr] stands at about 250 MW.” In 2008 the Renewable Energy Organization of Iran named up to twelve areas that are possibly suitable for geothermal development.

The Americas

*Mexico: Round Zero Set for Private Investments
An upcoming auction known as round zero will be one of the next steps in Mexico’s move to allow for private investment in geothermal projects. CFE of Mexico is asking to retain some of the areas, and the energy ministry has 120 days to determine which areas CFE will maintain. CFE will also consider establishing joint ventures, Chief Executive Officer Enrique Ochoa told press. “There is a great opportunity for geothermal energy in Mexico,” Ochoa said. “It has not been explored much and has been difficult to develop. I am convinced that this legal change is going to result in geothermal energy taking off.”

*St. Lucia: Surface Exploration Begins in 2015
St. Lucia’s geothermal energy project will begin with surface exploration in early 2015. Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology Dr. James Fletcher told local press: “It all depends on what the exploration finds, but we believe that we can get as much as 30 megawatts, which is about 50 percent of our demand right now,” he said. “We are looking at anywhere between a 15 and 30 megawatt plant for Soufriere.” He added that the government is happy to be partnering with Ormat Technologies. “Now we have a geothermal development agreement and have made significant progress between the developer and LUCELEC on the power purchase agreement. We have also been able to secure financing from the World Bank, SIDS DOCK and the Government of New Zealand.”

Asia and the Pacific

*The Philippines: Auction Coming Up for Leyte Geo Supply Contracts
Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp. plans to auction the government’s supply contracts for geothermal energy from the Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plants (ULGPP) in the first quarter of 2015. ULGPP includes the 125-megawatt Upper Mahiao, 232.5-MW Malitbog, 180-MW Mahanagdong and 51-MW Optimization plants. “UL Bulk and Mindanao Coal are slated for next year’s privatization plan,” PSALM president and CEO Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. told press.

*Taiwan: 10-MW Geothermal Plant Eyed at Datun
Taiwan is looking at the Datun Mountain range as the site of a geothermal power plant starting at 10-MW capacity or up to 68.5 megawatt-hours per year. This is enough for 16,000 households. Local press reports it will be “Taiwan’s first geothermal plant and the second such endeavor following the one started in Yilan County but suspended in 2012 over environmental concerns.” The Bureau of Energy has earmarked NT$30 million (US$1 million) for exploration in 2015, with production drilling set for 2016.

Europe

*Hungary: Audi Factory to Use Geo Heating
The Audi factory in Györ, Hungary plans to install geothermal heating in 2015 that will cover up to 60 percent of the heat demand in the future.

*Italy: Bagnore Geothermal Plant Opens
Enel Green Power has completed its new geothermal power plant, Bagnore 4, in the Tuscany region of Italy. The 40-MW plant is expected to generate up to 310 million kWh per year saving 70 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent. Construction totaled 120 million euros and was partially financed by European Investment Bank.

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