This post brings you geothermal news from California, New Mexico, New York, Virginia, Canada, Kenya, The Philippines, Hungary, and the UK.
Click below to see this week’s international geothermal roundup.
*California: PUC Gets New President
Commissioner Michael Picker is the new President of Public Utilities Commission (PUC), replacing Michael Peevey. An opinion piece with criticism for outgoing president Peevey says the new leadership must change how the PUC has been led in recent times–that is, favoring some utility requests and resulting in “less money to spend on clean energy, safe gas pipelines and critical electricity infrastructure.”
*New Mexico: Los Alamos Lab Started with Geo, Not Fossil Energy
A former researcher recently talked with press about how Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico got its start, which included geothermal energy as a key focus. In a Continuing Breakthrough Institute interview, Bob Hanold says, “Los Alamos started early on in the area of geothermal energy. We got Los Alamos started in microseismic mapping before fossil energy. We drilled wells in New Mexico in the backyard of Los Alamos. This was really the beginning of the energy applications of microseismic. This was in the early 1970s, funded by the Division of Geothermal Energy. After that we branched out to fossil energy.”
*New York: Bill would Establish Guidelines for Geothermal Heating
A new bill for New York City would establish guidelines for commercial and residential geothermal heating and would set up a directly of buildings that are well suited for the technology. The bill was expected to be introduced on Wednesday by New York Councilman Costa Constantinides, a Queens Democrat. Offsetting fossil fuels for heating is considered a significant part of cutting greenhouse emissions, with a city goal of reducing emissions 80% by 2050.
*Virginia: Geo Resources Granted to Surface Property Owners
The ownership of geothermal resources in the state of Virginia belongs to surface property owners, according to a new legal determination. The opinion was given by Attorney General of Virginia Mark R. Herring in response to Wise County Clerk of Courts Clerk J. Jack Kennedy, and states, “”that the rights to geothermal resources belong to the owner of the surface property unless specifically conveyed. They are not encompassed within mineral or water rights. Thus, a mineral or a water reservation does not reserve a geothermal resource, and a lease of oil, gas or some other mineral is not a lease of geothermal resources.”
*Canada: Geothermal Potential Valued by International Peers
A feature story in The Globe and Mail focuses on the lack of geothermal projects, and the lack of government support for geothermal development in general, in Canada. Alison Thompson, managing director of Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, explains that the industry has become more accessible over the years than many Canadians realize and that Canada’s potential is perceived differently internationally. “Since 2007, when we started, we have been taken a lot more seriously by international folk than we have been by people at home. The international folks look at what our country has, and they’d love to be operating here. This is a safer place to operate than Kenya or Ethiopia and some of the other developing nations that are still dealing with things like corruption and safety. So it is a little bit bewildering to everybody that we would leave fallow the resource that we have.”
*Kenya: Geothermal Nears 50% of Country’s Total Power
Geothermal was the top energy producer in Kenya for the month of December at about 44% of the energy mix. Hydro was next at 36%, and thermal diesel, 20%. Kenya Power managing director Ben Chumo told local press current goals include reducing the cost of power as well as reducing reliance on rainfall for hydro.
*Kenya: Three New Rigs Installed at Menengai
Three new rigs are being installed and tested for geothermal work at the Menengai geothermal field in Kenya. Johnstone Maleche, Manager Drilling Operations at Geothermal Development Company (GDC) explained to local press, “This installation and commissioning is key and is normally done by the supplier. He must prove that the rigs are working.” GDC now owns seven rigs total.
Asia and the Pacific
*The Philippines: Power from Apo and Unified Leyte Geothermal Under New Management
The Philippines’ governmental Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) has completed transfer of management of several geothermal plants. FDC Misamis Power Corp. will manage Mt. Apo 1 and 2 geothermal plants. Seven companies will manage strips of energy from the Unified Leyte plants. The seven companies are Aboitiz Energy Solutions Inc., which was awarded 40 MW; FDC Utilities Inc., 40 MW; Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp., 40 MW; Unified Leyte Geothermal Energy Inc., 40 MW; Good Friends Hydro Resources Corp., 20 MW; Vivant Energy Corp., with 17 MW; and Waterfront Mactan Casino Hotel Inc., 3 MW.
*Hungary: Project Would Convert Natural Gas District Heating to Geothermal
A recent article looking at various beneficial prospects for district heating and cogeneration in Europe provides information on a geothermal project in Hungary, where the City of Kecskemét seeks to convert its natural gas district heating to geothermal. The Intelligent Energy Europe MLEI- PDA facility under Horizon 2020 provided EUR 285000 for the project.
*UK: Chesire Basin Gets Geothermal Grant
A £88,000 government grant will support a new geothermal partnership at the Cheshire Basin, near Crewe. Cheshire East Council and Keele University have signed a memorandum of understanding, and PhD students at Keele will carry out the research.