Leading news: New Year, New Goals for Geo Technology, Policy and Datasharing

This post brings you news about geothermal and oil industry possibilities, California’s inspiring new goal, notable committee leadership announcements for the new Congress, and what’s next for the NGDS.


The chart above provides a history of some of the political and economic effects on the geothermal industry in the U.S. It was prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and shows that the DOE’s annual budget for geothermal energy peaked in the 1970s. This was among the materials used by Geothermal Energy Association Executive Director Karl Gawell this week in a presentation on geothermal energy at the National Defense University.

Click below to read this week’s leading geothermal news.

*Energy Report Released with Geothermal Chapter from GEA
*California Becomes First State to Propose 50% Renewable Target
*Reichert to Chair Select Revenue Subcommittee
*Bishop to Chair House Natural Resources Committee
*Nonprofit Coalition Takes Lead on National Geothermal Data System

Energy Report Released with Geothermal Chapter from GEA
The American Petroleum Institute has released the State of American Energy Report – 2015. The Geothermal Energy Association contributed the report’s chapter on geothermal energy, discussing the state of the geothermal industry, the technology opportunities it shares with the oil and natural gas industry, and some of the political roadblocks the industry is working to overcome. “Oil and natural gas fields produce an average of 25 billion barrels of hot water annually, which could translate into over 3 GW of electricity,” the report says.

The report is meant as the oil and natural gas industry’s perspective on policies and issues that impact responsible energy production, transportation, and other choices for America’s future. “The constant pursuit of innovation, driven by both robust competition and entrepreneurial spirit, has enabled the United States to safely develop a spectrum of energy resources,” Jack Gerard, API President and CEO, in an introduction to the report. “With smart public policy choices and a regulatory system that supports domestic energy opportunities, the United States can realize a prosperous energy tomorrow characterized by energy abundance and economic security.”

California Becomes First State to Propose 50% Renewable Target
The Geothermal Energy Association applauded Governor Brown of California’s proposal this week for a new 50%-by-2030 standard for renewables in the state’s energy mix, tied in with carbon reduction goals. The GEA and its companies look forward to engaging the Governor and other state leaders in discussions about the role of geothermal energy in meeting the goal.

Karl Gawell, GEA’s Executive Director discussed the next steps for leadership. “It is our hope for the PUC to recognize that a diverse portfolio of renewables is the best profile to ensure a reliable power system for the state. Their forthcoming analysis on factoring integration costs into future procurement is sure to cast light on the values that are available if more of the state’s geothermal potential is realized. As the state moves towards higher renewable levels it also needs to protect its existing investments in clean, low- or no-carbon renewables.”

Brown’s announcement actually proposes three ambitious goals to be accomplished within 15 years: “Increase from one-third to 50% our electricity derived from renewable sources; Reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks b p to 50%; [and] Double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner,” according to his statement.

Gawell added, “We hope Governor Brown will examine and support the Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative. While his announcement assured consideration toward health impacts in the state, he did not mention the looming health issue at the Salton Sea.”

Previously the most ambitious target for a U.S. state was Hawaii’s 40% by 2030 target. Internationally, countries like Iceland, Denmark, and Scotland are working toward 100% renewable energy.

Reichert to Chair Select Revenue Subcommittee
U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-8) will serve as the new Chairman of the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee. “Among the issues facing our nation, reforming our tax code is one of the most critical,” he said in a statement. Representative Reichert has been Co-Chair of the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus and has worked in a bi-partisan fashion with Rep. Earl Blumenauer and others to support renewable tax incentives, including for geothermal energy.

Reichert has made Energy and Environment a key issue ever since joining Congress in 2005. He says: “I believe national energy policy should: “Conserve and make more efficient use of existing energy sources; Encourage the diversification of our energy supply through incentives for the development of alternative and renewable energy; and Ensure we have an adequate bridge to an energy-independent future.”

Bishop to Chair House Natural Resources Committee
Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) has been named as the new Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. He currently serves as Chairman of the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee. “I am honored to have been selected to serve in this important new role at the Natural Resources Committee. As Chairman I will work to ensure that our unique and abundant federal resources are properly managed and that a fair balance is reached between conservation and multiple use. Doc Hastings leaves big shoes to fill and I am grateful for all that he has done to advance and address natural resource policies,” said Congressman Bishop in a statement.

Nonprofit Coalition Takes Lead on National Geothermal Data System
The National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) is passing hands from its five DOE-funded projects to one National Data Repositories nonprofit coalition. The NGDS has successfully engaged 65+ sources in all 50 states to contribute their geothermal data. It is free for anyone to access or to add their own node in the network. There are additional big plans ahead for NGDS, according to the office of the State Geologist of Arizona, which has been overseeing the project:

“The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will be streaming our data into the online Global Renewable Energy Atlas. We are contributing our content models and interchange formats to the National Data Repositories coalitiont to a new online Business Rules Library for data management in the global upstream petroleum industry. Our model demonstrated that the White House Open Data Access Initiative could be viable and realistic. We are demonstrating how the national network of state-level data can be applied to other natural resources, to natural hazards, environmental, and land use topics.”

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