International roundup: Geothermal in Ethiopia, Costa Rica, American Samoa, Germany and more

This post brings you geothermal news from Ethiopia, Kenya, Costa Rica, American Samoa, China, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Germany.

Geothermal photos via Twitter users @dorisig and @ThorirIbsen
Geothermal photos via Twitter users @dorisig and @ThorirIbsen

Click below for our international geothermal roundup.


*Ethiopia: Aluto Langano Exploration Contract Announced
Surface exploration at Ethiopia’s Aluto Langano geothermal field will be completed by Italian engineering firm ELC Electroconsult SpA through a recently announced USD-499,000 (EUR 429,300) contract. The Icelandic International Development Agency is involved.

*Kenya: University of Glasgow Student Visits Menengai
A post on details a trip to Kenya’s geothermal fields by Helen Robinson, who’s working on a PhD at the University of Glasgow with a focus on geothermal energy in the East African Rift. Robinson studied engineering in the field: “If the boreholes venting temperature remains above 165°C for the duration of venting, then it is likely that borehole will be used as a production well. Those that do not remain above the required temperature will be used as injection wells,” she explains. Along with plant engineering, she also looked at direct use projects. A geothermal system filters catfish waste, which is rich in ammonia, from catfish tanks for the purpose of watering bean plants. “The beans are very rich in nitrogen which is extracted and diluted with water to feed strawberry plants. Using this method for strawberry harvesting has resulted in 2kg of strawberries from 1 plant!” Robinson said.

The Americas

*Costa Rica: Legislature Considers Geo Development at National Parks
Costa Rica’s national legislature are considering three bills that address opening new areas at national parks to geothermal development. National Geographic writes, “The new legislation would allow the exploitation of geothermal energy within protected areas: two by public or private enterprise, and one permitting only the state electricity company. The third is considered to have the most potential to pass, but it has high-profile opponents, including President Luis Guillermo Solis, who said in December he would not support the bill.”

Asia and the Pacific

*American Samoa: Tutuila Exploration Takes Next Steps
In American Samoa, a team has found positive results for geothermal development and plans to continue with drilling and analysis on the main island, Tutuila. The American Samoa Power Authority and the American Samoa Renewal Energy Committee are involved.

*China: Government Writing Five-Year Geo Development Plan
China is working on a plan for developing geothermal energy over the years 2016 to 2020. The published guide could be ready as soon as July.

*Indonesia: Coal Continues to Lead, But With A Geothermal Push
A new Thermal Power Market report for Indonesia provides statistics on upcoming projects, production capacity, consumption, industry segmentation and forecast. The report also looks at government regulation such as the Fast Track Electricity Program, which supports power plants in two phases. Mostly coal-fired power plants are supported in FTP phase-I, and there is a drive for geothermal power production in FTP phase-II. Coal is expected to remain the highest producer in the coming years.

*New Zealand: Geo Grows 150% in 10 Years, Now 16% of Nation’s Total Energy
Geothermal energy in New Zealand has increased by more than 150% in the past decade and is now the second-to-top producing energy source in the country after hydro, surpassing gas. Geothermal now makes up 16% of New Zealand’s total energy output.

*New Zealand: Alpine Fault Shows Commercial Potential
A project to drill at New Zealand’s South Island Alpine Fault shows potential geothermal exploitability. GNS Science project co-leader Rupert Sutherland told local press: “The actual geothermal gradient that we’re looking at – so the rate of temperature increase with depth – is of the order in our borehole of 153°C, which is actually very similar to the Taupo/Rotorua region, where there is commercial geothermal energy.”


*Germany: New 4-MW Geothermal Plant Now Online
A new geothermal power plant south of Munich near Grünwald, Germany reached operations near the end of 2014. The ORC plant has a 4.3-MW capacity and is providing power from the Oberhaching Laufzorn geothermal field to consumers.

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