International roundup: Geothermal in Oregon, Uganda, Japan, Vanuatu and more

This post bring you geothermal energy news from California, Oregon, Uganda, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Vanuatu.

Geothermal photos via Twitter users @ThomasJGray and @nevadamining
Geothermal photos via Twitter users @ThomasJGray and @nevadamining

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Click below for our international geothermal roundup.

U.S. States

*California: Lithium Extraction Company Seeks Funding
A Desert Sun article explains Simbol Materials, the company working on a project to extract lithium from geothermal brine has downsized to 10 employees, even though the technology to produce high-quality lithium has been proven. Jim McCown, Simbol’s director of human resources, told press that all remaining employees are focused on locating new funding.

*Oregon: EGS Opening Opportunities for More U.S. Sites
The Enhanced Geothermal Systems project by AltaRock Energy/Davenport Newberry Holdings in Oregon was featured this week on Huffington Post. Don Willmott writes, “Investors include the U.S. Department of Energy ($21.5 million) and even Google (up to $6.3 million). The goal is to push EGS forward until it’s capable of providing a significant slice of America’s power supply–even if takes a while. Today, natural geothermal adds up to only about 0.3 percent of U.S. electricity production (3.8 gigawatts), but according to a 2007 MIT study, EGS could push the number up to 10 percent by 2057 at competitive prices, in great part because the latest technology includes “multi-zone stimulation” that can get more heat than ever out of a single injection well.”

Africa

*Uganda: Geothermal Focus Increasing
The government of Uganda is viewing geothermal energy development as a way to help in its efforts toward energy reliability and security, economic development and with a mind to air quality, notes local press. Part of the plan for doing this includes building up the workforce to explore preliminary surveys and drilling, project review and planning, and later, production drilling, construction and commissioning. Japan’s JICA and the Kenyan government are also involved.

The Americas

*Canada: Geothermal Resources Available in Alberta
Alberta, Canada, is considering its energy future, and an article this week on calgaryherald.com highlights the possibilities. Benefits of choosing geothermal energy for Alberta include emissions reductions and no fuel costs. Alberta’s geothermal resources are documented by the Geological Survey of Canada and the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, yet “there isn’t even a permitting system in the province for geothermal electricity,” the article notes.

Asia and the Pacific

*Japan: Akita Prefecture to Get 42-MW Geo Plant
A 42-MW geothermal power station has been announced for northern Japan’s Akita prefecture, with a productivity date targeted for May 2019. The venture is spearheaded by Electric Power Development Co. known as “J-Power,” Mitsubishi Materials Corp. and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co. This is the first geothermal over 10 MW to be built in Japan since a 27.5-MW station in Oita prefecture in 1996, said a statement from Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corp. which is funding the project.

*New Zealand: Ties with Caribbean Strengthened
New Zealand has named Jan Henderson as the first Ambassador to the Caribbean region. Henderson pledged to work to “strengthen existing linkages and to create new ones.” New Zealand has been involved in aspects of the geothermal industry in St Lucia, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

*Vanuatu: Drilling Phase Approved in North Efate
Vanuatu’s Department of Environment has approved drilling at the Takara geothermal power project in North Efate. Geodynamics Limited has been exploring two sites and will determine feasibility.

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