Leading news: More Agencies and Markets Exploring Geothermal Opportunities

This post brings you updates on California renewable energy policies; a geothermal plant announced for Indonesia; Farm Bill loans and grants; opportunities for geothermal in Alaska and Kenya; and more.

DOEbudgetrequestFY16
Source: Geothermal Technologies Office, Department of Energy (PDF)

The visual above, from the U.S. Department of Energy, depicts the federal budget for the Geothermal Technologies Office since 2010. The budget request for 2016 shows a 74% increase from 2015. The geothermal program’s annual budget peaked in the late 1970s.

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

*California Forms Committee, Schedules Hearing for Salton Sea Action
*Alstom Power: Turnkey Geothermal Plant Announced for Indonesia
*Geothermal Eligible for New “Farm Bill” Loans and Grants
*U.S. House Starts Up Tax Extenders and Energy Bill
*Energy-Related California Bills Package Introduced
*Alaska Agency Issues Bell Island Geothermal RFP
*Manufacturers, Prospect Reviewers Wanted in Kenya

California Forms Committee, Schedules Hearing for Salton Sea Action
California State Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia has been appointed as head of the newly formed Assembly Select Committee on Renewable Energy Development and Restoration of the Salton Sea, which will focus on the ecological restoration of the area. An accompanying press release said of the Geothermal Energy Resource of the Salton Sea: “The Imperial Valley has more geothermal generating capacity than anywhere else in the United States. Unlike other large scale renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind, geothermal energy can be produced with minimal impact on landscape and habitat. It also provides a steady, reliable source of base load energy to the state electricity grid that is not subject to weather or seasonal fluctuations.”

On March 18 the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will hold a public hearing on the Salton Sea. SWRCB’s involvement was formally requested by Assemblymember Garcia. “I commend the State Water Board for acting swiftly and for considering my request on the Sea,” Garcia stated in his letter to SWRCB. “The future of the Salton Sea is in our hands and any further delay on the Sea puts our entire region at risk for serious economic, environmental, and public health consequences . . . As the State Assemblymember for the Coachella Valley and Imperial Valley–I look forward to collaborating with the SWRCB and other QSA stakeholders from the region to making real progress in tackling the restoration of the Salton Sea.”

Alstom Power: Turnkey Geothermal Plant Announced for Indonesia
Press Release, February 11 — Alstom has been awarded a contract worth over €61 million by PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy to supply and install a 30 MW geothermal plant for the Karaha Power Plant in West Java, Indonesia. Alstom will design, supply, install and commission the entire power plant (EPC contract). The project will be delivered by the end of 2016.

Indonesia, with its unique geology, houses the world’s largest potential geothermal source which is estimated to be nearly 30,000 MW. However, recent figures indicated that Indonesia is not harnessing the potential of geothermal energy, with the source contributing only 5% of its estimated capacity into the power mix.

The Indonesian authority, in looking to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions and leverage on the huge geothermal reserves, made the decision to fast-track the development of Indonesia’s power industry and has signed numerous geothermal-related contracts in the last few years.

“We are delighted to play a key role in helping Indonesia achieve its energy goals,” said Steven Moss, Vice President in charge of Renewable Steam Plants at Alstom. “This installation reinforces Alstom’s continued commitment to the geothermal markets and the importance of this renewable fuel source”.

Rony Gunawan, CEO of PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy said, “The competitiveness of Alstom’s offer including quality, environment, health and safety, was key in the awarding of the contract. We are looking forward Alstom improving capability and effectiveness to manage the project.”

Alstom has been present in Indonesia for nearly 50 years, having provided various solutions to support Indonesia’s power and rail transport infrastructure. It employs around 1,500 people.

Geothermal Eligible for New “Farm Bill” Loans and Grants
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced new rounds of $200 million in loans and $80 million in grants under the Renewable Energy for America Program. That program in 2012 gave a grant of about $49,000 to Cozy Acres Greenhouses in North Yarmouth, which included installation of a geothermal heating system for the seven greenhouses.

Federal information states: “Renewable energy projects for the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loan and Grant Program include wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, and hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources. These grants are limited to 25% of a proposed project’s cost, and a loan guarantee may not exceed $25 million. The combined amount of a grant and loan guarantee must be at least $5,000 (with the grant portion at least $1,500) and may not exceed 75% of the project’s cost. In general, a minimum of 20% of the funds available for these incentives will be dedicated to grants of $20,000 or less.”

U.S. House Starts Up Tax Extenders and Energy Bill
The House Committee on Ways and Means is looking at two tax extenders bills this week. Votes are expected on extending tax credits for charitable giving as well as whether to permanently extend tax credits for small businesses. The White House has stated that it will veto both bills as there is no plan for offsetting the cost. While no energy provisions have been mentioned yet, the GEA will continue to monitor the progress.

Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans also released their outline for a broad energy bill that includes attention to modernizing transmission, increasing exports and monitoring EPA’s emissions standards. While neither renewable power nor geothermal were specifically mentioned, the GEA will continue to monitor the progress. Read “The Architecture of Abundance: A Legislative Framework” — http://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/files/114/Analysis/AoA/20150209AOAFramework.pdf

Energy-Related California Bills Package Introduced
A package of bills proposed in California this week continues legislative discussions on the energy and environmental fronts:

  • SB 350 would require that by 2030, 50% of California’s energy come from renewables; energy efficiency in buildings be increased by 50%; and petroleum use by cars and trucks be reduced by 50%.
  • SB 185 would require the California Public Employees Retirement System and the State Teacher’s Retirement System to divest from companies with 50% or more of their revenues in coal mining or coal burning.
  • SB 32 would require cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Schwarzenegger’s 2006 AB 32 currently requires 1990 levels by 2020.
  • SB 189 would establish a committee to advise the Legislature on clean energy and climate policies.

Alaska Agency Issues Bell Island Geothermal RFP
The Southeast Alaska Power Agency has issued a Request for Proposals for the Bell Island Geothermal Evaluation, including Surface Investigation and Preliminary Planning Services. The RFP explains: “Preliminary geotechnical and geochemical analysis were conducted for the Bell Island Hot Springs site in 19803 and preliminary estimates of reservoir temperature and reservoir volume were documented. Since 1980, the science of geothermal investigation has progressed and advancements in binary geothermal generation have changed our classification of generation sites that were previously considered unviable. The purpose for this request for proposals is to gain an updated, preliminary estimate of the potential for geothermal sourced generation at Bell Island based on a due diligence geochemical and geotechnical site investigation.”

The RFP is available at geo-energy.org/Newsletter/2015pdfs/Bell%20Island%20Geothermal%20Evaluation%20RFP.pdf. Contact: sthompson@seapahydro.org. Proposals are due March 6 at 4:00 p.m. AKST. The project is expected to commence in March 2015 with a completion date of June 19, 2015.

Manufacturers, Prospect Reviewers Wanted in Kenya
The Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen) is looking for manufacturers and authorized dealers to supply parts and equipment for its use in geothermal resource development. A call for expressions of interest has been released inviting eligible companies to express interest in being shortlisted to submit proposals for the contract. The closing dates are 2/26/2015, 2/17/2015, and 2/18/2015.

Additionally, the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) has called for EOIs on the reviewing of the Suswa geothermal prospect conceptual model. ICEIDA and the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) are co-financing the Geothermal Exploration Project, an effort to support geothermal exploration and capacity building in East Africa. Under this initiative, ICEIDA and the Government of Kenya are working together on the development of geothermal projects in Kenya. The closing date is 2/18/2015.

Please find the PDFs for these calls for EOIs below:

  • KenGen- Tender for Supply, Installation, Commissioning and Training of Hydraulic Drill Pipe Tongs for Geothermal Resource Development. Full Document. Brief.
  • KenGen- TENDER FOR SUPPLY OF BOOSTER COMPRESSOR FOR GEOTHERMAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT. Full Document. Brief.
  • KenGen- TENDER FOR SUPPLY OF SCIENTIFIC FIELD EQUIPMENT FOR GEOTHERMAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT. Full Document. Brief.
  • ICEIDA- Review of the Conceptual Model of Suswa Geothermal Prospect, Kenya. Full Document. Brief.
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