Leading news: Geothermal Industry to Meet Next Week

This post brings you the Keynote Speaker for next week’s State of the Geothermal Industry Briefing; important geothermal market details for California, Costa Rica and El Salvador; geothermal beer from GEA Member Enel; sedimentary heat resources; and more.


“Capacity factor” refers to a measure of actual output over a period of time. Capacity factors for various types of energy systems, as recorded by DOE and NREL, are given in the visual above. The capacity factor of geothermal power facilities is very efficient and is usually at or above 90%. This is on par with or higher than other baseload power sources like coal and nuclear and is much greater than intermittent sources.

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

*Senator Dean Heller to Keynote GEA’s State of the Geothermal Industry Briefing
*Energy Production Considered for Alaska Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain
*GEA Asks CEC to Value Geothermal in “50% RPS” Discussion
*Enel Green Power: Three New Brews Produced with Geothermal Heat
*Costa Rica Seeks Design and Construction for Pailas Expansion
*El Salvador Boosting Regional Market through Geothermal Training Program
*Partnership Advances Sedimentary Heat Resources
*EDC Action After Philippines Typhoon a “Model for Corporate Social Responsibility”

Senator Dean Heller to Keynote GEA’s State of the Geothermal Industry Briefing
The Geothermal Energy Association is pleased to announce U.S. Senator Dean Heller (Nevada) will keynote GEA’s State of the Geothermal Industry Briefing on February 24 in Washington DC. The full-day agenda includes the top experts in the geothermal industry, and GEA will also release its latest survey and report on U.S. and international development at the event.

Sen. Heller is a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Finance Committee and he represents one of the top states in the nation in geothermal energy development as well as production. In 2014 Heller said, “We have more geothermal sites in the state of Nevada than the rest of the country combined.”

The State of the Geothermal Industry Briefing will focus on key opportunities and obstacles for industry growth in the United States and around the world, multilateral and private finance, the role of technological advancements in geothermal development, and policy and regulatory issues impacting the geothermal industry. Registration is open at http://www.geo-energy.org/events/2015/Geothermal_Industry_Briefing_2015.aspx.

Energy Production Considered for Alaska Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain
A new bill introduced by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) would allow oil and natural gas activity within the non-wilderness coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). “Since the ANWR coastal plain is less than 60 miles from the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, development there is the quickest, most environmentally sound way to increase oil production in Alaska and ensure the pipeline will operate well into the future,” Murkowski said in a statement.

GEA Asks CEC to Value Geothermal in “50% RPS” Discussion
The GEA has filed comments (PDF) with the California Energy Commission regarding its Draft 2015 Integrated Energy Policy Report Scoping Order. GEA highlighted some of the lesser known economic values geothermal power provides to the State of California, which should be considered as the CEC continues its efforts to study how a 50% RPS can be achieved. GEA’s comments included the following questions:

  • What combination of renewable technologies has lowest system-wide costs at a 50% RPS
  • What mix will have the lowest cost considering both replacement costs and operation and maintenance costs over a period of several decades?
  • What combination of resources provides the best total emissions profile?
  • Which mix of technologies provides the best system reliability?
  • What mix of technologies provides the most efficient use of limited capital in achieving longterm climate goals?

The comments state, “GEA and some of its member companies believe parts of the CPUC valuation process for renewable energy contracts may tilt the scale against geothermal technologies in certain circumstances. As a result, California has underappreciated the economic and environmental value of developing geothermal resources for electricity generation. By tackling the questions listed above Geothermal Energy Association hopes the California Energy Commission will continue to promote a transparent process in which all energy technologies are valued fairly against each other when bidding for power contracts. GEA encourages the California Energy Commission to investigate the valuation process.”

Enel Green Power: Three New Brews Produced with Geothermal Heat
Enel Green Power has used the geothermal heat at its power plants in Tuscany for producing basil, cheese and salami, and has announced three brews added to the menu. They are created by Vapori di Birra, a company based in Sasso Pisano near Castelnuovo Val Di Cecina.

Enel wrote on their news page: “The three beers – Magma, Geyser and Sulfurea – are made thanks to a fermentation process that uses the high temperatures provided by geothermal production process. Beer lovers can find the amber double malt, 100 percent barley malt pale ale and wheat Weiss beer in local supermarkets and restaurants and at the pub next to the ‘geothermal’ brewery.”

Costa Rica Seeks Design and Construction for Pailas Expansion
An open tender for the design and construction of the Pailas II geothermal expansion project in Costa Rica is due April 30. Via ThinkGeoEnergy.com: “An international tender for the design teams needed for the Pailas II geothermal project has been announced the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE). This project will be located in Guanacaste (Costa Rica) and its investment amounts to USD $319 million. The deadline for the submission of tenders is April 30th and must be accompanied by a security bid of USD $1.5 million. This project involves the expansion of the geothermal power plant Pailas I in order to provide an additional 55 MW to national grid of Costa Rica. It is estimated that the plant will become operational on the latter second half of 2018.”

El Salvador Boosting Regional Market through Geothermal Training Program
The Geothermal Regional Training Program (PREG), an educational program in El Salvador, strengthens academic and technical skills related to geothermal development for professionals in Latin America and the Caribbean. The program covers scientific and technical applications for different stages of geothermal projects as well as how to plan, develop and implement projects. Management, analysis and environmental considerations are all considered key points in training professionals of the region to make site-specific decisions for geothermal projects.

The PREG has graduated 111 professionals over four course periods and aims to graduate another 25 professionals in 2015. Twenty of those will be trained through scholarships which are available to 10 Salvadorian professionals and 10 professionals from the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. PREG has access to first class laboratories, geothermal fields in exploration and operating geothermal power plants, and its staff has a wide range of experience. The National Council Energy and the University of El Salvador are aided by the Italian Cooperation, Interamerican Development Bank and Nordic Development Fund. Self-financed professionals from any part of the world can also participate in the course.

The courses are in Spanish language: Conceptual Overview of Geothermal Energy; Geological Exploration; Geochemistry Exploration; Geophysics Exploration; Geothermal Drilling Techniques; Geothermal Reservoir Engineering; Geothermal Power Plants; Environmental Management and Occupational risk of geothermal projects; and Research Papers. The Fifth annual training course will start on June 1, 2015. More information is available at www.geotermia.edu.sv.

Partnership Advances Sedimentary Heat Resources
A partnership between SedHeat and STEPPE, affiliated with National Science Foundation, looks to advance the understanding of the relationship between sedimentary basins and geothermal energy.

Dana Smith, Executive Director at STEPPE told press, “STEPPE has been working to support new research synergies and the development of infrastructure that will encourage the community to think about the big problems that need to be solved and facilitate the formation of collaborative research and education teams to tackle these problems.

“Toward this end, STEPPE is working to provide an interactive space that will serve as both a gathering place and clearinghouse of information, allowing for broader integration of research and education across all STEPPE-related sub disciplines.”

David Iler at STEPPE added, “Our collaborative tools allow the formation of research groups to share documents, schedule meetings, discuss issues, etc.” Resources are available at steppe.org.

EDC Action After Philippines Typhoon a “Model for Corporate Social Responsibility”
An article on Philstar.com titled “Yolanda stories from EDC” by Elfren S. Cruz offers the story of geothermal company Energy Development Corp. and its relief and rehabilitation efforts in Leyte after the 2013 Yolanda supertyphoon disaster as the model for Corporate Social Responsibility during natural calamity. Led by president Ricardo “Ricky” Tantoco the company reached out to account for its 743 employees, provide millions of meals, provide power to 2 city halls and 3 hospitals, and support water needs all within the first week. EDC was then able to return its geothermal production to normal operations within 4 months, down from the original estimate of 9 to 10 months. EDC has since become a development sponsor focusing on three typhoon-related projects: classroom construction, a training program, and a non-profit foundation.

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