International roundup: Geothermal in Hawaii, Utah, Mexico, St. Lucia, Australia and more

This post brings you geothermal news from California, Hawaii, Utah, Kenya, Bolivia, Mexico, St. Lucia, Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.

Geothermal photos via Twitter users @suzi_rees and @LauraTopley
Geothermal photos via Twitter users @suzi_rees and @LauraTopley

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Click below to read this week’s international geothermal roundup.

U.S. States

*California: POWERMAG Features Lithium Extraction from Geothermal
A feature on POWERMAG looks at mining lithium from geothermal brine. The Simbol Materials pilot plant in southern California has achieved technological success but commercialization remains to be seen. “The Salton Sea area is believed to be the most prolific mineral-rich brine source in the world, which explains why it is an ideal place to commercialize this technology,” notes the article. The extraction plant produces “virtually zero waste, while consuming CO2, waste water, and other emissions from the geothermal power plant.”

*Hawaii: Geothermal Data Compiled
The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has launched a new Web site that compiles existing information and new data on the state’s groundwater and geothermal resources from private and public agencies and organizations. The Geothermal Collection contains more than 1,000 geothermal-relevant documents, and geothermal data are included in the Department of Energy Play Fairway project.

*Utah: Fort Cove Expansion Proposed, Comments Invited
The Bureau of Land Management’s Cedar City Field Office has received a proposal to expand the geothermal production a the Cove Fort area. Enel proposes to drill six geothermal hot water wells and an environmental assessment is being prepared. Submit comments within 30 days of February 25 (the posting date) to: Attn: Cove Fort Geothermal, 150 East 900 North, Richfield, UT 84701.


*Kenya: Geothermal Decreasing Customer Costs
Kenya’s savings thanks to its geothermal energy development boom have been estimated at $24 million per month, with costs for both consumer and industrial customers decreasing by about 30%. With February’s additions to the grid, geothermal now makes up 51% of the national energy mix.

The Americas

*Bolivia: Geothermal MOU Signed with Costa Rica
In a new MOU, Costa Rica will provide technical assistance for the planned 50-MW geothermal plant in the Laguna Colorada area. Press reports say the area could see a 50-MW plant in operation by 2019 and an eventual 100 MW total. Bolivia has set a target to reach 800 MW of renewable energy by 2020.

*Mexico: Round Zero Expected in July
Mexico is expected to announce new green energy requirements next month and to announce the results of geothermal Round Zero in July. Round Zero will determine which geothermal projects will be developed by state power company CFE, with remaining projects to be tendered to the private sector. The announcements will support Mexico’s goal of 35% electricity from renewables by 2024. Mexico’s new energy reforms have been cited as attractive to investors.

*St. Lucia: Funding Sought for Exploratory Phase
Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology aims to raise an estimated US$20 million to US$30 million for exploratory geothermal work. This week the Exploratory Drilling Phase of the Geothermal Development Project was discussed at a donors’ conference, notes local press.

Asia and the Pacific

*Australia: Geothermal Possible in Winton, Queensland
Winton Shire Council is considering plans for geothermal in council buildings and could eventually use it to power the whole town. Local press cites up to $15 million that could be saved. The plan would use existing bores to convert heat.

*New Zealand: Law Unclear for Minerals in Geo Fluids
New Zealand is seeking to clarify the legal treatment of minerals found in geothermal fluids. University of Waikato Professor Barry Barton, author of a two-year study told press, “We concluded that the law is indeterminate but a statutory amendment could make things clearer.” GNS Science is also involved and the issue will be considered in a July workshop.


*Turkey: Gumuskoy a Unique Project Model
Climate Policy Initiative and Climate Investment Funds have published “Public Finance and Private Exploration in Geothermal: Gümüşköy Case Study, Turkey,” on the Gümüşköy geothermal project. This is the first case in Turkey where the private sector financed exploration of an unproven field. Factors included the government feed-in tariff combined with the private-led project development model and access to long-term, low-cost debt. This case is shown to be cost effective. Turkey is a top growing geothermal market.

*Turkey: Zorlu Provides Statement on Geo Exploration Permit
Zorlu Energy said in a statement its exploration permit for the Kütahya-Simav geothermal field has been reset as 70 days, and its application for extending the term of this permit to one year has been rejected by the authorities. Zorlu states it has the right to appeal this decision at the State of Council within 60 days.

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