International roundup: Geothermal in California, Canada, Mexico, Japan and more

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This post brings you geothermal news from Alaska, California, Kenya, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Australia and Japan. Click below to read this week’s international geothermal roundup.

U.S. States

*Alaska: Professor Comments on Akutan Geothermal Project Western geology professor Pete Stelling spoke to press about the geothermal project on the island of Akutan, Alaska, which has been exploring for deep geothermal potential since 2009. The island has 100 or more permanent residences that currently rely on expensive diesel. “In addition to generating electricity, there’s also a whole bunch of hot water that comes out, and that hot water can be used to heat and warm greenhouses for agriculture, it can be used for space-heating in homes, it can be used in a million different ways,” Stelling said.

*California: Desert Plan to Roll Out in Two Phases Responding to comments on a draft version of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, California officials announced they will launch the plan in two phases. The first will deal with public lands. Private lands will be moved to a second phase to allow more time to work out strategy and agreements with county governments, which are the primary decision-makers for private land. The phased approach also allows five counties (Riverside, Imperial, Los Angeles, Inyo and San Bernardino) to continue work on separate renewable energy and conservation plans using California Energy Commission funds.


*Kenya: Transmission Line Construction Begins in May Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd will begin construction in May on the new power line to link geothermal power plants in Olkaria to Kisumu, in Western Kenya, which has been hit hardest by its aging infrastructure, according to local news. The new line is estimated at Sh8.5 billion and construction is set to start in May, with completion in June 2017.

*Kenya: Geothermal Power Accounting for Loss of Hydro Various news outlets have reported on the benefits Kenya has seen as it leads the way for East Africa in geothermal energy development. Ken Gen CEO Albert Mugo was quoted: “The country has not experienced power rationing despite low water levels in the hydro generation dams on the Tana Cascade. This is because the 280 MW project has helped to bridge the power deficit.”

The Americas

*Canada: Yukon Geothermal Research Project Funded Canada is investing in geothermal research in Yukon. Gary Umbrich, president of Takhini Hot Springs Ltd (one of the sites to be examined) told press there are about 12 known hot springs in the area. The $168,000 project will take about two years. A press release states, “The Government of Yukon, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources’ Energy Branch will work in cooperation with the Yukon Geological Survey and the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association to develop maps and reports that will identify sources of renewable energy. This project will contribute to economic development and energy security in the territory.”

*Mexico: Energy Reform to Bring Investments; Open Doors for Geothermal Water Use Mexico’s Secretary of Energy, Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, told local press the country’s energy reform could attract up to US $ 62,500 million in investments. The estimate considers construction of pipelines as well as both the first and second phases of the Round One and projects generation and transmission of electricity. The energy reform also affects the National Water Act, opening the door for geothermal water to be used by private investors for creation and distribution of electricity.

*Nicaragua: Market is Hot for Renewables, Geothermal This week NPR’s Marketplace looks at Nicaragua’s renewable energy push, which has an emphasis on geothermal energy. Tax breaks and current political stability are some of the factors, and geothermal power has already made Nicaragua less dependent on foreign oil, notes the article.

Asia and the Pacific

*Australia: WA Builds Country’s First CoGen Geothermal Heat Pump Fremantle Aquatic Centre in Western Australia is the first system in Australia to combine cogeneration with a geothermal heat pump. Travis McNeill, general manager at Evo Energy Technologies, told press the system is designed for the maximum return on investment and is expected to result in a CO2 reduction of 205 tonnes.

*Japan: Ministry Considers Scenarios for Geothermal Development Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is looking at different scenarios as it considers adding between 380 MW and 520 MW of geothermal power capacity by 2030. According to Bloomberg, the Ministry is considering factors such as deregulations and a government panel is reviewing Japan’s long-term energy demand.

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