International roundup: Geothermal in Costa Rica, Dominica, China, Japan and more

This post brings you geothermal news from California, Hawaii, Kenya, Canada, Caribbean Development Bank, Costa Rica, Dominica, China, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, England, Germany, Iceland and Scotland

Geothermal photos via Twitter users
Geothermal photos via Twitter users

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

U.S. States

*California: Assembly Looking at Business Development Needs
This week the California Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy held a hearing on “Major Economic Development Policies and Programs in 2015.” This second in a two-part series focused on the tools the state has, or should have to successfully support California’s $2.2 trillion economy. The first hearing focused on the California economy including demographic and economic trends affecting business development. “Given the ever changing global economy, it is important that we consistently evaluate whether California has the right mix of policies and programs to help business and workers be competitive in the post-recession global economy,” committee chair Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) said in a statement. “Our goal is to help create the conditions that support America’s entrepreneurial spirit.” The hearing is available to listen to at http://assembly.ca.gov/dailyfile – March 17.

*Hawaii: 100% Renewables Goal Could Transform State Economy
Hawaii could become the first state with a 100% renewables goal, with bills recommended in both the State House and Senate. Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), sponsor of the Senate bill, SB 2181, told ThinkProgress this week, “Even our utility is saying we can hit 65 percent by 2030, so 100 percent is definitely doable . . . This is huge for our state’s future. Each year, we spend $3 to $5 billion importing fossil fuels to power our economy. Our electricity bills are roughly three times the national average.”

Africa

*Kenya: Geothermal Offsets Effect of Drought
New geothermal power is offsetting the effects of Kenya’s drought and the country will not have to raise electricity prices, the government said. Reuters quotes Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir that levels were still adequate because increasingly more geothermal power was being used.

The Americas

*Canada: Manitoba First Nations to Get Geo Heating
A memorandum of understanding signed this week will bring over $13 million in geothermal retrofits to 850 Peguis and Fisher River First Nations homes in Manitoba, Canada. The plan is expected to generate $17 million in energy savings.

*Caribbean Development Bank: Geothermal a Focus of 2015-2019 Strategic Plan
The Caribbean Development Bank has named regional energy security as a cross-cutting theme in its new Strategic Plan for 2015-2019. There is a special focus on renewable energy and for this the Bank will primarily support solar, wind and geothermal energy.

*Costa Rica: 100% Renewables Generated This Year
Renewable energy made up 100% of the energy generation in Costa Rica during the first 75 days of 2015. Hydro made up the majority of the generation. Geothermal, wind, biomass and solar accounted for the rest.

*Dominica: Geothermal in Progress; Tariffs Reviewed
This week the Hon. Minister for Trade, Energy and Employment updated progress on Dominica’s geothermal plant. Dominica has successfully drilled test wells, production wells and a re-injection well and has conducted informative public outreach. The plant is conceived as starting at 6 to 8 MW, and could be expanded up to 120 MW to supply the island neighbors Guadeloupe and Martinique. Commercial production is expected by 2017, and tariffs are being reviewed.

Asia and the Pacific

*China: Geothermal Part of Low-Carbon Development Strategy
Sinopec, China’s second-biggest oil and gas producer includes geothermal in its low-carbon development strategy. An article on interfaxenergy.com states Sinopec Star has spent over RMB 2 billion ($320 million) on geothermal projects in 14 provinces and regions including Beijing, Shaanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Liaoning and Sichuan. The company began using geothermal for heating to Xiong in 2009.

*Indonesia: Lahendong Contract Goes to Fuji Electric
Fuji Electric has been awarded an EPC contract for the PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy Units 5 and 6, Lahendong Geothermal Area, North Sulawesi Province. Production is aimed for the end of 2016.

*Japan: Toyota Interested in Kenya Geothermal Tenders
Japan’s Toyota Tsusho Corporation, which has worked on Olkaria geothermal facilities in Kenya, told the visiting President of Kenya it is interested in further work. “At a meeting in Tokyo with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is on a five-day official visit, senior Toyota Tsusho executives said they had set their eyes on a number of geothermal projects the government is due to put to tender in the coming weeks,” the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit said on Sunday in a press statement.

*New Zealand: Ngawha Geothermal a “True Renewable Success Story”
Earlier this month New Zealand’s Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges visited energy sites in the Northland region, including Top Energy’s Ngawha geothermal power station near Kaikohe. “Ngawha is one of New Zealand’s true renewables success stories, producing around 70 per cent of all electricity consumed in the Far North,” Bridges was quoted in local press. “We have seen renewable electricity generation throughout New Zealand rise from 65 per cent in 2008, to around 80 per cent currently, and the National Government is committed to achieving our goal of 90 per cent by 2025 . . . We try to take every opportunity to promote New Zealand’s renewable advantage and expertise internationally so I would encourage innovators in this area to look to what is being achieved in Northland.”

Europe

*England: Geo District Heating has 2016 Begin-Work Date
Building work on the geothermal district heating project for Stoke-on-Trent, England, is expected to begin in November 2016. The city council allotted £3.4m toward the project and the private sector is expected to provide £28.25m.

*Germany: German Industry Groups Merge
The German Geothermal Association (Bundesverband Geothermie) and the German Geothermal Industry Forum (Wirtschaftsforum Geothermie WFG) have reached an agreement to merge. The Industry group will formally dissolve and future responsibilities will be divided. The office in Augsburg will head PR, informational work and contacts for the local government, while the Berlin office will focus on policy, administration of the association and events.

*Iceland: Sustainability Impacts of Geothermal Assessed
Researchers from the University of Iceland studying sustainability impacts and assessment frameworks have a review up on leonardo-energy.org. The team looked at such themes as poverty, health, education, natural hazards, and more to assess positive and negative impacts of geothermal energy. “As with all energy sources, the impacts arising from geothermal energy developments are unique, varied, positive and negative. This makes it essential to clearly define the desirable characteristics of a geothermal energy project, by conducting a sustainability assessment,” notes the review. The authors call for a comprehensive assessment framework that is tailored to geothermal projects.

*Scotland: New Company Says Timing Right for Geothermal
Town Rock Energy, based in Edinburgh, is aiming to establish a geothermal energy industry. Founder David Townsend told press, “The timing of what we’re trying to do with Town Rock Energy is impeccable for a number of reasons. The low oil price creates more skilled people looking for jobs in the sector and reduces the cost of drilling, which in turn reduces the cost of exploring for geothermal energy. The UK government has also named this the ‘decade of renewable heat’, with incentives on offer to install and expand district heating schemes, so we want to harness this momentum to develop geothermal in Scotland.”

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