Leading news: Western State Geothermal Policies can Stimulate Economic Growth and Environmental Quality

This post brings you GEA’s 2015 National Geothermal Summit and 2015 GEA Honors program; DOE’s 2014 Geothermal Technologies Office report; and geothermal opportunities in Nevada, California, Idaho, Kenya and more.

PlayFairwayMap
The map shows the 11 areas that are part of the U.S. DOE’s Play Fairway geothermal exploration utilizing data and software tools: (1) the Cascade Mountains and Aleutian Island chain; (2) the Appalachian Basin in New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; (3) the Rio Grande Rift and the Southern Basin and Range of New Mexico; (4) and (5) the Great Basin; (6) the Tularosa Basin study area of southwestern New Mexico; (7) Northeast California, Northwest Nevada, and Southern Oregon; (8) Hawaii; (9) the Central Cascade Range area; (10) Snake River Plain, Idaho; and (11) Washington State. Source: U.S. DOE 2014 Annual Report Geothermal Technologies Office (PDF).

*GEA: Fifth National Geothermal Summit Announced; Nominations for GEA Honors Open
*Wyden, Risch Introduce Bill to Spur Geothermal Energy
*White House Announces Emissions Reduction EO
*DOE Releases Geothermal Technologies 2014 Annual Report
*House and Senate Budgets Foreshadow Energy Program Debate
*Subsidies for Solar Increase Unlike Rest of Energy Market
*Enel Announces Coal Phase-out and Carbon Neutrality by 2050
*US Geothermal Inc. Reports 2014 Year End Results, Reaffirms 2015 Guidance
*Nevada to Issue RFP for 54 MW on March 27
*Comments on California Integrated Energy Policy Report due March 23
*Job Opportunities at INL and CAES will Support FORGE Bid
*Final Call for Renewable Energy World Abstracts is March 20
*KenGen and GDC Seek Manufacturers, Consultants for Kenya Geothermal Projects

GEA: Fifth National Geothermal Summit Announced; Nominations for GEA Honors Open
The Geothermal Energy Association and Gold Level Sponsor, Ormat, will host the fifth annual National Geothermal Summit (#GEASummit2015) at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, NV, June 3-4. The National Geothermal Summit is the leading forum for western state policy discussions, bringing together the geothermal industry for a dialogue with regulators, utilities, and state, regional and federal policy makers. The 2015 Summit theme is “Western States Geothermal Policies as Stimulus for Economic Growth and Environmental Quality.”

Speakers at the event are expected to cover the potential role of geothermal energy in state initiatives and implementation plans for addressing climate change, the ability of geothermal resources to tackle tomorrow’s power needs, local economic benefits of geothermal, the importance of geothermal for reliability of the grid, valuing geothermal for power contracts (PPAs), the future outlook for the geothermal industry in the U.S., and more. The program will encourage interaction and discussion about policies, projects in development, market potential, technological opportunities and more.

As part of an opening reception on June 3, GEA will award its 2015 GEA Honors.  GEA calls on geothermal business leaders to nominate the best and the brightest for GEA Honors, which recognizes the contributions made by companies and individuals in the past year that have advanced technology, business and environmental sustainability through the field of geothermal energy.

GEA Honors is now accepting nominations in the following categories:

  • Technological Advancement: awarded to an individual or company that has pioneered new ideas or innovative technology in the field of geothermal energy.
  • Economic Development: awarded to an individual or company that has contributed to the development of local, regional or national markets through geothermal systems.
  • Environmental Stewardship: awarded to an individual or company that has promoted environmental sustainability through the use of geothermal systems.
  • Special Recognition: the GEA will additionally be accepting nominations for special recognition of an individual or company that has outstanding achievements in the geothermal energy industry.

Although priority is given to GEA members for GEA Honors, nominations are open to the all. The deadline for GEA Honors submissions is May 15. An online application is available for GEA Honors at: http://geo-energy.org/GEAHonors.aspx.

To register for the National Geothermal Summit, or for more information, please visit http://www.geo-energy.org/nationalgeothermalsummit/Main.aspx. Visit the Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1571209836491431/. Join the conversation on Twitter with #GEASummit2015. For sponsorship opportunities or to request press credentials, please contact Yasmin Romitti, 202 454 5263, yasmin@geo-energy.org.

Wyden, Risch Introduce Bill to Spur Geothermal Energy
Press Release (WASHINGTON, D.C.) March 19 – Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, today introduced legislation to encourage geothermal energy production on public lands.

The Geothermal Production Expansion Act prevents speculative bidders from driving up the price of leases for developers seeking to use the land for geothermal projects. The bill streamlines the federal geothermal leasing program by allowing for the non-competitive leasing of a limited amount of federal land at fair market value to spur the expansion of geothermal energy on already identified “hot spots.”

The Bureau of Land Management, which manages geothermal projects on federal land under lease agreements, estimates about 250 million acres of federal land contains geothermal power potential. Geothermal energy projects that are producing geothermal power under the BLM’s management make up about half of the total geothermal generating capacity in the United States.

“Geysers, volcanoes and hot springs – like Oregon’s own Neal Hot Springs – are reservoirs of the Earth’s enormous clean energy potential,” Wyden said. “By making these “hot spots” available to only serious developers, this bill protects taxpayer dollars and prevents speculators from holding hostage the enormous possibilities of geothermal energy.”

“Reliable and lower-cost energy is the backbone of any successful economy and must be expanded to meet future needs,” Risch said. “In Idaho and much of the west, geothermal energy is a largely untapped source of clean energy. This bill encourages its development and expansion by removing a layer of red tape that holds up production at geothermal facilities.”

Oregon and Idaho have the combined potential to produce at least 1,400 MW from geothermal resources – enough energy to power more than a million homes. U.S. Geothermal, Inc. operates geothermal power projects in both states.

“We thank Senators Wyden and Risch for their continued strong support of the geothermal industry with their introduction of the Geothermal Production Expansion Act,” said Doug Glaspey, President and COO of U.S. Geothermal, Inc. “This is an important piece that improves the federal leasing system and will help geothermal developers move projects toward production.”

The bill passed the Senate last year. Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also cosponsored the legislation.

White House Announces Emissions Reduction EO
An Executive Order issued today by President Barack Obama cuts the federal government’s emissions of greenhouse gases by 40%. The details are in a FACT SHEET: “Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Federal Government and Across the Supply Chain.” It states,

“The President is committed to addressing the climate change threat – both by taking action here at home and showing leadership on the world stage. As part of his commitment to lead by example to curb the emissions that are driving climate change, today President Obama will issue an Executive Order that will cut the Federal Government’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40 percent over the next decade from 2008 levels — saving taxpayers up to $18 billion in avoided energy costs — and increase the share of electricity the Federal Government consumes from renewable sources to 30 percent. Complementing this effort, several major Federal suppliers are announcing commitments to cut their own GHG emissions. Today, the Administration is hosting a roundtable that will bring some of these large Federal suppliers together to discuss the benefits of their GHG reduction targets or to make their first-ever corporate commitments to disclose emissions and set new reduction goals.

“Together, the combined results of the Federal Government actions and new supplier commitments will reduce GHG emissions by 26 million metric tons by 2025 from 2008 levels, the equivalent of taking nearly 5.5 million cars off the road for a year. And to encourage continued progress across the Federal supply chain, the Administration is releasing a new scorecard to publicly track self-reported emissions disclosure and progress for all major Federal suppliers, who together represent more than $187 billion in Federal spending and account for more than 40 percent of all Federal contract dollars.

“Since the Federal Government is the single largest consumer of energy in the Nation, Federal emissions reductions and progress across the supply chain will have broad impacts. The new commitments announced today support the United States’ international commitment to cut net GHG emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, which President Obama first announced in November 2014 as part of an historic agreement with China. Additionally, the goals build on the strong progress made by Federal agencies during the first six years of the Administration under President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order on Federal Leadership on Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance, including reducing Federal GHG emissions by 17 percent — which helped Federal agencies avoid $1.8 billion in cumulative energy costs — and increasing the share of renewable energy consumption to 9 percent.”

Read more: www.whitehouse.gov.

DOE Releases Geothermal Technologies 2014 Annual Report
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) has released its 2014 annual report. The report includes details on office programs including Enhanced Geothermal Systems, Hydrothermal Program, Low-Temperature Program, Systems Analysis and more. An intro from Doug Hollet, former Director of GTO and current Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power, states:

“In 2014, the Geothermal Technologies Office made significant gains—increased budgets, new projects, key technology successes, and new staff. As we move into the new year, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget is at $55 million—roughly a 20% increase over FY 2014, and a strong vote of confidence in what the sector is doing to advance economically competitive renewable energy. GTO also remains committed to a balanced portfolio, which includes new hydrothermal development, EGS, and targeted opportunities in the low-temperature sector.”

House and Senate Budgets Foreshadow Energy Program Debate
On Tuesday, the House Budget Committee released its FY2016 Budget proposal, which proposes to cut $5.5 trillion in spending over nine years. The Committee adjourned after midnight Wednesday without reaching approval. The Senate panel released its own proposal on Wednesday which it is reviewing Thursday.

The House proposal (budget.house.gov) called for the reform or elimination of various programs and would reorient energy programs. Details include:

“Our budget says the Department of Energy’s research and development work should focus solely on breakthrough innovations, and the Department should leave the application and commercialization of new technologies to the private sector.”

“The federal Government is filled with energy programs that either produce little useful results or perform a task that can be better handled by the private sector. Therefore, we propose reforming or outright eliminating a number of programs.”

“The budget rescinds all unobligated balances from the President’s stimulus green energy programs. The government cannot recover taxpayer dollars from failed projects like Solyndra, but it can protect taxpayers from being on the hook for future boondoggles.”

A Fact Sheet from the White House says the House Republican budget would “return our economy to the same top-down economics that has failed us before.”

The Senate Republican budget (budget.senate.gov) is nonbinding, setting aside “spending-neutral reserve funds,” but envisions action this year on a wide range of energy and natural resource issues including energy policy, environmental regulations, water resources, mining, forestry and the needs of rural communities. Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) recommended many of the policies and has said she hopes to produce a comprehensive energy bill this year.

Subsidies for Solar Increase Unlike Rest of Energy Market
An article on energymanagertoday.com reports the solar market has received a larger share of government support than other energy markets in recent years. While federal subsidies for total energy markets decreased 23% between 2010 and 2013 (from $38 billion to $29.3 billion), solar subsidies leaped from $1.1 billion to $4.5 billion.

Enel Announces Coal Phase-out and Carbon Neutrality by 2050
Press Release (Rome) March 17 – A meeting took place today in Rome between representatives of Enel, led by the CEO Francesco Starace, and Greenpeace, whose delegation was headed by Greenpeace’s International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo and by Greenpeace Italia Board Chair, Andrea Purgatori.

Following the appointment of the new company management, Enel’s industrial strategy is focused on further boosting investment in renewable sources, energy efficiency, smart grids and storage systems. The Group is also committed to gradually phasing out further investment in coal.

Although there are still differences when it comes to assessing the Group’s definitive withdrawal from coal generation in Italy and certain methodologies to pursue more ambitious targets in Europe, the medium to long-term vision of an energy system largely based on renewable sources and energy efficiency is now a shared view.

Enel plans to move with Greenpeace in this direction, on a path upon which the new management has already embarked and, by accepting Greenpeace’s invitation, Enel is establishing itself as a progressive company in the international energy industry. Enel’s new strategic commitments are in line with the expressed aims of Greenpeace in their campaigns specifically targeted at Enel, one of the seven largest electricity companies in the world.

Enel shares the same concerns about the global climate expressed by most of the international scientific community as well as the goal to keep the worldwide temperature rise below 2°C. For this reason, and in the lead-up to the Climate Change Conference in Paris, Enel is ready to tackle this challenge and lead the industry’s effort to reach this target. Specifically, the Group believes that it will be able to achieve its own carbon neutrality before the deadline of 2050 in particular by boosting its already significant investment in renewable development and in promoting energy efficiency.

The Enel Group has already reduced CO2 emissions by more than 36% since 1990 whilst for the period between 2007 and 2013 CO2 emissions were reduced by 15%, thus reaching well in advance the 395g/Kwh target set for 2020.

The convergence of views between Enel and Greenpeace on these and other issues is a significant starting point when it comes to the respective approaches of the two organizations and the way in which sustainability and improved environmental management can be achieved.

Enel and Greenpeace aim at working constructively and collaboratively on common areas to develop their economic, social and environmental interests for an innovative, comprehensive approach to sustainability.

US Geothermal Inc. Reports 2014 Year End Results, Reaffirms 2015 Guidance
Press Release, March 16 — US Geothermal Inc., a leading and profitable renewable energy company focused on the development, production, and sale of electricity from geothermal energy, announced today its financial and operating results for the 12 months ending December 31, 2014, and reaffirmed guidance for 2015, along with notable achievements for 2014. This earnings release should be read in conjunction with US Geothermal’s financial statements, and management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A), which are available on the Company’s website at http://www.usgeothermal.com and have been posted on SEDAR at http://www.sedar.com and at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website at http://www.sec.gov.

Revenue for the Year End period was $31.0 million, compared to $27.4 million for the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA for the Year End period was $17.2 million, compared to $15.3 million for the prior year period, while EBITDA was $14.9 million for the Year End period compared to $14.5 million for the prior year. Net Income for the Year End period was $14.9 million, compared to $4.1 million in the prior year period. Net Income attributable to U.S. Geothermal for the Year End period was $11.6 million, or $0.11 per share, compared to $1.9 million, or $0.02 per share in the prior year period. At Year End, the Company recognized a one-time, non-cash gain on recognition of a deferred tax asset as management now believes that, based on the past two years of profitable operations, the Company can reasonably expect to utilize these accumulated tax assets to offset future taxable gains.

“We are proud to report that our performance for 2014 exceeded our expectations, with Generation, Revenues, EBITDA, and Net Income all coming in towards the high end of the guidance that we had previously provided for calendar year 2014,” said Dennis Gilles, US Geothermal’s Chief Executive Officer. “Wrapping up the year with an especially strong fourth quarter performance has put us in a strong operational and financial condition to continue growing the company; both from developing our internal project pipeline and through strategic acquisitions. All three facilities are operating with availability percentages in the high 90s. Our operating team has done an outstanding job of ensuring consistently strong generation from each facility.”

US Geothermal reaffirms 2015 full-year guidance for Operating Revenue estimated between $28 and $33 million, 2015 Adjusted EBITDA estimated at between $15 and $19 million, 2015 EBITDA estimated between $12 and $16 million, and provides 2015 full-year guidance for Net Income of between $1.9 and $5.9 million.

Nevada to Issue RFP for 54 MW on March 27
Geothermal power qualifies for Nevada Power’s upcoming request for proposal (RFP) for 54 MW of capacity. This will be part of Nevada’s emissions reduction and capacity replacement plan, which involves replacing its coal-fired generation. Specifically Nevada Power’s proposed RFP schedule is: RFP issued on March 27, 2015; Bids due on May 29, 2015; Short list determined between June 1, 2015 – June 12, 2015; Negotiations between June 15, 2015 – July 31, 2015; Best and final offers due between August 3, 2015 – August 14, 2015; Resource option selected between August 21, 2015 and October 14, 2015 and Second Amendment to the ERCR Plan filed with the PUCN on October 15, 2015.

Comments on California Integrated Energy Policy Report due March 23
California Energy Commission staff are still accepting written comments until March 23 on the key assumptions used for the Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) modeling of electricity production costs. These assumptions and inputs will be used to prepare the 2016 – 2026 California Energy Demand Forecast, the Natural Gas Outlook Report, the Transportation Energy Demand Forecast, and electricity supply dispatch models. For more information: energy.ca.gov/2015_energypolicy.

Job Opportunities at INL and CAES will Support FORGE Bid
INL and CAES have available three regular full time positions and one post doc position. The INL positions are exclusively geoscience and are being advertised to help build base capabilities in geothermal and unconventional fossil. One position is for a senior person, the other is for a post-doc. Both will be expected to support FORGE bid, with the post-doc being focused on it 100%. The two CAES positions are much broader, focusing on computation/modeling and visualization. They are open to any discipline with priority to “geo-centric” people. The opportunities are:

Final Call for Renewable Energy World Abstracts is March 20
This Friday, March 20 is the final call to submit abstracts for the Renewable Energy World North America Conference. The conference is in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 8-10, 2015 and has a wide annual draw from all energy sectors. If you are interested in participating, first go to the Submit an Abstract link: http://events.pennwell.com//rewna2015/Public/Content.aspx?ID=49374. Also contact Leslie at GEA, leslie@geo-energy.org. We may be able to extend the deadline.

KenGen and GDC Seek Manufacturers, Consultants for Kenya Geothermal Projects
The Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen) and the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) have each released new geothermal related tenders with closing dates in late March and early April. KenGen seeks manufacturers and authorized dealers to supply parts and equipment for its power stations, while GDC called for proposals from consultancies to provide services in the form of an implementing consultant for a steam field development project. The calls for EOIs and their closing dates are:

Organization Tender # Description Closing Date
KenGen KGN GRD 19 2015 Tender for Design, Supply & Installation of Electrical Power Supply From Olkaria II Power Plant to Olkaria Geothermal Spa 3/27/15
KenGen KGN HYD 10 2015 Tender for Supply, Installation, Testing & Commissioning of High Performance Standby Batteries & Accessories for Kiambere and Masinga Power Stations. 4/1/15
KenGen KGN OLK 11 2015 Tender for Supply, Installation, Testing and Commissioning of 1500 AMP Hour Batteries for Olkaria I Power Station 4/1/15
KenGen KGN OLK 12 2015 Tender for Supply of 150 KW and 200HP Cooling Tower Fan Motor for Olkaria II Power Station 4/2/15
GDC GDC/CPS/RFP/046/2014-2015 Request for Proposalsfor Consultancy Services as an Implementing Consultant for Steam Field Development Baringo-Silali Block 4/23/15
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