Leading news: Awareness of Geothermal’s Clean Benefits is Growing

This post brings you energy updates from the annual budget resolution debate, including an amendment from Senator Bennet; updates from GEA member companies Alterra Power and Ormat Technologies; and geothermal news and opportunities around the U.S.

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Click below for this week’s leading geothermal headlines.

*Energy Policy Appearing in Senate Votes
*Trade Groups Endorse Bennet Amendment for Bridge to Tax Reform
*Alterra Power Announces Results for Year Ended December 2014
*Ormat Signs Power Purchase Agreement for Second Phase of Don A. Campbell Geothermal Plant in Nevada
*Thank You to GEA Members
*More Than Half New U.S. Energy in February was Geothermal
*NREL Director to Retire, Geothermal Savvy Successor Encouraged
*States That Produce Renewable Energy Have Cheaper Electricity

Energy Policy Appearing in Senate Votes
This week the Senate took up its annual budget resolution and expected to see several votes on Thursday. E&E Daily published an “informal survey” of senators and aides from both sides of the aisle on topics likely to be addressed during this budget week.

“In general, Republicans can be expected to warn of economic harm that federal regulations can cause and push to expand energy development on public lands and offshore,” wrote Nick Juliano, E&E reporter, with Republican debate issues pivoting around climate change, hydraulic fracturing, air quality and water quality.

“Democrats, meanwhile, likely will tout the health and safety concerns that regulations address, promote their support for alternative energy sources and take another opportunity to paint Republicans as out of sync with the prevailing scientific views on climate change,” Juliano wrote. Democrats saw public health and safety, climate change, oil company tax breaks and clean energy as forefront debate issues.

Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) has filed an amendment that would make room in the budget for renewable and efficiency tax credits and a vote is expected Thursday evening; see the letter in the next story below.

Trade Groups Endorse Bennet Amendment for Bridge to Tax Reform
Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) has filed an amendment to the annual budget resolution being considered this week by the Senate that would make room for renewable and efficiency tax credits. The amendment specifies “a fund for “(5) creating clean energy jobs, including extending over a reasonable period of time, as a bridge to tax reform, expired and expiring tax credits for renewable energy production and investment.” The renewable trade groups endorsed the amendment in a letter:

Dear Senator:

The U.S. Senate begins debate this week on the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolution. Senator Michael Bennet will be offering an amendment (#715) which expresses support for the extension of expired and expiring federal tax credits for renewable energy production and investment as the bridge to tax reform. On behalf of the thousands of American companies and over 500,000 Americans working in the renewable energy sector, we strongly encourage you to support the Bennet Amendment.

Over the past five years, nearly 44% of all new domestic power generation capacity has come from renewable energy resources, including more than 56% of all new power generation capacity in 2014 – surpassing all other energy sources. The investment tax credit (ITC) and the production tax credit (PTC) have been the primary federal policy drivers for this growth, spurring private sector investment, creating jobs, and driving down costs significantly, making renewable and clean technologies more cost competitive.

The clean energy sector has the potential to be one of the greatest engines of middle class job growth in the 21st century, while providing our nation with secure sources of clean and renewable domestic energy. To realize that objective, however, we must have a supportive and certain tax policy environment.

Again, on behalf of our thousands of member companies and more than half a million Americans working in our industries, we ask you to send an unambiguous signal of support for clean and renewable energy. Please vote for the Bennet Amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution in support of continuing tax incentives for clean and renewable domestic energy sources.

The letter is signed by representatives of the Solar Energy Industries Association, American Wind Energy Association, Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, Geothermal Energy Association, American Biogas Council, Energy Recovery Council, National Hydropower Association, Biomass Power Association, Distributed Wind Energy Association and Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association.

Alterra Power Announces Results for Year Ended December 2014
Press Release (VANCOUVER) March 24 — Alterra Power Corp. (TSX: AXY) is pleased to report its audited financial and operating results for year ended December 31, 2014. For further information on these results please see Alterra’s Consolidated Financial Statements and Management’s Discussion and Analysis.

At December 31, 2014, Alterra consolidated 100% of the results of operations at HS Orka and Soda Lake, while Alterra’s interests in the Toba Montrose run of river hydro facility and the Dokie 1 wind facility were accounted for as equity investments. In certain statements in this news release, Alterra’s results are disclosed as Alterra’s “net interest”, which means the effective portion of results that Alterra would have reported if each of HS Orka (66.6%), Toba Montrose (40%), Dokie 1 (25.5%), and Soda Lake (100%) had been reported in accordance with Alterra’s actual share of ownership at December 31, 2014 and for the year then ended. While management monitors the consolidated results closely, it believes that net interest reporting provides the clearest view of Alterra’s performance.

Read more: alterrapower.ca/news/Press-Release.

Ormat Signs Power Purchase Agreement for Second Phase of Don A. Campbell Geothermal Plant in Nevada
Press Release (RENO, Nev.) March 24 — Second phase will double the existing power plant’s capacity — Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) announced today that its subsidiary entered into a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) for interstate delivery of electricity from the second phase of Don A. Campbell in Mineral County, Nevada.

Under the terms of the PPA with SCPPA, the second phase of the Don A. Campbell project will receive a rate of $81.25 per megawatt hour with no annual escalation. SCPPA will resell the power to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). As with the existing Don A. Campbell geothermal plant, electricity from the new project will be transmitted to the LADWP grid via NV Energy’s statewide transmission system, including the One Nevada Transmission Line that connects service areas in both northern and southern Nevada.

Ormat recently announced the release of the project for construction, and expects it to generate up to 19 MW (net) on a yearly average basis, above the PPA nominal target of 16.2 MW. Commercial operation is expected in the first quarter of 2016. Northleaf Capital Partners, Ormat’s new joint venture investor, will purchase approximately 40% interest in the project which will be added to the existing ORPD joint venture once the project is completed and commissioned.

“This PPA marks our fourth PPA with SCPPA and we are delighted by our continued relationship with LADWP, the nation’s largest municipal utility.” says Isaac Angel, Chief Executive Officer of Ormat. “We look forward to providing California access to another cost-effective and reliable renewable energy resource.”

“We are very pleased to partner once again with Ormat Technologies and SCPPA on the second phase of the Don A. Campbell Geothermal Power Plant, which will provide a long-term reliable renewable power supply for Los Angeles. Geothermal power is critical to reaching our goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020, while transitioning away from coal power,” LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said.

Read more: ormat.com/news.

Thank You to GEA Members
We would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of our members who make this newsletter and everything we do here at GEA possible!

If you are not a GEA member, you should also thank our members for providing the funding and support needed to supply you with this newsletter and other efforts to support geothermal efforts. We hope companies who are not currently members will consider joining GEA to help us continue to provide you with weekly updates and promote the geothermal industry.

We trust that companies with involvement in the industry recognize that your interests are tied to GEA’s success in its advocacy, public relations, market development and other activities. A GEA membership provides the support we need to continue to work on behalf of the entire U.S. geothermal industry while also directly benefiting your company with our many membership perks.

If you are interested in a GEA membership, please fill out an application at: geo-energy.org/become_member. Contact Yasmin@geo-energy.org.

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More Than Half New U.S. Energy in February was Geothermal
Geothermal accounted for more than half of the new U.S. generating capacity brought on line for February 2015, according to the latest FERC infrastructure report, issued March 19. The new geothermal capacity consists of a 45 MW expansion that was added to the McGinness Hills geothermal site in Lander County, Nevada. The power generated is sold to Nevada Power under long-term contract. The FERC document can be found at: www.ferc.gov. See also a press release from Ormat Technologies about the geothermal expansion project: “McGinness Hills Phase 2 Geothermal Power Plant Begins Commercial Operation,” www.ormat.com.

NREL Director to Retire, Geothermal Savvy Successor Encouraged
Dr. Dan E. Arvizu will retire at the end of September from his roles as Director and Chief Executive of the DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The search for the next director will begin immediately, and the GEA encourages a geothermal savvy successor.

A statement from NREL noted that Arvizu’s 10-year tenure saw NREL’s research portfolio nearly double and “high-performance computing, electricity grid integration, and fundamental research in materials and biological science have emerged to complement major technology research and development programs in renewable generation, renewable fuels, and buildings energy efficiency. . . Under Arvizu’s leadership, NREL has markedly increased commercial and public partnerships through which the knowledge and know-how of the laboratory have direct impact in the marketplace.”

For the open position, an informational site is being developed that will provide the comprehensive details and application process. In the interim, interested candidates should contact NREL Human Resources Director Penny Burton. See also nrel.gov/careers/labdirectorsearch.

States That Produce Renewable Energy Have Cheaper Electricity
Sustainable Energy Coalition/SUN DAY Campaign, Natural Resources Defense Council/OnEarth.org — A study released by the venture capitalist firm DBL Investors shows that states boasting robust green energy programs have the nation’s cheapest electricity. The trend lines suggest it’s only going to get better for their consumers. In 2001, electricity cost more in the 10 top renewable energy states than it did in the 10 states with the lowest proportion of green energy production. By 2013, the situation had turned upside down: States with the most green energy now offer cheap electricity, while the dirty power states are the most expensive. The 10 states with cheap green energy are Maine, Iowa, South Dakota, California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Oklahoma, plus Washington, DC. The 10 laggard states in the DBL study were Florida, Connecticut, Delaware, South Carolina, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and DBL Investors
Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and DBL Investors
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