International roundup: Geothermal in Hawaii, Oregon, Djibouti, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea and more

This post brings you geothermal news from California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Chile, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and The Philippines.


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

U.S. States

*California: Little Hoover Commission Tours Salton Sea, Holds Hearing
Via Imperial Irrigation District–California’s watchdog agency, the Little Hoover Commission, spent two days in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys this past week. On Monday, April 27, commissioners and staff joined representatives from Riverside County, Imperial County, the Imperial Irrigation District, Coachella Valley Water District and others on a seven-hour tour of the Salton Sea. A hearing was held in Palm Desert the following day to allow commissioners and staff to learn about the issues facing the Salton Sea. See also: Desert Sun April 27, Desert Sun April 28, and Imperial Valley Press April 29.

*Hawaii: 100% Renewables Mandate Shows Leadership Among U.S. States and Island Chains
Hawaii has become the first state to pass a 100% renewable energy mandate. House Bill (HB) 623, passed this month, gives the state’s power providers until 2045 to achieve the requirement. Senator Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee, told press: “With this bill, we’ll now be the most populated set of islands in the world with an independent grid to establish a 100 percent renewable electricity goal. Through this process of transformation, Hawaii can be the model that other states, and even nations, follow. And we’ll achieve the biggest energy turnaround in the country, going from 90 percent dependence on fossil fuels to 100 percent clean energy.”

*Hawaii: State and USEA Host Indonesian Energy Delegation
As part of a clean energy integration partnership, the Hawaiian Electric Partnership and the U.S. Energy Association (USEA) recently hosted the Indonesian national utility P.T PLN (Persero) and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. A USEA article about the exchange noted that Geothermal Development was one of the main topics discussed, along with Renewable Energy, Distributed Generation, Energy Storage and Regulatory Oversight. One recommendations that came out of the exchange was that the Indonesia delegation review policies regarding geothermal projects on pricing, IPPs or non IPPs option, negotiation, and risk on exploration. Benefits that have results from Hawaii’s geothermal resources were outlined: “Located in the Puna district of the island, the Puna Geothermal Venture produces 38 megawatts of power to the Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO),” according to the article. “This power is HELCO in stabilizing the grid due to fluctuations caused by other intermittent sources of renewable energy. Another spot with geothermal potential is located on the west side of the island near the East Rift Zone. Even with the increase in both solar and wind generation, geothermal is still a great source of alternative energy through the continuous heat supplied by the volcano. This stable flow of energy will allow HELCO to maintain grid stability and even out any fluctuations caused by other intermittent renewables.”

*Nevada: Geothermal-Solar Hybrid Continues to Provide Answers
A public-private partnership has been working over the past year to quantify the economic benefits of the first operating geothermal-solar hybrid power plant, known as Stillwater, located in Nevada. The U.S. Department of Energy, Enel Green Power, Idaho National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory are working to size up the potential for enhanced deployment of the technology.

*Oregon: Bring FORGE to Oregon, Says State Senator
House Joint Memorial 19, would urge the U.S. Secretary of Energy and Congress to site their prospective Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) at the Newberry Geothermal Project. The measure passed the House last month and has gone to the Senate. This month State Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) offered supporting testimony for the measure in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.


*Djibouti: Asal Reaches Exploratory Drilling Stage
A Bloomberg article provides an update on the Asal geothermal project in Djibouti. The Japan International Cooperation Agency surveyed 13 potential geothermal sites, and the ministry now expects four exploratory wells to be drilled in the next year. Halliburton Co., Baker Hughes Inc., Turkish Petroleum Corp. and Exalo Drilling SA of Poland are pre-qualified to drill wells in the country.

*Ethiopia: Turkish Firms Enter Energy MOU
Ethiopia and four Turkish firms have entered a Memorandum of Understanding for power generation projects to boost the country’s energy sector. The country is looking for projects that generate 500 MW of power and above, with a minimum of 300 MW. “Interested companies in megaprojects are already making contacts and if deals are to be stricken, the government would buy energy generated by these companies. Currently, the tariffs are being worked out,” Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopia Electric Power Azeb Asnake said.

The Americas

*Funding for Central American Geothermal Announced from Germany
Germany will provide a line of credit of 100 million euros ($112 million) for geothermal energy projects in Central America. The action was discussed in a meeting between Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Klaus Krämer of the German Economic Cooperation and Development Ministry. Implementation is on a country-by-country basis for a total 223 million euros ($250 million).

*Chile: Mariposa Drilling to Begin in October
Energy Development Corp. (EDC) representatives told press the company is on track to drill two to three wells at its Mariposa geothermal concession in Chile by the fourth quarter of 2015. The company is based in The Philippines and this is its first major international drilling campaign. The company has earmarked P3.8 billion for geothermal exploration projects in Latin America, including the Chile project as well as concessions in Peru.

*Nicaragua: Country Focusing on Renewable Energy Strategy
Submitted by Marcelo Lippmann–Nicaragua is looking to become less dependent on economic assistance from other countries, such as its current subsidized oil imports from Venezuela. The country is now pushing forward on the development of renewable energies in order to reduce the use of fossil fuels for power generation. Presently, the country produces half of its electricity through wind farms, hydroelectric power and geothermal power plants. Full article in Portuguese:

Asia and the Pacific

*Indonesia: Engineers Explore Site-Specific Needs for Geothermal Plants
An article on looks at the design phase of geothermal power plants and focuses on the Wayang Windu, Indonesia plant in particular. All geothermal plants are designed to be site-specific, and Wayang Windu presented its own challenges for engineers. Answers included grooved mechanical piping for the drilling fluid system as well as flexible couplings to withstand weather conditions. The power plant is an example of engineering solutions to meet location needs.

*Indonesia: Government Supporting Diversification toward Geothermal, Report Says
A new geothermal market research report for Indonesia has been released by Transparency Market Research. A press release states, “A substantial number of high-quality geothermal resources and strong government support towards diversification of the energy portfolio are among the major drivers of growth in the geothermal power generation market in Indonesia. The country has abundant geothermal resources, amounting to nearly 28.0 GW, of which only 1.6 GW have been harnessed as of 2013. The Indonesian government has set a target of adding 5.0 GW of new geothermal power generation capacity by 2025.”

*Papua New Guinea: Surveys Show Geothermal Prospects
Papua New Guinea presented surveys on a number of active geothermal sites at the recent World Geothermal Congress 2015. The country’s prospective development sites include West New Britain, Morobe (Wau/Bulolo) and Milne Bay. Mineral Resources Authority (MRA)’s Geological Survey Division (GSD) executive manager Nathan Mosusu told press: “GSD’s participation in the conference enabled them to see first-hand, the experiences of countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Kenya, and what they did to become world leaders in geothermal resource development. Those experiences will help us (GSD/MRA) do it right from the very start, and contribute effectively to geothermal development in PNG. All these work being done by MRA to survey geothermal resources in the country, is done in anticipation of the national government’s plans to develop alternative energy sources such as geothermal energy to facilitate the industrial growth and prosperity of PNG.”

*The Philippines: Bids Received for Geothermal Sites
A tender process that opened this month saw bids for two geothermal development sites. “We have eight bids for geothermal and 31 bids for hydro and we’re very happy with the turnout,” Mario Marasigan, director of the DOE’s Renewable Energy Bureau, told press. Bidding companies include Energy Development Corp and AP Renewables Inc. Winners will be announced September 4. Two other geothermal sites did not receive bids but will be opened for negotiated deals.

*The Philippines: Company Raising Funds for Geothermal Expansion
Energy Development Corp. (EDC) is raising P5 billion to finance the steamfield development at its Bacon-Manito (Bac-Man) and Mindanao geothermal power plants. This includes three new units to be commissioned at Bac-Man. Company representatives told press Unit 3 of Bac-Man would have a capacity of 30 MW, Bac-Man 4 between 17 MW and 20 MW, and Bac-Man 5 capacity is still to be determined.

*The Philippines: Montelago Project Gets New Partner
Nickel Asia Corporation is working to acquire a 66% stake in Emerging Power Inc. (EPI). The acquisition involves the Montelago geothermal project in Mindoro Oriental and will be about P920 million. The funds will go toward drilling and production facilities.

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