Leading news: GEA to Honor Leading Companies and Individuals at National Summit

This post brings you updates from the U.S. Senate related to geothermal energy; the official statement for Geothermal Awareness Month in California; and more.


GEA to Honor Leading Companies and Individuals at National Summit June 3 – Every year the geothermal industry honors the companies, organizations and individuals who are making exemplary progress in technology, economics, environmental quality and public policy supporting expanded use of geothermal resources. This year’s awards will be announced in just one week at the GEA National Geothermal Summit in Reno, NV. It will all start with an Awards Ceremony and Networking Reception Wednesday, June 3 from 5:00-6:30pm at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

The program continues on Thursday, June 4 from 8:30am-5pm with a full day of speakers from key Federal and State agencies, utilities, community leaders, geothermal researchers and project developers and more. Topics to be covered include: State of the U.S. Industry; Geothermal and its value in meeting state and regional clean power needs; Utilities discuss geothermal and best ways forward for a reliable utility power supply; The local economic benefits of geothermal energy; Geothermal energy and state climate mitigation plans and Moving geothermal forward in the West. Nearly
200 high-level representatives are already confirmed to attend.

Attendees: You will be able to collect your registration materials onsite at the Grand Sierra Resort starting at 4:00pm on Wednesday, June 3 from the registration counter located right outside of the Grand Ballroom. All events will take place in the Grand Foyer and adjoining Reno Ballroom. If you haven’t registered yet, you can do that on-site starting June 3 or online in advance at:

Click below to read this week’s leading geothermal news.

*Senate Appropriations Recommends $71 Million for Geothermal Program for FY16
*Heller, Heinrich, Risch, and Tester Join Forces to Streamline Permitting for Renewable Energy Projects
*U.S. Senate Panel Advances $35.4 Billion Bill Funding Energy Programs
*The White House Releases Report on National Security Implications of Climate Change
*Geothermal Awareness Month: Official Statement Honors California’s Geothermal Industry
*Final GRMF Applications for Africa Grants Due July 17
*Save the Date: 18th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum on July 9

Senate Appropriations Recommends $71 Million for Geothermal Program for FY2016
The Senate Appropriations Committee Report for FY2016 Appropriations is now available. It recommends $71 million for the geothermal program at DOE. By comparison, the program’s funding approved for FY2015 was $55 million; the President’s budget request for FY2016 was $96 million; the House approved $46 million for FY2016; and now the Senate Committee has approved $71 million for FY2016.

The report says:

GEOTHERMAL TECHNOLOGIES — The Committee recommends $71,000,000 for Geothermal Technologies. Funds made available by this section shall be disbursed to the full spectrum of geothermal technologies, as authorized by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110–140). The Secretary is encouraged to continue to support comprehensive programs that foster academic and professional development initiatives.

To facilitate necessary technology development and expand understanding of subsurface dynamics, the Committee recommends $35,000,000 for the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy [FORGE], which will use a competitive process to site and construct a facility for the design, development, and testing of innovative methods of generating electricity for geothermal resources.

Additionally, under UNCONVENTIONAL FOSSIL ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES, the Committee encourages the Secretary to examine the feasibility of utilizing geothermal energy from produced fluids for in-field energy requirements.

Broader energy details of the report include:

Energy Programs – $10.5 billion, an increase of $270 million above the FY2015 enacted level and $1.1 billion below the President’s request. Within this total, the bill prioritizes and increases funding for energy programs that encourage U.S. economic competitiveness and that will advance “all-of-the-above” solution to U.S. energy independence.

Energy Research and Development – $610 million, an increase of $39 million over the FY2015 enacted level, for technologies to advance coal, natural gas, oil, and other fossil energy resources. In addition, the bill provides $950 million, a $116 million increase, for nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration activities.

View the full committee markup at http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/hearings-and-testimony/full-committee-markup-302b-allocations-fy16-energy-water-appropriations-bill.

Heller, Heinrich, Risch, and Tester Join Forces to Streamline Permitting for Renewable Energy Projects
U.S. Senators Dean Heller, Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Jon Tester (D-MT) have joined in introducing the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act (S. 1407) to simplify the permitting process for solar, geothermal and wind projects on public lands. A hearing is scheduled for June 9.

Karl Gawell, Geothermal Energy Association said: “For geothermal, S.1407 will help streamline leasing and permitting, addressing a critical problem for geothermal development on public lands. It requires and funds an updated Programmatic EIS for geothermal, which would underlie achieving this goal, helping industry develop new resources while also protecting the environment.”

In a press release, Senator Dean Heller said: “Renewable energy is one of Nevada’s greatest assets, but it is difficult to harness our full potential when entrepreneurs are staring down an endless stream of red tape,” he said. “The first step towards implementing the ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy that the Silver State is capable of is streamlining the permitting process for renewable energy production on public lands. The balanced legislation we have introduced will help the United States create jobs, progress towards energy independence, and preserve our natural wonders.”

“The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act will modernize the leasing of public lands for development of solar, wind, and geothermal energy, and transition our nation to cleaner energy sources. This bill also directs revenues from these projects to impacted counties and critical wildlife habitat conservation projects. By streamlining renewable energy development, especially in a state with a high wind and solar potential like New Mexico, we can create quality jobs and strength,”

“A broad domestic energy supply is critical for America to grow its economy,” Senator Jim Risch said. “This plan helps accomplish that by putting renewable energies under a similar framework as conventional energy sources. It also requires royalty payments that will benefit Idahoans in the counties and states where the projects occur.”

“Montana has untapped energy potential and this bill will help streamline permitting so we can increase our energy independence and create jobs that can’t be outsourced,” added Senator Jon Tester. “If we are serious about reducing the impacts of climate change we must encourage renewable energy development where it makes sense, and this bill does that while also investing in conservation.”

U.S. Senate Panel Advances $35.4 Billion Bill Funding Energy Programs
Via Washington Examiner and Sun Day Campaign — The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has advanced a $35.4 billion spending bill that covers the Energy Department, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies. The funding level for fiscal 2016, which matches the House-passed measure, is $1.2 billion above the current budget and $668 million below President Obama’s request. The bill includes $6 billion for nuclear waste management, $167 million above current funding, and $10.5 billion on Energy Department programs – $270 million above current levels, but $1.1 billion below Obama’s request. Energy efficiency programs would receive nearly $2 billion. Fossil fuel research would get $610 million, a $39 million increase, and nuclear energy research would get $950 million, a $116 million increase. Those spending bumps were offset by cuts to clean energy research such as a 60 percent reduction in the wind technology program. Notably absent were funds for completing the licensing review for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site in Nevada.

The White House Releases Report on National Security Implications of Climate Change
Via The White House, Report and EESI — On May 20, the White House released an 11-page report outlining the national security implications of climate change, and what the White House is doing about them. The document is a compilation of findings from other federal reports, including the National Climate Assessment, the Department of Defense’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, and the White House’s 2015 National Security Strategy. The report covers domestic and international security implications; the changing Arctic circumstances; infrastructure risks; and the demands on military resources. The report concludes, “Climate change will change the nature of U.S. military missions . . . the United States is preparing.”

Geothermal Awareness Month: Official Statement Honors California’s Geothermal Industry
Press Release (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) submitted a statement into the official record of the United States House of Representatives commemorating Geothermal Awareness Month. The statement was submitted today, May 21st, to mark California’s Geothermal Awareness Day.

Thompson has repeatedly and successfully fought to protect geothermal royalties from harmful federal budget cuts. Geothermal revenue sharing was first started through the bipartisan Energy Policy Act of 2005. Congress decided that because of the high burdens geothermal production places on the counties where it is developed, the counties should share in the revenue. Counties use geothermal revenues to pay for governmental services, such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, and conservation easements. Many of the counties receiving revenue from geothermal receipts are small, rural counties facing uncertain budget situations. The loss of such revenue for these counties could result in the elimination or reduction of essential services. Revenue sharing has also made counties vested partners in the continued development of geothermal energy – a clean, renewable, and domestic energy source that provides jobs in rural areas.

In Fiscal Year 2014, Lake County received more than $959,000 in geothermal royalties and Sonoma County received more than $1,315,000 in geothermal royalties.

The statement reads:

May 21, 2015, Remarks of Representative Mike Thompson Honoring California’s Geothermal Industry

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor California’s Geothermal Industry as we celebrate Geothermal Awareness Month. It is important to recognize the success of existing geothermal facilities in California and the great value in promoting the development of new geothermal power, one of California’s greatest natural resources.

“Geothermal energy is an excellent source of clean, renewable energy that supports thousands of jobs across our district and state. Not only does the production of geothermal energy boost our economy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it provides counties with important royalty payments which they use to pay for important priorities like public safety, road maintenance and law enforcement. Furthermore, geothermal energy is critical to California’s renewable and low carbon energy goals.

“Geothermal energy is locally produced and boosts rural economies through jobs, royalties, tax payments and more. While in development, a geothermal power project will employ hundreds of individuals during construction and post-construction, more than most other renewable technologies. I am proud to represent The Geysers, which lies beneath the surface of Lake and Sonoma Counties, employs 300 full-time employees at Calpine, fifty full-time employees at the Northern California Power Agency’s two Geysers power plants and more than 150 contractors. The Geysers is also the largest taxpayer in both Sonoma and Lake Counties.

“Geothermal power benefits communities across the state, while providing important environmental benefits. In the south, The Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative, a plan to save an important source of water and minerals in the state, can add up to 1,700 megawatts of low-impact, cost-competitive geothermal energy to the State’s power grid. In the north, the Geysers maximizes the economic and environmental benefits of the resource, and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the equivalent of removing almost half a million cars from the road, meaning cleaner air for local towns and cities.

“Mr. Speaker, it is appropriate at this time that we recognize May 21, 2015 as Geothermal Awareness Day and honor California’s Geothermal Industry for ensuring that new and existing geothermal power is part of a diverse and sustainable energy mix now and in the future.”

Final GRMF Applications for Africa Grants Due July 17
Via African Union Commission (AUC) — The GRMF has been established by the AUC, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund in cooperation with the German government owned development bank KfW. The objective of GRMF is to encourage public and private investors (project developers) to develop geothermal prospects for power generation in Eastern Africa by providing cost sharing grants for surface studies and drilling of reservoir confirmation wells. An initial fund totalling 50 million Euros has been made available for such grants. A further contribution of 47 million pound sterling was received from the Department for International Development (DFID), UK.

The GRMF has achieved significant successes in supporting geothermal energy development in East Africa by awarding USD 17 million grant for four projects in Kenya and Ethiopia in the 1st application round, which was launched in 2012. Another USD 9 million has been awarded to four projects in Kenya, Ethiopia and Comoros in the 2nd application round, which was launched in 2013. The 3rd application round was launched in October 2014 and resulted in pre-qualification of eleven (11) projects from 7 countries along the East African Rift, which have now been invited to submit full applications by 17th July 2015, which will be evaluated and move towards grant award. For detailed information about Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF) please visit the GRMF Website: http://www.grmf-eastafrica.org/.

Save the Date: 18th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum on July 9
The 18th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum on July 9 will bring together businesses, sustainable energy industry trade associations and government agencies. GEA will be there as we showcase renewables and energy efficient technologies in a unified event on Capitol Hill. The House Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus and the Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus are honorary hosts along with the Sustainable Energy Coalition.

Many GEA members and associates do geothermal business throughout the Western U.S. states. Consider exhibiting!

When: Thursday, July 9, 9:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. Where: Washington, D.C., Cannon House Office Building with Exhibitions in Caucus Room 345 and Forum in Cannon Room 334. Contact: Rachel Pierson, SEC EXPO Coordinator, info@sustainableenergy.org. Visit sustainableenergy.org.

Attendance at the EXPO + Forum is free, open to the public, and no RSVPs are required so all are welcome! Sponsoring Organizations: American Council on Renewable Energy, Bob Lawrence & Associates, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Cascade Associates, CHP Association, Clean Fuels Development Coalition, Environmental & Energy Study Institute, Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, Geothermal Energy Association, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Methanol Institute, National Hydropower Association, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, Solar Energy Industries Association, The Stella Group, LTD and Union of Concerned Scientists.

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