This post brings you updates on three pending geothermal bills, global opinions on climate change, and more.
Above: The map shows the global growth of the geothermal industry, with countries that are active in the industry shaded blue. GEA member companies are working in 80% of those countries.
Click below to read this week’s leading news for the geothermal industry.
*GEA Urges Senate Action on Three Geothermal Bills
*Pope’s Encyclical Calls for Climate Care through Energy Progress
*White House Says Proposed Budget Undermines Climate and Land Priorities
*Congressional Briefing Introduces DOE’s Geothermal “Frontier Observatory” Program
*NREL Work Advances Geothermal in the West
*Worldwide Study Finds High Concern About Fixing Climate Change
*GEA Participating in Congressional Renewables/Efficiency EXPO
GEA Urges Senate Action on Three Geothermal Bills
With the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee preparing to meet soon to consider, among other measures, a number of important geothermal bills, GEA sent a letter to key Committee members conveying its strong support for three important bills:
- S.562, The Geothermal Exploration Opportunity Act, was introduced by Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) earlier this year and and co-sponsored by Senator Jim Risch (R-ID). It seeks to streamline the federal exploration permitting by creating a limited categorical exclusion for geothermal exploration activities on public lands.
- S. 1057, The Geothermal Energy Opportunities Act, was introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), has provisions to create public-private partnerships to improve geothermal data and reduce drilling risk, including a grant program for exploration drilling.
- S. 1407, The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, was introduced by Sens. Heller, Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Risch and Tester and would help expand geothermal power production and lower transaction costs by expediting NEPA processing. In particular it directs and funds a new, supplemental Programmatic EIS for Geothermal leasing (PGEIS).
GEA’s letter to the committee explains that “taken together, these three bills would provide critically important support to the effort to take better advantage of the nation’s immense geothermal energy potential.”
The Committee is likely to meet in July to consider these measures, though there is some chance the session could be postponed until September. We will keep you apprised of developments as this legislation moves forward.
Pope’s Encyclical Calls for Climate Care through Energy Progress
“Laudato Si’” or “Praise Be,” the 184-page encyclical released by Pope Francis this week provides thoughts and guidance on how to care for humanity’s “common home”–the Earth and climate–with much attention to energy use and development. He notes that “In some places, cooperatives are being developed to exploit renewable sources of energy which ensure local self-sufficiency and even the sale of surplus energy. This simple example shows that, while the existing world order proves powerless to assume its responsibilities, local individuals and groups can make a real difference.” But progressive actions and technologies are still far from widespread, he adds, and developed countries have an ecological debt to pay by helping developing countries execute smart energy decisions. For the full treatise, visit www.vatican.va.
White House Says Proposed Budget Undermines Climate and Land Priorities
On Tuesday June 16 U.S. House Appropriations marked up legislation to fund the Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department for fiscal year 2016. The The White House said the House budget falls short for implementing the Administration’s Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule. It also cuts overall Department of the Interior (DOI) funding by approximately $1.1 billion. Senate Democrats have promised to filibuster measures that would get the President’s veto, yet the measures could be brought again as riders in year-end budget battles, noted morningconsult.com.
Congressional Briefing Introduces DOE’s Geothermal “Frontier Observatory” Program
A Congressional briefing at the U.S. Capitol building last week served as an introduction on the Department of Energy’s Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy program (DOE FORGE). The DOE’s Doug Hollett, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power, was the featured speaker. Additional speakers were invited from Idaho National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and University of Utah. The briefing was hosted by the U.S. Senate and House Renewable Energy and Efficiency Caucuses.
NREL Work Advances Geothermal in the West
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has posted an article featuring its two employees who were honored at the recent GEA National Geothermal Summit. The article on www.nrel.gov/geothermal describes the work of Dan Getman and Jordan Macknick that earned them their award. Getman developed the Geothermal Prospector, a mapping tool, while Macknick has analyzed geothermal water usage in a water-constrained region such as the West. For more on the 2015 GEA Honors awardees, visit www.geo-energy.org.
Worldwide Study Finds High Concern About Fixing Climate Change
Reuters via Sustainable Energy Coalition news stories–Almost 80 percent of people worldwide are perturbed about global warming and most want tough action to fix the problem, according to a new study based on consultations with 10,000 people in 75 nations. The report also showed that 66 percent viewed measures to tackle warming, such as more wind or solar energy, as a chance to improve their quality of life. Organizers from the World Wide Views Alliance, partly funded by the French government, said the study amounted to the largest public consultation ever on climate change. It was conducted on June 6, starting in Fiji and ending in the U.S. The results showed 79 percent of people were “very concerned” by climate change, 19 percent were “moderately concerned” and two percent were unconcerned or had no opinion. More than 90 percent wanted the upcoming Paris meeting to set some form of legally binding goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2100 to help avert natural disruptions such as more downpours, heat waves and rising sea levels.
GEA Participating in Congressional Renewables/Efficiency EXPO
The 18th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum is coming up on July 9. GEA will be there as we showcase renewables and energy efficient technologies in a unified event on Capitol Hill. Many GEA members and associates do geothermal business throughout the Western U.S. states. Consider exhibiting! The House Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus and the Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus are honorary hosts along with the Sustainable Energy Coalition. Contact: Rachel Pierson, SEC EXPO Coordinator, email@example.com. Visit sustainableenergy.org.