Leading news: International Geothermal Market Springs Forward

This post brings you updates on the international geothermal market such as the Global Geothermal Alliance concept and USTDA funding for Turkey; policy updates including Master Limited Partnership legislation on the national level and progress for California’s Salton Sea efforts; and more.

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Above: The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) has released its Renewables 2015 Global Status Report, which includes contributions from the Geothermal Energy Association. New Zealand was the top country for added geothermal power capacity additions, followed by Turkey, the United States, Kenya and The Philippines.

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

*GEA, IGA Representatives Keen to Support Global Geothermal Alliance Concept
*Bipartisan Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act is Re-introduced
*New Zealand Top Country in Geo Investment, U.S. Top for Total Geo Capacity, says REN21
*State Assembly Hears Testimony on Geothermal Resource at Salton Sea
*USTDA to Fund Geothermal Feasibility Study in Turkey
*USDA Grantees Includes Four Geothermal Projects
*National Geothermal Summit an “Intensive Big-Picture Industry View”
*KenGen’s Call for Geothermal Supplies is Due June 29

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Olkaria Geothermal Field in Kenya, June 2015

GEA, IGA Representatives Keen to Support Global Geothermal Alliance Concept
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) convened roughly 60 stakeholders on June 15 in Nairobi to finalize the concept of the Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA) and exchange views on the best way forward. GEA’s Executive Director Karl Gawell participated as a U.S. NGO representative. “The high-level policy involvement by the leadership and participants was impressive and a measure of success for IRENA’s efforts,” noted Gawell.

Prior to this, talk of an Energy Global Geothermal Alliance took the form of an Action Statement and Action Plan at the United Nations’ September 2014 Climate Summit in New York, though that development did not have official U.S. participation. As a result of the meeting in Nairobi, the Executive Directors of both GEA and the International Geothermal Association (IGA) expressed willingness and interest in supporting the effort.

The meeting was conducted by Joseph Njoroge, Principal Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Energy; Adnan Amin, Director General of IRENA and H.E. Simon D’Ujanga, Minister of Energy, Uganda. IRENA officials said, “The Alliance aims to identify and promote different models associated with geothermal development and generation to enable and encourage investments and to integrate geothermal facilities into energy markets.”

Numerous participants reviewed the status of geothermal efforts in their countries:
• Kenya’s Geothermal Development Corporation gave an impressive presentation on their effort to prioritize geothermal development, noting Kenya is now number 8 in geothermal worldwide. But Kenya made it clear they intend to go further, with an estimated geothermal potential of 10,000 MW.
• Sahele Fekede of Ethiopia’s Ministry presented on the numerous developments underway. He noted they are working with various multi-lateral and financial entities and also discussed a new Ethiopian geothermal resource assessment that estimates 2,114 MW to 10,791 MW potential with 4,200 MW as “most likely.” He noted they intend to have a new geothermal framework implemented by the end of the year.
• Rainer Halcon of the Philippines Department of Energy noted that geothermal was now over 10% of their capacity and 13% of the power mix. He noted that since passage of a new renewable energy law the interest in geothermal has resurged and also gave a new installation target of 1,180 MW by 2020.
• Camilo Tautiva from Columbia presented a map showing ten energy projects, saying his country is actively working on new policy and regulatory structure for geothermal.
• Peru’s representative, Alcides Claros, presented details on 2,860 MW of potential. He noted they had already granted 20 licenses for geothermal.
• About 15% of Costa Rica’s energy is now geothermal. The country has a new 55-MW project under construction and 2 more scheduled to be on-line in 2021 and 2023, respectively.
• El Salvador noted it is now 24% geothermal powered and highlighted efforts to develop a regional geothermal center.
• The Secretariat of the Pacific Community pointed to Papua New Guinea, The Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji as potential geothermal strong spots.

During the afternoon there were presentations by GEA, IRENA, Enel Green Power, IFC, French Ministry of Ecology and the African Union. GEA’s presentation centered on geothermal risk and risk mitigation points that were previously presented in a joint GEA-U.S. Department of State workshop in 2014 and was well received. Following these presentations an open discussion sought to clarify the concept of a Global Geothermal Alliance. In general there was strong support for moving forward with the IRENA effort.

The following day the group toured the Olkaria Geothermal Site. “The geothermal work at Olkaria is impressive,” noted Gawell. “Olkaria development is something Kenyans are proud of and it should give other countries a sense of what is possible for their economy if they pursue geothermal power.”

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The delegation of geothermal stakeholders visiting Kenya for the Global Geothermal Alliance meeting tour the control room of Olkaria 4 Power Plant on June 16, 2015.

Bipartisan Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act is Re-introduced
Bipartisan legislation re-introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate seeks to level the energy playing field through Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs), currently available only to fossil fuel investors. MLPs are attractive to potential investors because they are taxed as a partnership but traded like a corporate stock market. The legislation extends to renewable energy projects including geothermal energy.

Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA-05) and Ted Poe (R-TX-02), and Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) who introduced the bill say it is time to treat renewable energy with the same benefits and thus increase U.S. domestic energy security. Representative Thompson said in a statement, “This bipartisan bill will make it easier and more attractive for private capital to be invested in renewable energy. By leveling the playing field and treating renewable energy the same way we do oil and gas, we can create jobs, strengthen our national security, reduce our dependency on foreign oil and move closer to energy independence.”

The Geothermal Energy Association has endorsed the MLP Parity Act as have other renewable energy trade associations including wind, solar and biomass; environmental advocacy groups such as Clean Air Task Force and Union of Concerned Scientists; the National Association of State Energy Officials and others.

New Zealand Top Country in Geo Investment, U.S. Top for Total Geo Capacity, says REN21
The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) has released its Renewables 2015 Global Status Report which includes contributions from the Geothermal Energy Association. The top five countries in geothermal power “ANNUAL INVESTMENT / NET CAPACITY ADDITIONS / PRODUCTION IN 2013” were New Zealand, Turkey, United States, Kenya and Philippines. For “TOTAL CAPACITY OR GENERATION AS OF END-2013” in geothermal power the top countries were United States, Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico and Italy.

“About 530 MW of new geothermal generating capacity came on line in 2013. Accounting for replacements, the net increase was about 455 MW, bringing total global capacity to 12 GW. This net capacity growth of 4% compares to an average annual growth rate of 3% for the two previous years (2010–12),” according to the report.

The report shows that global new investment in renewable power and fuels, not including hydropower >50 MW, increased by 17% over 2013 to USD 270.2 billion and that growth could be even greater if the more than USD 550 billion in annual subsidies for fossil fuel and nuclear energy were removed.

State Assembly Hears Testimony on Geothermal Resource at Salton Sea
On June 23 California State Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia held the first of two select committee hearings on Renewable Energy Development and Restoration of the Salton Sea. The committee heard testimony on the opportunities presented through the Salton Sea’s geothermal resource in reaching the state’s renewable energy and climate goals. As part of this, the Geothermal Energy Association submitted public comments to the committee to encourage geothermal energy as an integral component in finding answers to environmental and funding challenges associated with restoration of the Salton Sea.

Assemblymember Garcia said in a statement, “California has ambitious goals to increase its renewable energy use to 50%, and decrease greenhouse gasses to improve air quality. Today’s hearing gave committee members an opportunity to listen in and examine the largely untapped geothermal resource that surrounds the Salton Sea which can play a role in helping the state meet its goal. Although challenges exist, developing the geothermal potential at the Sea can also help and kick start the much needed restorations efforts.”

In its submitted comments GEA wrote, “Future geothermal development at the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area (SSKGRA) could help mitigate the looming environmental catastrophe by arresting air quality issues and offering revenue streams for habitat development,” according to the letter. “In addition, revenues, taxes and royalties generated from geothermal development can provide income for state and local treasuries to finance education and infrastructure in Southern California as well as environmental mitigation so desperately needed for the communities in Imperial Valley.” GEA emphasized that the economic value of developing these resources is considered to be substantial, with potential to create 2,340 permanent jobs and employ 6,200 highly skilled construction workers in the local area.

USTDA to Fund Geothermal Feasibility Study in Turkey
A grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency is going to TBK (Turcas BM Kuyucak Jeotermal Elektrik Üretim A. Ş.), a joint venture between BM Holding and Turcas Energy Holding, for a 13.2-MW geothermal energy project in Turkey. The decision follows two previous USTDA-supported projects in Turkey that have been successful. The previous projects were completed by Gurmat Energy Investment and Trade Co. and Zorlu Energy Group. USTDA Country Manager Heather Lanigan told press, “This project in Kuyucak will expand on that success, and will also build upon USTDA’s continued efforts to support renewable energy deployment in Turkey.”

USDA Grantees Includes Four Geothermal Projects
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a total of over $6.7 million has been granted to 544 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects through REAP-eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses. The awards list included four awards for geothermal projects:

  • Illinois: INDEPENDENT ENERGY SYSTEMS CORP., $11,394 RENEWABLE ENERGY GEOTHERMAL
  • Michigan: COVEYOU FARMS, LLC $11,770 RENEWABLE ENERGY GEOTHERMAL & SOLAR GREENHOUSE
  • South Dakota: GASSMAN, MICHAEL J. $3,918 RENEWABLE ENERGY GEOTHERMAL
  • Wyoming: OEDEKOVEN, BYRON F. $17,681 RENEWABLE ENERGY GEOTHERMAL

National Geothermal Summit an “Intensive Big-Picture Industry View”
An article by Steve Funk on Nevadaappeal.com features the GEA’s recent National Geothermal Summit in Reno, Nevada. Executive director of the Churchill Economic Development Authority Rachel Dahl is quoted, “I really enjoy the conference because it’s one day of intensive information and you get to meet all the industry people. The association does a really good job of presenting a big picture view of the industry.” Dahl attended her first National Geothermal Summit last year and returned this year as a speaker and panelist.

Additional industry leaders included in the feature are: Paul Thomsen, director of the Nevada Governor’s Office on Energy; Josh Nordquist, business development director of Ormat Technologies and Peppermill Resort Hotel Executive Facilities Manager Dean Parker. “With EPA rules limiting power plant emissions and the need for flexible replacement resources,” Thomsen is quoted. “I’m very optimistic that we’re going to start seeing contracts for geothermal energy being exported out of state and that’s a win-win for Nevada.”

KenGen’s Call for Geothermal Supplies is Due June 29
The Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen) is looking for manufacturers and authorized dealers to supply parts and equipment for geothermal power stations. A call for expressions of interest has been released inviting eligible, experienced and qualified companies from any country to express interest in being shortlisted to submit proposals for the contract. Tender #KGN-OLK-029-2015 is due on June 29. For more information and to get the full tender, visit www.kengen.co.ke

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Olkaria Geothermal Field in Kenya, June 2015
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