International roundup: Geothermal in Martinique, Antarctica, Indonesia, The Netherlands and more

Geothermal headlines from Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Martinique, Antarctica, China, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, The Philippines, The Netherlands, Turkey and the UK.

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

U.S. States

*Nevada: Data Center to Use Solar, Geothermal and Wind
In a compromise between NV Energy and Switch, a Las Vegas data center company, the former will build a 100-MW solar array park for the latter’s daytime use while geothermal as well as wind will be used at times when solar is not available. Switch will no longer purchase power from carbon emitting sources. The deal awaits approval from the Public Utilities Commission.

*Oklahoma: 300th Donated Geo Heating System Installed
Habitat for Humanity of Central Oklahoma has installed its 300th geothermal heating and cooling system. ClimateMaster has been donating the systems since 2006. “With these and other initiatives, Central Oklahoma has become a leader in making geothermal systems a standard HVAC solution for the home, and we anticipate this leadership to encourage even greater traction across the country,” said Dan Ellis, president of ClimateMaster which is based in Oklahoma City. The units save families an estimated $700 to $800 a year in energy expenses.

*Oregon: Newberry’s FORGE Phase I Starts August 1
Phase One of Newberry’s Frontier Observatory for Research on Geothermal Energy (FORGE) program begins August 1. Newberry is one of five sites that have been awarded $2 million by the Department of Energy for the FORGE initiative, which seeks the best site for a national Enhanced Geothermal Systems laboratory, and three of these sites will go on to Phase Two. GEA Member AltaRock Energy and Oregon State University are two leading partners. “If you could develop a Cascade-style volcanic system, you’re looking at something that would be a real good competitor with a nuclear reactor on the scale of power output,” said Adam Schultz, professor of geophysics. “Successful development would lay a foundation for a new industry that doesn’t exist right now, which is large-scale enhanced geothermal energy.”

The Americas

*Martinique: Renewables Action Plan Outlines Steps for Island States
The new Martinique Action Plan (MAP) outlines practical steps for deployment of renewable energy on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The plan was developed in conjunction with a conference of the SIDS IRENA Island Lighthouse Initiative, with 27 SIDS and 19 Development partners. The initiative includes deployment of geothermal energy in its goals. “The Martinique Action Plan aims to advance the goal of mobilizing the human, financial and technical resources to sustainably transition the energy systems of SIDS,” stated Henning Wuester, IRENA Director of Knowledge Policy and Finance. MAP will be included in follow-up events in Hawaii, Bangkok and Cape Town, leading up to the Paris UN climate change negotiations in December.


*Geothermal Flow Studied Below Antarctic Sheet
A study led by UC Santa Cruz researchers looks at geothermal heat sources that flow toward the base of the West Antarctic ice sheet. The geothermal flow could help predict the future of the ice sheet, which is thought to be rapidly melting due to climate change. The results were published July 10 in Science Advances (PDF).

Asia & The Pacific

*China: Geothermal Initiatives in the Works
With several government initiatives in the works, China could develop its geothermal energy as it moves away from coal. The pieces include a Geothermal Energy Data and Information System as well as a forthcoming Geothermal Development Plan from the National Energy Administration as part of a greater 2016-2020 five-year plan. A national forum to promote geothermal resource use was established last year, and this year saw the Fourth Annual Conference for the Development and Utilization of Geothermal Energy.

*Indonesia: Gov’t Looks at Geo Development Options
Following last week’s speech by President Joko Widodo in which he called for a prioritization of geothermal energy, officials say they are looking to address the price gap between fossil fuel plants and renewable energy plants as they seek investors. The government is looking at the right mix of incentives and subsidies that will encourage the renewable options as it faces a total new energy production target of up to 35,000 MW in the next five years.

*Japan and New Zealand: MOU Establishes Geothermal Cooperation
A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishes the basis for cooperation in geothermal energy between New Zealand and Japan. The MOU was signed by representatives of New Zealand’s GNS Science and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC). “Globally, geothermal energy is experiencing a renaissance, and I’m pleased that our two countries can share their pioneering experience – characterised by innovative, sustainable and respectful management of geothermal resources,” stated NZ Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges. Cooperation will include evaluation and mitigation of environmental impacts, survey methodologies and sustainable management of reservoirs.

*New Zealand: Law Student to Analyze Geo Resource Management
The University of Waikato press page notes that Master of Laws student Phoebe Parson is conducting research to provide clarity on geothermal resource management. Parson will compare the existing legal framework for information sharing under the Resource Management Act with other models. “I enjoy the interface between environmental law, private and public interest in resource use and how it all comes together,” she is quoted.

*The Philippines: EPI to Purchase Stake in Biliran Project
Emerging Power Inc. (EPI) will purchase up to 60% stake in Biliran Geothermal Inc. (BGI) reports local news. EPI was guaranteed a loan for up to P3 billion which will go toward the geothermal purchase as well as toward Jobin-SQM, Inc. (solar and wind assets). BGI’s geothermal asset covers 260 square kilometers in Biliran province with at least 100 MW power capacity expected in the south and 170 MW in the north. Eight geothermal wells have been drilled in the southern portion, where up to 10 MW capacity is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2016.


*The Netherlands: Geo Uses to be Considered During Moratorium on Shale
Dutch economics affairs minister Henk Kamp will propose better utilization of geothermal energy in conjunction with a five-year moratorium on shale exploration. “No answer can be expected to the question of whether it would make sense to further examine the prospect of extracting shale gas until the end of this year,” said Kamp. “At that point, I will present a vision of energy policy after 2020, based partly on recent insights relating to sustainable energy, the better utilisation of geothermal energy, and gas extraction in the province of Groningen.”

*Turkey: Low-Enthalpy Geothermal Plant Begins Operations
A new 4-MW low-enthalpy geothermal plant in Turkey has begun operations. Exergy completed the organic rankine cycle (ORC) binary installation in Denizli region and expects the configuration to increase the feasibility of low-enthalpy plants between 3 MW and 8 MW down to 100°C.

*UK: Students to be Involved in Geo Heating Project
Students at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire Campus have been invited to be involved in the East Council’s geothermal heating project. The Deep Geothermal Single Well (DGSW) demonstration system is part funded by the Department for Energy and Climate Change and is the first of its kind in the UK. Geothermal Engineering Ltd and Arup Group Ltd have submitted a planning application with comments due July 23.

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