Leading news: Network with U.S. and International Vendors at GEA’s Geothermal Energy Expo

This post brings you updates on the GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo; geothermal in Imperial Valley, California; the Akiira project in Kenya; and more.

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Above: The figure shows geothermal projects under development around the world in terms of number of developing megawatts and number of projects across the 22 top-developing countries for geothermal worldwide (as of February 2015). For Indonesia, there is an extraordinary amount of developing capacity, and some of this could be the result of the backlog of projects in the country which have been stalled in the past by such issues as prolonged PPA negotiations, delayed permits related to the usage of conservation or protected areas and resistance from local residents. Representatives of both U.S. and Indonesian governments have agreed to increase collaborations and accelerate private investment in geothermal energy to help solve some of these challenges. See www.state.gov and geo-energy.org.

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

*GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo — One Month Away
*CalEnergy and Imperial Irrigation District Invest in Local Economy with Geothermal Power Purchase Agreement
*Munich Re Provides Geothermal Exploration Risk Insurance for Akiira in Kenya
*Homegrown Experts to Tap Into Africa’s 20,000 MW Geothermal Energy Thanks to New Excellence Centre
*Geothermal Contracts in Philippines for Bid in September

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo — One Month Away

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The Geothermal Energy Association is preparing for the 2015 Geothermal Energy Expo, the world’s largest gathering of vendors providing support for geothermal resource exploration, characterization, development, production and management. The annual event is happening again on September 20-23 at the Peppermill Resort and Casino in Reno, NV. We hope to see you there! Come network and find out:

  • How are the latest technology innovations in geothermal energy lowering the risks?
  • What states and countries need geothermal power in the coming years?
  • How will the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan affect geothermal energy?
  • How are DOE initiatives like FORGE helping to shape geothermal’s role for the national grid?
  • What’s the latest on the proposed 520 MW of geothermal by 2017 for Imperial County, California?
  • Are the U.S. and Indonesia ready to accelerate private investment in geothermal energy?
  • Who will attend GEA’s Annual Members Meeting and Board elections?

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Last year’s Expo at the GRC Annual Meeting welcomed over 1,500 delegates to Portland, Oregon for an event that featured the latest technologies in geothermal and discussions on opportunities and challenges internationally as well as within the United States. Attendees came from over 40 countries and all 50 states.

To register for the Geothermal Energy Expo only (General Attendees: $350 for three days; other discounts apply), go to http://geo-energy.org/new_expo/. To register for Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting-Technical Sessions (includes entry to the Expo; General Attendees: $895 for three days using early registration; other discounts apply), go to www.geothermal.org.

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Exhibit at the Geothermal Energy Expo.

CalEnergy and Imperial Irrigation District Invest in Local Economy with Geothermal Power Purchase Agreement
Press Release — Contract extends the life of CalEnergy’s existing facilities — (IMPERIAL County, California) August 11 – Today, CalEnergy, a subsidiary of BHE Renewables, executed a contract with the Imperial Irrigation District to provide Imperial and Coachella Valley residents and businesses with 50 megawatts of renewable geothermal energy through 2029.

CalEnergy is leading the efforts that promote geothermal procurement in the state of California to enable a reliable electrical grid. The company has been operating in the Imperial Valley for more than 25 years and will be investing more than $1 billion in capital improvements to its existing facilities to sustain its Salton Sea operations for another 30 years. CalEnergy is the largest contributor to the local tax base, which benefits the local communities by supporting local schools and other Imperial County improvements.

“IID’s forward thinking will greatly benefit its customers with this reliable renewable energy for years to come,” said Bill Fehrman, president of BHE Renewables. “We are pleased to provide one of the cleanest sources of baseload generation to IID and look forward to continuing to work with the district to meet its renewable energy needs.”

Last year, CalEnergy announced its new portfolio contract structure for geothermal marketing. Rather than contracting power from individual plants, all of the facilities are marketed together as a group, providing a more diversified supply and additional flexibility with volume and timing to meet customers’ renewable energy supply needs.

“We remain committed to economic development in Imperial County and the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area, where our geothermal power plants are located,” said Fehrman. “It is important to the future of our community and environment, and we will continue doing our part to facilitate growth of the renewable energy economy for many years to come.”

Long a proponent of geothermal energy, the announcement of this new contract comes on the heels of a recent announcement by IID that, as of the end of 2017, it will be ending its involvement with coal power generation. Instead, it will look to add more local renewable resources to its energy portfolio.

“As the state of California moves aggressively toward a clean energy future, renewable resources located in the Salton Sea region and the greater Imperial and Coachella Valleys will play a key role in meeting those goals,” said Stephen Benson, president, IID board of directors. “The value of the geothermal industry to our region and local economy is strengthened by the addition of CalEnergy’s contract to the district’s portfolio. In approving this contract today, we not only provide job security for many local residents, we create new jobs and add new tax revenues resulting from the planned capital improvements to the existing plants.”

Munich Re Provides Geothermal Exploration Risk Insurance for Akiira in Kenya
Press Release (Munich) July 30 — With its new portfolio concept, Munich Re is covering risk on a series of eight wells in a region in Kenya that is characterised by so-called high enthalpy, i.e. especially high subground temperatures. The exploration risk insurance covers the risk of insufficient output due to lack of geothermal resources, and is quite often a prerequisite for the financing of geothermal projects.

The multi-well exploration risk cover is being provided for the Kenyan Akiira project, developed by Akiira Geothermal Limited (AGL). Munich Re is engaging in a series of up to eight drillings, making the project’s financing more dependable and easier to schedule. The premiums become due in instalments as the drillings progress. Possible measures to stimulate or increase output by deepening the wells, or through sidetracks, are also part of the insurance package. Thomas Blunck, a member of Munich Re’s Board of Management, said: “The Kenyan geothermal project will harness a form of renewable energy where it is most promising and urgently needed. The multi-well concept provides flexibility and security to the developer and the investors.”

The Akiira project will be Munich Re’s first geothermal insurance project in Africa. It is the first privately owned geothermal project in Kenya to be developed in many years. The drillings are located in the East African Rift System, around 100 kilometres from the capital Nairobi and near the Olkaria Field, where about 500 MW in geothermal facilities are already in operation. The region is characterised by a significant graben (Great Rift Valley) with strong geological activities and therefore has much geothermal potential. High-enthalpy regions are in fractures in the Earth’s crust (as in Kenya), broken tectonic plates, or in active or formerly active volcanic regions. The heat in such regions is often already to be found at relatively shallow depths of 1,500 to 2,500 metres.

Countries like Kenya need new reliable and affordable sources of energy for their fast growing economies, and to give people access to electricity on a larger scale. Hezy Ram, CEO of Ram Energy, Inc, one of the founding shareholders of AGL, states: “Geothermal heat offers an immense reservoir of base load energy. Akiira will be a pilot project for us, so that other projects can follow.” Geothermal projects are often difficult to finance. The early drilling phase is the most difficult one for contractors and investors: if the targeted geothermal reservoir is unable to produce enough output in steam or heat, the project is usually discontinued and the investment lost. Munich Re now covers such resource risks with its Multi-Well Exploration Risk insurance, thereby helping ambitious projects be realised.

AGL is jointly owned by Centum Investments Company Limited, Frontier Investments Management and development partners Marine Power Generation Limited (MPG) and Ram Energy Inc. (REI). While MPG is holding the geothermal license, US-based REI has employees with significant geothermal and power plant development and project financing experience.

Homegrown Experts to Tap Into Africa’s 20,000 MW Geothermal Energy Thanks to New Excellence Centre
United Nations Environment Programme PRESS RELEASE (Nairobi) August 13 — With an estimated potential of 20,000 MW, geothermal energy could provide an answer to the continent’s energy shortage.

Around 80 delegates, including representatives of 13 African countries, gathered in Nairobi to explore the feasibility of establishing the Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence (AGCE), which would enhance the continent’s institutional and infrastructural capacities, and create a critical mass of geothermal scientists and engineers.

Currently, around 600 million people in Africa lack access to grid electricity, with the figure expected to rise to 700 million by 2030. The continent is increasingly looking to alternative energy sources to bridge that gap. With an estimated potential of 20,000 MW, geothermal energy could provide an answer to the continent’s energy shortage.

This immense potential remains largely untapped, as the continent faces challenges in terms of skilled human resources and development of technological know-how. To address this problem, African countries are planning to set up the AGCE as a vehicle to ensure the development of skilled personnel and the promotion of sustainable use of geothermal expertise in the continent.

The two-day workshop will assess a feasibility study, which catalogues the region’s needs for geothermal development, drafts the AGCE’s vision and evaluates its long-term sustainability. The meeting, organized by the United Nation Environment Programme’s (UNEP) African Rift Geothermal Development Facility (ARGeo) brings together country representatives, African governments, development partners, donors, civil society, private developers, technical institutions and academia.

AGCE is expected to be established in Kenya, which is the main hub for geothermal technology on the continent, with a natural laboratory and a major geothermal agency the Geothermal Development Company.

Geothermal Contracts in Philippines for Bid in September
Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) will bid out the Unified Leyte geothermal bulk energy contract on Sept. 2. This bidding has been deferred from the previous schedule, August 12. The Unified Leyte geothermal power plant complex includes 125-MW Upper Mahiao, 232.5-MW Malitbog and 180-MW Mahanagdong power plants and 51-MW optimization plants. Power purchase agreements are in place with state-owned National Power Corp. and Lopez-led Energy Development Corp.

“Despite the setback due to super typhoon Yolanda almost two years ago, you have shown the importance and high prospects of this particular bid. You may seem small in number, but you are among those who have been seriously and actively pursuing our privatization program, with some of you already prevailing as winners of government’s power assets,” Alzona was quoted in press at the pre-bid conference.

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