International roundup: Geothermal in Iran, Kenya, Costa Rica, Taiwan and more

This week brings you geothermal headlines from Iran, Kenya, Chile, Costa Rica, Indonesia, New Zealand, The Philippines and Taiwan.


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

Africa and the Middle East

*Iran: Geo Project Drilling 11 Wells, Will Include Heating/Cooling
Local news from Iran has more information on the geothermal pilot station in northwestern Meshguin Shahr, in the Ardabil province, that is said to be the first geothermal power plant for the Middle East. The 50-MW project is drilling 11 wells, seven of which have reached ground reserves, Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian told press. Besides power generation, the geothermal energy will be used for heating and cooling.

*Kenya: Olkaria Expansion Benefiting Community
An article on the World Bank Web site outlines a variety of benefits resulting in Kenya from the Olkaria II Unit 3 geothermal expansion project. The additional 35-MW capacity is contributing about 276 GWh annually; earning carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM); reducing the equivalent of 149,632 tons of carbon dioxide per year; using part of the revenue to benefit poor farm-based communities living close to the geothermal plant; employing local youth and more.

*Kenya: Menengai Field Featured in Researcher’s Unique Blog
Helen Robinson, a PhD Researcher in Geothermics, has been blogging from the Menengai field. She posts on topics like open extensional fracture mapping, steaming ground survey and soil gas sampling, and post photos that help show the steps. Her insights show how field work gives a larger picture of the geothermal reservoirs below, for example, after one survey she writes: “I hope this survey will present data that will show the changes in the shallow sub-surface behaviour of fluids and gases depending on where the samples were collected in relation to any major features, eg. a fault. From this, it should then be possible to make some inferences that due to the environment being similar, this behaviour also occurs at other fumarole localities across the caldera.” See We found her by her Twitter handle, @HRobinson1502.

The Americas

*Chile: Geo Project Innovates and Reaches Communities
The Cerro Pabellón geothermal project “will not only be the first geothermal plant in Chile and South America, but will also be the first in the world to be built at 4,500 metres above sea level,” Marcelo Tokman, general manager of Chile state oil company ENAP (Empresa Nacional del Petróleo) told press. The Enel Green Power / ENAP project is scheduled to begin operating at 48 MW in the first phase by 2017, with another 24 MW to be added a year later. The companies will also implement social development projects with the local Alto El Loa Indigenous Peoples Council.

*Costa Rica and Indonesia: Geothermal Cooperation to Increase
In San Jose, representatives of Costa Rica and Indonesia met to discuss geothermal energy, increasing trade and investment cooperation, and other similar interests such as natural disaster preparedness, and sealed the meeting with a framework agreement. “Indonesia is a country with a largest geothermal energy potential in the world. Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of energy needs in Costa Rice are covered with renewable energy, including geothermal energy,” Indonesia’s Central and East Europe directorate, Enjay Diana was quoted in press.

Asia and the Pacific

*Indonesia: Over 2,000 MW New Geo Capacity Expected by 2020
Another 13 Indonesian geothermal projects with a combined projected capacity of 1,751 MW have been awarded new PPAs. When added to six projects previously reported, the total new geothermal capacity expected for Indonesia by 2020 is 2,076 MW. The 13 new PPAs go to: PT Bakrie Darmakarya Energi; PT Medco Cahaya Geothermal; PT Sorik Merapi Geothermal Power; PT Sokoria Geothermal; PT Supreme Energy Rajabasa; PT Supreme Energy Rantau Dedap; PT Sintesa Banten Geothermal; PT Star Energi Geothermal Halmahera; PT Jabar Rekind Geothermal; PT Sabang Geothermal Energy; PT Tangkuban Perahu Geothermal Power; PT Supreme Energy Muara Laboh and PT Wijaya Karya Jabar Power.

*New Zealand: Geo Partnership Sees Community Opportunities
Local news has more information on a partnership between Ngāwhā Marae, a traditional Māori society, and Top Energy, which is applying for expansion of the geothermal power plant at Ngāwhā. The decision is expected to be made before the end of September. Far North District mayor John Carter told press the is not only for power generation but also new industries to help pump cash into the region. “It’s also the stuff that’s going to go around at the industrial park that we’re talking about which will allow us then to establish sawmills, milk powder factories, and horticulture and a whole lot of positive things that will create job opportunities for our people,” he said.

*New Zealand: Research Shows Gold and Silver Extraction Potential in Geothermal Area
A research project in New Zealand looked at gold and silver deposits in the Taupo Volcanic Zone. Rotokawa Geothermal Power station Waikato, on New Zealand’s North Island, was estimated to contain a yield up to $2.7 million (£1.7 million) of gold a year. The authors published their findings in the journal Geothermics. According to the abstract: “New technologies need to be developed to extract the metals from the flow stream of production wells without interfering with geothermal energy production for continued metal extraction to be feasible. The alternative is to let precious metals accumulate in two-phase pipelines, to be recovered in intervals, when practical for steam field operations and optimal in terms of profitability.”

*The Philippines: EPI Joining Biliran Project
Emerging Power, Inc. (EPI) signed an agreement with developer Orka Energy for up to 60% ownership of Biliran Geothermal Inc. The agreement is pending regulatory approval. Eight wells have been in the southern portion of the concession area with an estimated output potential of 100 MW. The northern part may yield up to another estimated 170 MW. “Orka Energy and EPI share the same vision: harnessing geothermal energy to meet Asia’s demand for cleaner, sustainable energy. We look forward to working with EPI on the Biliran Project to create long-term value for all stakeholders, and to responsibly and sustainably power homes, communities, and businesses across the Philippines,” Orka CEO Eirikur Bragason told press.

*Taiwan: Geothermal Project Waiting for EIA Approval
A geothermal project in Yilan County, Taiwan may need a fourth meeting or a second-phase review before it can begin. The decision has been referred by the environmental impact assessment (EIA) committee to the EIA grand assembly and may need further seismic and geological studies and test drilling. The project proposes drilling 10 geothermal wells over a 10-year period for up to 101 MW capacity at a projected cost of NT$10 billion (US$304.2 million). Engineer Wang Wei-ming in charge of project drilling was quoted that the conduit material can withstand stress of up to 555 megapascals.

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