International roundup: Geothermal in Hawaii, Wisconsin, Chile and Colombia

Geothermal energy updates in Hawaii, Wisconsin, Chile and Colombia.


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

U.S. States

*Hawaii: PEIS Provides Insight on Traditional Customs
In the “Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Hawaii,” the U.S. Department of Energy describes potential impacts of all energy sources on the state of Hawaii. It provides Hawaii-specific insight for geothermal, such as “Native Hawaiian issues” that arise based on traditional beliefs, which were brought up during the comment and community outreach portion of the document’s process. For example: “Potential direct impacts from construction activities to archaeological and historic properties, including burial sites and protected traditional and customary activities.” Understanding the local issues is an important step in both planning and mitigating successful geothermal work.

*Wisconsin: University Researching Sustainability and Economy of GHPs
The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering posted about the work of engineering professor James Tinjum’s research team on ground source heat pumps. The team is monitoring a geothermal exchange system and conducting a lifecycle assessment analysis. “Homeowners in Madison may be interested in the system because they are already sustainability-minded,” graduate student Eleanor Bloom says in the article. “But in many other rural areas like Grand Marsh, saving money may be at least as important as environmental consciousness.”

The Americas

*Chile: Government Pledges Emissions and Renewables Goals
Chile’s government is setting goals to lower emission and compete in the energy future. This week President Michelle Bachelet pledged a reduction of 30% by 2030 before the U.N. General Assembly, and a day later a non-conventional renewables’ share of 70% by 2050 was announced. Geothermal energy is expected to be part of the mix and as of early 2015 had almost 60 projects listed by GEA as “Under Development.”

*Colombia: IRENA Initiative Supporting Geothermal Goals
The Geothermal Initiative in the Andes of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is working to help Colombia and other countries in the region push past barriers such as high upfront exploration costs for geothermal to reach their renewable goals and earn back their investments. Colombia, for example, stands to earn USD 775 million or USD 221 million net from implementing renewable energy incentives in the next 15 years.


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