Leading news: Support for Salton Sea in California Taking Shape

In this post:

*Support for Salton Sea in California Taking Shape
*GEA Events Program for 2016 Approved
*Benefits of Western Grid Integration Considered
*Ormat and Toshiba Sign Strategic Collaboration for Geothermal
*DOE Studies Regional Vulnerabilities to Climate Change
*FS Invites Comments on Intended EIS for Geothermal at Salmon-Challis, Idaho (due Oct. 26)
*Job Opportunities Open at ISOR in Iceland (deadline Nov. 3)


The figure above is part of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ August 2015 report which simulated a diverse portfolio of renewables added over the coming years as California strives to reach its carbon reduction and climate goals. Note the assumed increase in geothermal energy generation. Now PacifiCorp and California ISO are conducting further studies for possible grid integration.

Click below for the full post on geothermal energy news.

*Support for Salton Sea in California Taking Shape
*GEA Events Program for 2016 Approved
*Benefits of Western Grid Integration Considered
*Ormat and Toshiba Sign Strategic Collaboration for Geothermal
*DOE Studies Regional Vulnerabilities to Climate Change
*FS Invites Comments on Intended EIS for Geothermal at Salmon-Challis, Idaho (due Oct. 26)
*Job Opportunities Open at ISOR in Iceland (deadline Nov. 3)

Support for Salton Sea in California Taking Shape
On October 9, Gov. Jerry Brown approved a bill related to restoring southern California’s Salton Sea and announced plans would begin to take shape (desertsun.com). “The Salton Sea has a long and storied history in California and with these key restoration projects, the state is helping protect air quality, while maintaining a viable water supply in the region,” Brown said.

The Salton Sea Authority and Natural Resources Agency are now required to study restoration projects. A.B. 1095 requires, “on or before March 31, 2016, the Natural Resources Agency to submit to the Legislature a list of shovel-ready, as defined, Salton Sea restoration projects, including information regarding project costs and project completion timelines” (PDF). “Shovel-ready” is defined as projects in either the final planning, environmental review or permitting phase.

“There are about 2,000 MW of potential geothermal energy in the Salton Sea region, in the southern part of the Salton Sea area, and as we have now set a goal for renewable energy for 50 percent renewable energy we are now looking how geothermal can also play a role,” press quoted Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) who wrote the bill (kesq.com).

State Sen. Ben Hueso had provided Commissioner of the California Energy Commission David Hochschild with a tour of the Salton Sea earlier in the month. “I wasn’t aware that the geothermal here on the Salton Sea is actually the best in the whole state,” Hochschild told press (ivpressonline.com). “I knew it was good, but didn’t know it was that good and there is still a lot more potential to exploit that resource and produce energy from so it was good to get to see that up close.” As part of the tour, the Commissioner visited the Hudson Ranch geothermal plant operated by GEA members Energy Source.

GEA Events Program for 2016 Approved
Geothermal Energy Association events are a chance to network with the industry, learn about current developments and technology advancements, and discuss issues to overcome for moving geothermal development forward. At a recent meeting of GEA’s Board of Directors, three GEA events for 2016 were given the green light. GEA staff are now working toward a Geothermal International Showcase in Washington for mid-March and a National Geothermal Summit in June, while the Geothermal Energy Association Expo will appear alongside the GRC Annual Meeting in October. For those interested in being supporters of the International Showcase, contact rani@geo-energy.org or visit geo-energy.org/events.

Benefits of Western Grid Integration Considered
This week PacifiCorp and the California ISO released a study PacifiCorp commissioned on the benefits of coordinating regional grid efforts through integrating PacifiCorp and California ISO. Such an integration “could produce between $3.4 billion and $9.1 billion in shared cost reductions in the first 20 years through better grid management and efficiencies gained by planning for the resource needs of a single, rather than multiple systems,” the parties found.

Steve Berberich, President and CEO of the ISO told press, “The study clearly highlights the benefits of a regional grid for all customers. It shows that a regional grid creates the opportunity to integrate higher levels of renewables more efficiently and effectively across a more diverse area. This regional approach is foundational to support the historic California SB 350 legislation and carbon reduction goals of nearby states.”

The two parties also extended their memorandum of understanding, originally signed in April, “to further explore costs and other requirements needed to achieve the benefits of integration outlined in the study, as well as to develop a transition agreement to outline the terms and conditions for the potential integration of PacifiCorp into a regional market.” Pending regulatory approval, full integration could occur in late 2018 or in 2019.

The study presumes a major increase in geothermal resources of over 1,000 MW (see appendix). The study and relevant materials are available at www.caiso.com/informed/Pages/BenefitsofaRegionalEnergyMarket.

Ormat and Toshiba Sign Strategic Collaboration for Geothermal
Press Release (RENO, Nev. and TOKYO) Oct. 14–Collaboration Expected to Increase Geothermal Market Opportunities to Support Future Growth–Ormat Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ORA) and Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO:6502) announced today that the two companies have signed a strategic collaboration agreement (SCA) to develop strategic opportunities for collaboration in the areas of geothermal power generation systems and related equipment.

Under the terms of the agreement, the parties will explore and develop strategic opportunities that will enable them to offer potential customers a more competitive solution for comprehensive supplies and services related to geothermal developments, from resource assessment, field development, power plant engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) to power plant operation.

Geothermal power plants generally utilize either a binary system or a conventional flash system. In some situations, a combined cycle using both systems can be employed, with the specific technology for each project chosen based on the unique characteristics of the geothermal resource. This collaboration will leverage Toshiba’s 49 years of expertise in flash systems and Ormat’s proven leadership in binary systems, to offer an efficient solution that combines the two technologies and meets the technological needs of geothermal projects around the world, enabling Toshiba and Ormat to approach and capture a larger portion of the geothermal market.

The first project expected to be implemented under this collaboration is the Menengai geothermal project in Kenya to be constructed and operated by the Ormat – Symbion Power LLC – Civicon Ltd Consortium, majority owned by Ormat. The parties have already initiated negotiations on the supply agreement and the plant design is at an advanced stage.

The parties are actively analyzing global prospects for upcoming and potential projects in which they can jointly submit applications for geothermal power plants utilizing a geothermal solution consisting of Ormat’s binary system and Toshiba’s flash system.

Yoshihiro Aburatani, President and CEO of Toshiba’s Power Systems Company said, “I am pleased that we have signed the SCA and taken the first step forward in our long-term strategy. A collaboration between globally respected Ormat and Toshiba, bringing together Ormat’s capabilities in developing geothermal projects and its reliable binary equipment and our expertise in geothermal power, notably our highly reliable flash type geothermal steam turbines, offers tremendous potential for delivering comprehensive customer satisfaction. We look forward to working with Ormat to implement the first project.”

“This milestone collaboration with Toshiba, an innovation leader in the geothermal steam turbine industry, is another significant step in our long-term strategy to expand our presence in the geothermal space and ultimately target the larger renewable energy market,” commented Isaac Angel, Chief Executive Officer of Ormat. “We view this collaboration as a key to support our strategic expansion in the geothermal industry to diversify our technological base, as well as extend our geographic reach. I believe that this collaboration of two market leaders, each with its own area of expertise, will enhance the value proposition to our clients, expand the market opportunities and accelerate the growth for both Ormat and Toshiba.”

DOE Studies Regional Vulnerabilities to Climate Change
Via Sustainable Energy Coalition & U.S. Department of Energy — A new U.S. Department of Energy report, “Climate Change and the U.S. Energy Sector: Regional Vulnerabilities and Resilience Solutions,” examines the expected regional energy sector vulnerabilities to climate change. Some key findings include:

  • Hydropower is vulnerable to reduced snowpack, earlier melting, and changes to precipitation and runoff patterns, mainly in western regions.
  • Bioenergy crops in the Midwest and Northern Great Plains may be harmed by higher temperatures and more frequent droughts and floods.
  • Thermoelectric power generation is vulnerable to increasing temperatures and reduced water availability in most regions, particularly in the Midwest, Great Plains, and southern regions.

The report finds fuel transport in every region is vulnerable to a variety of climate impacts, including increasing heavy precipitation, heat waves, drought, hurricanes, and sea level rise-enhanced storm surge. Electric grid operations and infrastructure in every region is vulnerable to a variety of climate impacts, including increasing temperatures, heavy rainfall events, wildfire, hurricanes, and storm surge.

FS Invites Comments on Intended EIS for Geothermal at Salmon-Challis, Idaho (due Oct. 26)
Via Federal Register — After the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received applications for leasing approximately 5,600 acres of Salmon-Challis National Forest (SCNF) lands for exploration and development for geothermal energy production, the SCNF must decide whether these lands are available for leasing by the BLM and, if so, under what stipulations for protection of surface resources. SCNF is now preparing to begin an environmental impact statement to analyze the potential effects of geothermal development, with comments invited. The decision will be whether to proceed with geothermal leasing and, if so, under what stipulations. Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by October 26, 2015. The draft environmental impact statement is expected in May, 2016 and the final environmental impact statement is expected in September, 2016. Send written comments to Big Creek Geothermal EIS Project, Salmon-Challis National Forest, 1206 South Challis Street, Salmon, ID 83467. Comments may also be sent via email to comments-intermtn-salmon-challis@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 208-756-5151.

Job Opportunities Open at ISOR in Iceland (deadline Nov. 3)
Via ThinkGeoEnergy & Iceland GeoSurvey (ISOR) — Due to increased activities in both geothermal and earth science research in Iceland and abroad, Iceland GeoSurvey is seeking specialists and has posted opportunities for: Physicist; Geophysicist; Geologist; A specialist in geographical information systems; and Engineers. Deadline for all applications is November 3, 2015. For more information visit geothermal.is/vacancies-0. Please send applications along with a CV to Ms. Valgerður Gunnarsdóttir in the department of Support Services, email: valgerdur.gunnarsdottir@isor.is.

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