Geothermal an Important Part of Clean Power Plan and Other Renewable Programs

In this post:

*Coalition of States Defends Clean Power Plan
*EPA Holding Public Hearings, Accepting Written Comments on CPP
*Geothermal Not Included in Early Incentive Program for CPP
*Final EIS Released for California’s Desert RECP Phase I
*GEA Files Comments on California RE Transmission Initiative
*USTDA Hosting ASEAN Reverse Trade Mission
*USTDA, DOE, IDB Sign MOU for Caribbean Energy Sector
*DOE Has New Geothermal Acting Director
*U.S. Geothermal Announces Progress on Crescent Valley I and San Emidio II Projects
*Ormat Technologies Seeks Production Engineer
*SEC Seeking Coordinator for 2016 Event in DC

The first map below, from Southern Methodist University, shows where the hottest geothermal resources are available across the lower 48 U.S. states. The second map, from SNL Financial, shows the amount of emissions reductions that each of the 48 will need in order to meet standards once the federal Clean Power Plan takes effect. Many states that need to meet standards can do so by developing their geothermal energy resources.

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CPPstatesmap

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

Coalition of States Defends Clean Power Plan
In response to the lawsuit states have brought against the proposed federal Clean Power Plan, another group of states and municipalities has filed a response. “In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, reckless politicians and polluters want to gut the president’s clean air plans,” said Governor Edmund Brown of California in a press release. “Today, California and its partners stand together in fighting these pernicious and dangerous lawsuits.”

The motions to intervene as respondents in the lawsuits are filed by: California (by and through Governor Brown, the California Air Resources Board and Attorney General Kamala D. Harris), Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia; the cities of Boulder (CO), Chicago (IL), New York (NY), Philadelphia (PA) and South Miami (FL); as well as Broward County, Florida.

“President Obama’s plan to limit harmful emissions from power plants is necessary to preserve our natural resources and protect public health,” said Attorney General Harris. “I will vigorously defend these rules on behalf of future generations of Californians.”

Geothermal Not Included in Early Incentive Program for CPP
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) representative has confirmed that geothermal is not being included in the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). The CEIP “is for wind and solar as eligible projects,” Tina Ndoh of EPA’s office of Air Quality Planning and Standards is quoted in E&E News. The program is designed to reward emissions reductions made up to two years before the Clean Power Plan compliance period takes effect in 2022. The Geothermal Energy Association sent a letter to EPA in September asking that geothermal energy qualify.

EPA Holding Public Hearings, Accepting Written Comments on Clean Power Plan
This month U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding public hearings on the proposed Clean Power Plan. While it looks like the speaking times might be full, geothermal industry professionals and interested community are encouraged to attend:

November 12-13 in Pittsburgh at William S Moorehead Federal Building, 1000 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222;

November 16-17 in Denver at EPA Region 8, 1595 Wynkoop St., Denver, Colo. 80202;

November 18-19 in Washington, D.C. at EPA William Jefferson Clinton East Building, 1201 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004; and

November 19-20 in Atlanta, Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center, Main Tower Bridge Conference Center, 61 Forsyth St, SW, Atlanta, Ga. 30303.

EPA is also accepting written comments on the proposal through January 21, 2016. For more information and to submit written comments, go to http://www2.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/forms/public-hearings-proposed-federal-plan-clean-power-plan.

Final EIS Released for California’s Desert RECP Phase I
The Final Environmental Impact Statement for Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) has been released. According to a press release:

Phase I of the DRECP, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, designates
Development Focus Areas with high-quality solar, wind and geothermal energy potential,
access to transmission and would allow impacts to be managed and mitigated. Applications
will benefit from a streamlined permitting process with predictable survey requirements and
simplified mitigation measures, and Interior is considering additional financial incentives
through an ongoing rulemaking process.

The first phase also identifies National Conservation Lands, and designates Areas of Critical
Environmental Concern, wildlife allocations and National Scenic and Historic Trail
management corridors to conserve biological, cultural and other values. Special Recreation
Management Areas and Extensive Recreation Management Areas are identified to recognize
and promote recreational opportunities and public access. These lands would be closed to
renewable energy and benefit from adaptive management in the face of climate change.

The Interior Department will issue a Record of Decision 30 days after the Bureau of Land Management’s Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment and Final Environmental Impact Statement are published in the Federal Register. An informational webinar will be held on Thurs., Nov. 19, from 10:00-11:30 a.m. See http://www.drecp.org and http://www.blm.gov/ca/drecp.

GEA Files Comments on California RE Transmission Initiative
This week the Geothermal Energy Association filed comments with the California Energy Commission, Public Utilities Commission and Independent System Operator regarding the California Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI). GEA states:

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) appreciates the open and transparent structure planned for the RETI 2.0 process. In addition, GEA is grateful for the staff’s understanding of the large, untapped, geothermal resource base at the Salton Sea and the need for appropriate, long-term planning to ensure that the right infrastructure is built to export this electricity to the rest of California and surrounding states. In the near term, 600 MW of transmission is currently available to export new geothermal generation out of Imperial County.

GEA has no specific comments on the planning structure, agenda or timeline for the RETI 2.0 proceeding. We would just ask that you use GEA as a resource if and when geothermal-related questions come up during the planning process. GEA is ready to help stakeholder groups and technical committees with the latest available information about geothermal power.

USTDA Hosting ASEAN Reverse Trade Mission
The U.S. Trade & Development Agency is hosting a U.S.-ASEAN Energy Infrastructure Symposium and Reverse Trade Mission from December 7-11, 2015, which aims to introduce U.S. energy infrastructure technologies and services to officials from ASEAN Member States. A part of the RTM program will include a two-day technical symposium in San Francisco on December 10-11, 2015. For more information about the Symposium and RTM and to register, please visit www.aseanenergyinfrastructure.twgtrademissions.com.

USTDA, DOE, IDB Sign MOU for Caribbean Energy Sector
The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), the United States Department of Energy (DOE), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for cooperative activities for the Caribbean energy sector. As part of the new MOU, USTDA will host a technical visit to the United States.

“Collaboration through this MOU marks another step forward in our commitment to supporting policies that ensure energy security in the Caribbean by leveraging innovative financing approaches and U.S. expertise in the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies,” a press release quoted U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Leadership amongst USTDA, IDB, and the Department of Energy is an example of how strategic partnerships can help regions around the world combat climate change to reduce carbon emissions and support low-carbon economies in the 21st century.”

DOE Has New Geothermal Acting Director
The U.S. Department of Energy has a new Acting Director of the Geothermal Technologies Office. Susan Hamm’s bio states:

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Susan Hamm, U.S. DOE Geothermal Technologies Office Acting Director

Dr. Susan G. Hamm joins the Geothermal Technologies Office as (acting) director. Dr. Hamm brings with her an impressive portfolio to not only include operations, budget and management, but a background in the geological sciences as well. In her new role, she will lead efforts to improve performance, lower costs, and accelerate deployment of geothermal technologies, which can play a significant role in America’s clean energy future.

Dr. Hamm previously served as the Directorate Operations Officer for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation, with full responsibility for human capital, space and budget for a 178-person, $1.3-billion Directorate. She served as a senior advisor to the Assistant Director on these and other policy issues.

Prior to NSF, Dr. Hamm worked with the nascent Department of Homeland Security in the Science and Technology Directorate. As part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary, she focused on strategic planning, budget development, policy planning, and Congressional affairs. Dr. Hamm has also worked as an advocate for professional science societies and as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Geology from Amherst College as well as a Masters in Geophysics and a PhD in Material Sciences from the University of Minnesota.

The GEA welcomes Ms. Hamm and looks forward to working with her.

U.S. Geothermal Announces Progress on Crescent Valley I and San Emidio II Projects
Press Release (BOISE, Idaho – November 9) (NYSE MKT: HTM; TSX: GTH) U.S. Geothermal Inc. is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to acquire all of the major and long lead equipment for the construction of three binary geothermal power plants at a significant discount. The equipment was part of an order for six power plant units by another geothermal developer, but only three were installed. The components for the three units being purchased are all new and unused, and have been held in storage. Upon closing of the transaction, they will be moved to a Company owned site.

The equipment is from the same manufacturers, and is of a similar size and design, to that installed at the Company’s Neal Hot Springs and San Emidio power plants. The design output of the acquired units totals approximately 35 megawatts (MW). Actual output of each unit will be determined by resource conditions found at the sites at which the equipment is ultimately installed.

“Since we already operate this same equipment at two of our projects, it will fit in perfectly with our existing operations” said Dennis Gilles, CEO of US Geothermal. “We paid $1.5 million, which is approximately 5% of the equipment’s original cost, a saving of roughly $28 million. This equipment gives us the ability to expand our megawatt output at our existing portfolio of advanced stage development projects at significantly lower cost, and in much shorter construction timeframes.”

The three equipment packages which represent approximately 70% of the components needed for the complete plants, will meet the major and long lead equipment requirements for the Company’s proposed Crescent Valley I power plant (25 MW) and San Emidio II power plant (10 MW).

The company plans to grow its portfolio by developing an additional 95 MW over the next 3 years, through a combination of expanding existing operations and constructing new projects. This will positively impact our cash flow and strengthen our commitment to becoming the North American leader in geothermal energy.

Ormat Technologies Seeks Production Engineer
Ormat Technologies is seeking to hire a new Production Engineer. From Ormat: “This position is responsible for conducting engineering studies and overseeing the implementation of solutions to optimize Ormat’s geothermal resource production, injection and support equipment.” Essential functions, responsibilities and requirements are available at Ormat’s Web site at www.ormat.com/company/careers/production-engineer.

SEC Seeking Coordinator for 2016 Event in DC
The Sustainable Energy Coalition (SEC) is looking for a coordinator for the 2016 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum. The Geothermal Energy Association has participated in this congressional showcase event in Washington, DC for the past several years and is a member of the SEC. This is a part-time, independent contractor position starting in January 2016, with increasing time commitments as the Expo date approaches. The Expo will take place in June or July 2016. Coordinating the Expo is a great way to network with energy efficiency and renewable energy companies and their executives. You can learn more about the Expo at http://www.eesi.org/expo, and about the SEC at sustainableenergy.org. Please see the full job description on the SEC Web site: http://sustainableenergy.org/expo-coordinator, and if you are interested in the position, please send your resume and cover letter to Alison Alford (aalford@eesi.org).

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