In this post:
*Vote on Tax Extenders Bill Would Include Geothermal PTC
*Ex-Im Bank Reauthorized
*Energy Policy Overhaul Package Expected in 2016
*Global Geothermal Alliance Kicks Off at COP-21; GEA is a Member
*GEA Asks Nevada, New Mexico to Include Geothermal in CPP Compliance
*GEA Events Return in March with International Showcase
*GEA Member News: Ormat to Acquire Geothermal in Guadeloupe Island
*GEA Member News: Schlumberger JV Getting Rigs
The pie chart above shows the 2013 energy consumption mix in Nevada along with the geothermal potential for the state. Geothermal power could represent 45% of the power consumption in Nevada. In a letter filed this week to Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, GEA stated, “Full development of these resources can bring unique economic opportunities to Nevada that cannot be exported and will bring in millions of tax revenues for state and municipal treasuries over the next several decades. In addition, further developing geothermal power can bring jobs and economic opportunities to rural or impoverished areas of Nevada.” GEA also filed comments with the New Mexico Environment Department. (See the full story in this post.)
Vote on Tax Extenders Bill Would Include Geothermal PTC
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) filed a two-year extender bill (one forward, one back) this week as an amendment to another measure (The Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015). The bill could reach a vote before Congress leaves at the end of the week. The Brady measure includes extending the PTC for geothermal projects under construction by Jan 1, 2017. Senate colleagues Chairman Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Wyden (D-OR) lead the Senate Finance Committee that passed similar legislation earlier in the year, S.1946.
Reportedly negotiations on a larger package continue and there continues to be talk of making some of the extenders permanent. Text of the amendment is at: http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20151207/BILLS-114hr34eas-AMNT1.pdf
Ex-Im Bank Reauthorized
The charter of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. has been extended through September 30, 2019. The “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act” passed with a House vote of 359-65 and a Senate vote of 83-16. Chairman Fred Hochberg stated, “All of us at EXIM are ready to receive applications for new transactions.”
A statement from the White House said it “authorizes budgetary resources for surface transportation programs for FYs 2016-2020; reauthorizes taxes that support the Highway Trust Fund through September 30, 2022, and expenditures from that Fund through October 1, 2020; reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank through September 30, 2019; and improves the Federal permit review process for major infrastructure projects.” The online application systems and exim.gov are expected to be fully operational by December 8.
Energy Policy Overhaul Package Expected in 2016
Senate Energy Committee chair Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) expects to craft a compromise in 2016 similar to the one the Energy Committee approved in July, press reports in http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/262018-senate-chair-expects-compromise-energy-bill-next-year.
Geothermal provisions include setting a 50,000-MW National Geothermal Goal. The package includes provisions on liquefied natural gas exports, the federal government’s main conservation fund, electric grid reform and more. A similar bill passed the House on a 249-174 vote Thursday, but with little Democratic support, and The White House has also threatened a veto over several provisions.
When the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 was approved by the Energy Committee this past July, Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association commented it “would help America achieve its geothermal potential by addressing some of the most important barriers to geothermal development in the U.S.”
Terry Page, Director of Regulatory Affairs for Enel Green Power North America also commented at the time saying, “The U.S. has world class geothermal resources waiting to be developed that can supply baseload renewable power.” Enel is owner and operator of three geothermal facilities throughout the U.S. including the 33-MW Stillwater geothermal site. “The policy changes contained in The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 would help remove some of the barriers to geothermal development and help spur new investment in an expanded U.S. geothermal industry,” Page added.
Global Geothermal Alliance Kicks Off at COP-21; GEA is a Member
On December 7 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), designated “Energy Action Day,” geothermal leaders throughout the world officially kicked off the Global Geothermal Alliance. The Geothermal Energy Association is a member of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)-facilitated initiative, which along with GEA includes 38 countries and over 20 development and industry partners working to increase geothermal energy development.
“Geothermal has proven its potential to be part of both the global climate and energy action agenda” IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin stated. “While geothermal can provide baseload power at some of the lowest costs for any power source, it remains under-developed. The Global Geothermal Alliance will provide a platform for partners to share best practices, further reduce costs and get the most benefit out of this sustainable energy resource.”
A Joint Communique issued by the Global Geothermal Alliance states:
On the occasion of the 21st Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, we, Members and Partners of the Global Geothermal Alliance:
- Note that geothermal energy is a proven clean energy technology that provides stable and affordable electricity and offers flexibility and direct use of geothermal heat in domestic, commercial and industrial sectors, yet the modest pace of its deployment hinders reaping the potentially game changing benefits of geothermal technologies.
- Note that despite the vast global geothermal energy potential, with identified resources in nearly 90 countries, only 24 of those countries are producing geothermal electricity, corresponding to around six per cent of the estimated global geothermal power potential.
- Acknowledge that policy uncertainty, a shortage of skilled professionals, environmental concerns, licensing delays, and timely development of dedicated long-distance transmission infrastructure, as well as a lack of awareness and limited information about geothermal technologies, are preventing wider adoption of geothermal energy.
- Further acknowledge that the main obstacle remains the high upfront costs of drilling and risks associated with the uncertainties from the exploration phase.
- Recognize that a global platform that facilitates enhanced dialogue, cooperation and coordination among the key stakeholders can spearhead collaborative action that is essential to overcome hurdles for accelerated geothermal development.
Therefore, we join forces in the Global Geothermal Alliance as a platform for enhanced dialogue and knowledge sharing within the constituency as well as for coordinated action to increase the share of installed geothermal electricity and heat generation worldwide.
The full communique is on PDF at http://www.irena.org/EventDocs/GGA%20Joint%20Communique_COP21.pdf.
GEA Asks Nevada, New Mexico to Include Geothermal in CPP Compliance
This week the Geothermal Energy Association filed comments with agencies of two different states. The letters from the GEA encourage both the New Mexico Environment Department and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection to include geothermal in their respective 111(d) Clean Power Compliance Plans, required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“After the Clean Power Plan was filed in the federal registry last month Western States began workshops and hearings seeking public engagement on how to reduce their emissions,” said GEA staff Benjamin Matek who filed the comments.
“All states, regardless if they are participating in litigation against EPA or are advocates for the Clean Power Plan are developing state plans,” Matek explained. “GEA is tracking proceedings in key states and filed comments this week with two proceedings in New Mexico and Nevada reminding both states of their geothermal resources and offering GEA’s assistance to be a resource if and when questions about geothermal technology arise during their state planning process.”
GEA Events Return in March with International Showcase
Press Release (Washington, D.C.) December 8-–The Geothermal Energy Association has announced the third U.S. and International Geothermal Energy Showcase on March 17, 2016 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. The 2016 U.S. and International Geothermal Energy Showcase will feature industry and governmental leaders from across the geothermal marketplace.
“Over 80 countries are pursuing geothermal energy today” noted Karl Gawell, GEA’s Executive Director. GEA cites estimates that there could be enough resource potential in those countries to offset the total coal emissions of the U.S. power system.
The 2016 Showcase is presented with support from leading companies and organizations. Co-sponsors of the event include Power Engineers, the East African Geothermal Partnership, Dewhurst Group and the Geothermal Resource Group. Supporting organizations include the Geothermal Resources Council, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office, U.S. Energy Association, The World Bank, US Department of State, International Development Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
GEA will release its widely referenced “2016 Annual U.S. and International Geothermal Power Production Report” at the March Showcase. The Showcase program will highlight new geothermal projects, market trends and governmental policies driving growth in the U.S. and international markets. The last GEA U.S. & International Geothermal Energy Showcase held in 2014 involved more than 250 industry leaders, government officials and other power sector representatives from the U.S. and 26 countries around the world.
Confirmed and invited speakers include representatives from the United States Congress, IRENA, U.S. Department of Energy, Ormat, Enel Green Power, ElectraTherm, U.S. Geothermal, Alstom, Power Engineers/Galena Advisors, CPI, CalEnergy, Nordic Development Fund, World Bank, Citigroup, IADB, EBRD, AfDB, EDC, Dewhurst Group, Standard Bank, Thermochem, Reykjavik Geothermal, AltaRock Energy, Indonesia Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, CFE, PT Pertamina and more. For more information or to register, please visit https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=1872&EID=21349.
GEA Member News: Ormat to Acquire Geothermal in Guadeloupe Island
A press release from GEA member Ormat Technologies says it will “acquire, gradually, 85% of Geothermie Bouillante SA (GB) at a total company enterprise value of up to around €52 million (approximately $56 million USD, based on current foreign currency exchange rates)” including a 14.75-MW geothermal power plant and two exploration licenses in Guadeloupe Island.
“Upon closing, Ormat will hold approximately 80% of GB which will be increased to 85% within two years by capital investment agreed upon in the MOU,” according to the press release. “GB has two Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Électricité de France S.A. (EDF) the French electric utility. A new 15-year PPA with EDF with improved energy rates is expected to enter into force in January 1, 2016 and replace the current PPAs.”
“This acquisition represents another milestone in the execution of our strategic plan to expand our global footprint and enhance our portfolio through targeted M&A activity,” noted Isaac Angel, Chief Executive Officer. “This transaction is a strategic fit for Ormat as it will enable us to leverage our technology, engineering, procurement and construction capabilities and our geothermal expertise to add value to the assets we acquire as well as to Ormat shareholders. We plan to continue our proactive search for acquisition opportunities worldwide.”
Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development Ms. Ségolène Royal stated: “As France is hosting COP21, the decision of Ormat Technologies, US Company listed on the NYSE and a global player in the field of geothermal energy, to invest in the French island of Guadeloupe for the further development of a clean and renewable energy source is a vindication of the French government’s policy. It demonstrates, once again, that France is a desirable investment destination for environmentally conscious corporates. The recently-adopted energy transition law fosters the development of renewable sources of energy. In Guadeloupe, geothermal energy is highly welcomed as an alternative to fossil fuel for power production. We will fully support Ormat’s intention to expand the production of Bouillante and develop local employment in the coming years in accordance with their ambitious industrial plan.”
GEA Member News: Schlumberger JV Getting Rigs
A press release from BAUER Group updates on a joint venture with Schlumberger, parent company of GEA member GeothermEx. “In the joint venture, large drilling rigs for use with in the oil, gas and geothermal sectors will be developed and manufactured for Schlumberger and third parties,” according to the press release. “Two drilling rigs that are already under manufacture will be delivered to Schlumberger at the start of 2016. Further machinery orders of Schlumberger for the upcoming year shall be finalized in the next few weeks. Both companies anticipate that the planned joint venture could soon achieve revenues of more than one hundred million euros and open up great opportunities for the future.”