Geothermal in Tax Extenders, Omnibus Funding, NREL Report, Student Competition, and more

In this post:

*Votes Expected This Week on Tax Extenders and Omnibus Funding
*GEA Files Comments on Clean Energy Incentive Program
*NREL’s New Salton Sea Report Shows 1,800 MW Geothermal Potential
*DOE Announces Geothermal Design Challenge (due March 1, 2016)
*Gregory Wetstone to be New ACORE President
*Akiira Seeks Drilling Supervisor in Kenya (apply by January 7)
*Akiira Seeks Project Manager in Kenya (apply by January 7)

*Geothermal Visual:
nrel-saltonseapotentialandcosts

The chart above is presented in the new NREL report “The Potential for Renewable Energy Development to Benefit Restoration of the Salton Sea: Analysis of Technical and Market Potential” and shows resource potential and costs for various technologies located at or around the Salton Sea, an area of interest for geothermal development (see more inside this post).

Click below for leading GEA and general geothermal industry news.

Votes Expected This Week on Tax Extenders and Omnibus Funding
Legislation affecting U.S. renewable energy projects saw action in Congress this week. The House leadership filed both the tax extenders bill and omnibus appropriations bill on December 15. For extenders, the PATH Act (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes) vote is expected on Thursday. For omnibus funding, Amendment #1 to the Consolidated Appropriations Act vote is expected Friday.

The PATH Act proposes a two-year extension of the PTC- one forward one back. Projects that commence construction before Jan 1, 2017 qualify. Geothermal is included in that, and retains the option to claim a 30% investment tax credit instead of PTC. Visit the House Web site (PDF) for the full language.

For omnibus funding, Amendment #1 to the Consolidated Appropriations Act vote is expected Friday and would provide DOE’s geothermal program $71 million, with $35 marked for Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE). The House Web site provides the full omnibus language (PDF).

An article on Chadbourne.com says, “The measures were split because House Democrats oppose the tax extenders bill and House Republicans are not expected to vote in large numbers for the spending bill. The hope is by separating them, both can clear the House. They are not expected to have trouble in the Senate.”

GEA Files Comments on Clean Energy Incentive Program
On Monday December 14, GEA filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency urging inclusion of geothermal energy as the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) is implemented. GEA states:

We appreciate that the EPA has indicated it would welcome “additional public and stakeholder engagement” and “input from these groups” related to the design and implementation of the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). GEA following the instructions for public input included in the document “Clean Energy Incentive Program Next Steps,” dated October 21, 2015, provided comments during the public comment period of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC) at its November 18, 2015 meeting.

We continue to urge EPA to include geothermal power as an allowed technology for the CEIP. Nearly all of the geothermal power plants built in the US in the past decade have been near-zero emission plants, and in the states where they were built faced the same obstacles as wind and solar technologies. Going forward new projects will need the same level of incentive as wind and solar to be competitive in the marketplace.

GEA urges EPA to amend the CEIP Program to include metered MWh generated from geothermal resources. Alternatively, EPA should allow states the option to include geothermal resources if their state plan includes geothermal power in its supply options.

GEA also provided EPA with a fact sheet outlining additional justification for including geothermal in the CEIP.

NREL’s New Salton Sea Report Shows 1,800 MW Geothermal Potential
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released a new report (PDF) focusing on an area of interest to the geothermal industry located in southern California’s Imperial Valley. “The Potential for Renewable Energy Development to Benefit Restoration of the Salton Sea: Analysis of Technical and Market Potential” estimates the geothermal potential at the Salton Sea to be up to 1,800 MW, the report states.

NREL stated, “Funded through a grant from the State of California Natural Resources Agency, under Agreement No. 0540-SSA 1, the Salton Sea Authority (SSA) is preparing the Salton Sea Funding and Feasibility Action Plan to address this need. . . Of the commercially available renewable energy technologies, geothermal, solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) have the greatest technical potential for development.”

Geothermal development by 2030 is estimated at 1.05 GW to 1.81 GW of generation capacity, according to the report. Potential mineral recovery of lithium from Salton Sea geothermal brines is also considered in the report and is estimated at “54,000 to 122,000 metric tons annually by 2030, with significant uncertainty due to limited well data.”

Prior revenue potential estimates, technical reviews of renewable energy technologies, and estimates for developable production potential through 2030 are all within the scope of the 173-page report.

NREL included data from GEA in its report. “Based on data from the GEA, the current nameplate geothermal capacity in Imperial County is 715.2 MW,” according to the report. “The Salton Sea area has the majority of the nameplate (installed) capacity, with 402.2 MW in Imperial County.”

On October 9, Gov. Jerry Brown approved a bill supporting restoration of the Salton Sea, and the Natural Resources Agency is now required to submit to the Legislature a list of shovel-ready Salton Sea restoration projects on or before March 31, 2016.

DOE Announces Geothermal Design Challenge (due March 1, 2016)
Via DOE–The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office, in partnership with the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) and Idaho National Lab (INL) is recruiting students in graphic design, communications, science and/or engineering to bolster their portfolio, resume or college applications by entering the 2016 Geothermal Design Challenge. We are looking for smart and creative student teams to design an infographic that will illustrate how geothermal energy is clean, safe, reliable and sustainable.  Winners will share a prize purse of $7500 and present their infographic at a geothermal energy conference in California.  Register today to form teams and submit a draft infographic by March 1, 2016. Design the future of clean energy and register today!

Gregory Wetstone to be New ACORE President
The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) has announced Gregory Wetstone will be its next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2016. Wetstone previously oversaw government affairs as Vice President for Terra-Gen Power LLC, a Board level GEA member, and has worked closely with GEA.

In a press statement Wetstone said, “I am honored by the Board’s confidence and enthusiastic about leading ACORE at such an important time. It is increasingly clear that our energy policies will be the subject of intense national debate in coming years. I believe that ACORE, as a common voice for the large and diverse collection of businesses in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, has a critically important role to play as we look to move the nation towards a lower carbon economy. I look forward to working with ACORE’s staff, Board and member companies, and our allies across the renewable space, to address the challenges of this vital transition.”

Akiira Seeks Drilling Supervisor in Kenya (apply by January 7)
Akiira Geothermal Limited is seeking a Drilling Supervisor for its 70-MW geothermal project in Kenya. Akiira sent GEA the job ad, which states: “Akiira Geothermal Limited (AGL) is developing a 70 MWe Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya. We are looking for a seasoned Company Man/Drilling Supervisor for the production drilling period 2016 – 2017 timeframe. The Company Man will be in charge of the drilling over 10 Geothermal Wells; development of the Power Plant will continue in parallel. The candidate should have at least 10 years of experience as a drilling company man/ supervisor dealing with geothermal wells with high enthalpy.

“Reporting to the Head of Drilling you will be Akiira Geothermal Limited’s (AGL) representative at the drill site. The Company Man will be responsible for ensuring that the Wells are drilled in accordance with the approved drilling program and that all operations are completed on time and within budget. Additionally the company man is expected to oversee the work and scheduling of all third party personnel on site. The job requires extended presence at the AGL well site in Naivasha, Kenya.”

The ad lists responsibilities including duties for Drilling and Remedial Supervision: Coordinate the efforts of all service companies; On site Supervision of all critical operations; Delegation of supervision to appropriate personnel; Gather input from all appropriate service companies and Management to determine the appropriate course of action; Use available equipment to maximize performance; and Balancing all variables to maximize operational Perimeters.

Deliverables include preparing reports for Management review. For Rimbase Reports: Testing Reports; Aerated Drilling Reports; Cement Reports and Mud Reports. For safety meetings and rig Inspections – implement safety measures and regularly monitor them for irregularities; and Update management on a daily basis on progress of the drilling operation.

Qualifications and education requirements include 10+ years of applicable experience; Some college experience preferred; and Experience in coordinating multi-disciplinary activities and a proven ability to work across different departments and in an intercultural setting.

The job ad states, “The company will provide for air travel on economy class, lodging and transportation to and from site and will pay all local applicable taxes. Drilling is expected to commence Q1 2016. Qualified interested candidates should respond by sending their Cover Letter and CV’s as well as expected salary requirements in USD to include Daily rates while Rig is Operational, Standby Rate while Rig is non-operational, Travel Day Rate plus any other expected applicable costs to lena.ngure@akiiraone.com with Subject Line: AGL COMPANY MAN ROLE by 7th January 2016.”

Akiira Seeks Project Manager in Kenya (apply by January 7)
Akiira Geothermal Limited is seeking a Project Manager for its 70-MW geothermal project in Kenya. Akiira sent GEA the job ad, which states, “Akiira Geothermal Limited (AGL) is developing a 70 MWe Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya. We are looking for a seasoned Project Manager (PM) for the construction period 2016 – 2017 timeframe. The PM will be in charge of the construction of 2 time 35 MWe single flash units plant, a steam gathering system and interconnection facilities. Development of the geothermal field will continue in parallel.”

“Reporting to the Technical Director, the Power Plant PM will handle overall execution and management responsibilities related to the engineering, design, construction, commissioning and startup of 2 single flash unit plants. The Power Plant PM will manage the EPC contractors to ensure adherence to the EPC Contract, owner specifications, and regulatory requirements as well as to ensure smooth integration with other project components.

“The Power Plant PM will coordinate to resolve all design and engineering issues and will manage commercial and contractual issues, have overall responsibility for the Budget, Schedule, Quality Assurance/Quality Control, Safety and reporting as related to the Power Plant.
The Power Plant manager will maintain project schedule, costs forecasts and provide field project engineering coordination with construction contractors. In addition the Power Plant PM will work with company management to successfully coordinate and integrate the overall project scope, including cost reporting, budget management, schedule, quality and safety.”

The job ad lists responsibilities, including: Overall responsibility for the cost, schedule, safety, quality, risk management, engineering, construction and startup of Power Plant; Manage other engineers and construction manager to ensure EPC contractors adherence to standards, permits, performance, quality and safety expectations; Management and coordination of design and operational reviews and approvals from key internal AGL stakeholders; Develop technical standards, specifications, drawings and documents; Manage day to day commercial and contractual issues; Work with AGL management to implement internal project control tools; Report to AGL management on Power Plant progress, costs, schedule, safety, quality etc; Participate in the selection and negotiation of other engineering and construction contractors; Identify, communicate and manage risk; Responsible for project quality assurance/quality control; and Coordinate multiple contractors at various stages of the project.

Also listed are qualifications and education requirements, including: Engineering Degree or equivalent is preferred; candidates with a proven track record will be considered; 10+ years of applicable experience for degree holders or 15+ years for non-degree holders experience in power projects, including project management and execution, engineering and design, construction, commissioning and start up; Experience managing and implementing EPC contracts; Experience in coordinating multi-disciplinary activities and a proven ability to work across different departments and in an intercultural setting; and Experience with interconnection process would be an advantage.

The ad also states, “The company will provide for air travel on economy class, lodging and transportation to and from site and will pay all local applicable taxes. The role is expected to commence in 2016. Qualified interested candidates should respond by sending their Cover Letter and CV’s as well as expected monthly salary requirements in USD plus all expected applicable costs to lena.ngure@akiiraone.com with Subject Line: AGL POWER PLANT PM ROLE by 7th January 2016.”

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