Breakthrough Geothermal Technologies, New Partnerships, and International Developments and Showcase

EIA Renewable Projections
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s predictions for growth in the renewable energy sector.  Note geothermal’s ranking in light blue.

In this post:
*Notice: GEA is Collecting Information for 2016 Annual US & International Geothermal Power Production and Development Report
*Gathering High Level Representatives to Network, Collaborate, and Discuss the Building Blocks for Successful Geothermal Energy Projects
*Advances in Mineral Extraction Technologies
*New Utility Company Dedicated to Renewable Energy Under Consideration in Indonesia
*Japanese Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) Partner with Icelandic Energy Company on Geothermal Financing
*Department of Energy Sponsors Frontier Observatory for Geothermal Energy (FORGE) Project in Idaho
*European Union IMAGE Project Refines Geothermal Reservoir Imaging Techniques
*Salton Sea Restoration Funds Promised in CA. Governor’s New Budget Plan
*Announcement: Student Geothermal Design Challenge
*Upcoming Clean Power Plan Hearings

Click below for the leading headlines for GEA and the geothermal industry.

Notice: GEA is Collecting Information for 2016 Annual US & International Geothermal Power Production and Development Report

GEA is gathering information for its 2016 Annual US & International Geothermal Power Production and Development Report. If you are developing geothermal projects in the US or internationally, and you would like to submit information on that project for inclusion in the 2016 report, please contact Benjamin Matek at ben@geo-energy.org or at 1.202.454.5291 no later than February 1st, or fill out this survey on-line: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YRXTWXX

Gathering High Level Representatives to Network, Collaborate, and Discuss the Building Blocks for Successful Geothermal Energy Projects

Just this week, representatives from Burundi, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and Mexico have signed up to join what is to be a premier geothermal energy gathering of 2016, the GEA International Geothermal Showcase.

The Geothermal Energy Association’s (GEA) 2016 U.S. & International Geothermal Showcase will take you around the world to see what leading geothermal countries & countries that harbor geothermal potential are doing to help mobilize and build successful geothermal projects.

From financing opportunities available to help mobilize geothermal projects, an overview of the current status of geothermal in the U.S. and abroad, and highlights in regional developments (in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Mexico), to the future of the geothermal industry and the new technology driving innovation and geothermal development around the world, the 2016 Showcase delves into the various components necessary to nurture global geothermal energy growth.

Join us at this year’s event to network, collaborate, and discuss the hottest topics in geothermal with high level representatives from the U.S. and around the globe.

Click here for updated list of speakers: http://geo-energy.org/2016_International_Geothermal_Showcase.aspx

Click here to take advantage of early bird discount: https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=1872&EID=21349

Advances in Mineral Extraction Technologies

Imperial Valley Press recently published an article on the possibility of mineral extraction technologies in regards to the geothermal industry. In the past, mineral extraction from geothermal brine promised to give the geothermal industry a boost in competitiveness. Though long talked about as a possibility, recent developments in mineral extraction technologies make the process more feasible for commercial use. Already tested at the pilot scale in successful projects according to the Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office Timothy Reinhardt, the next step in mineral extraction is making the practice widespread on the commercial level.

Lithium is the key mineral that could make mineral extraction economically successful. Used in a variety of batteries from smartphones to electric cars, lithium demand is projected to rise steeply in coming years as more electric cars are manufactured and more energy storage facilities are required as demand for renewable energy increases upon utilities. According to Reinhardt, the production of lithium from brine could diversify the power grid, empower small non-profitable plants, and boost geothermal power plants’ revenue streams while driving down operation and maintenance costs.

As GEA member Energy Source’s Vice President of Power Development Derek Benson states, the extraction process would create jobs, adding an additional tax base while increasing geothermal power development in lithium-rich areas and giving the industry a competitive boost. Benson’s company is currently looking into extraction technologies, with pilot technologies that will have to pass a financing test. With a myriad of pilot scale technologies in testing, Energy Source will have a rich pool to choose from.

In Reinhardt’s words, the key to a successful mineral extraction technology is that it is not invasive. Instead, it must be a passive system that does not affect the pressure or flow of the stream while keeping operation and maintenance costs low. Reinhardt emphasizes that there are no critical problems with extraction, but that the mechanism must be highly selective and the systems must be 99% effective. Though it is too early to predict the amount of minerals that can be extracted or the revenue they will produce, as that depends on successfully implemented technologies and market demands, Reinhardt says that the future of mineral extraction looks promising.

Link: http://www.ivpressonline.com/news/local/mineral-extraction-the-next-frontier-for-geothermal-industry/article_9768a774-ac5f-11e5-9b40-03ba822ac28c.html (subscription required)

New Utility Company Dedicated to Renewable Energy Under Consideration in Indonesia

After the recent disagreement over geothermal steam pricing between Pertamina Geothermal Energy and a state-owned power firm due to high costs, Indonesia is considering creating a new utility company, PLN Renewable Energy, dedicated to purchasing renewable energy like geothermal. Indonesian President Joko Widodo intends to triple his country’s geothermal output in coming decades. However, the country is failing to attract investment in renewable energy based in part on Indonesia’s dependence on coal-fire power.

On Jan. 7, the Energy Ministry’s Director General of Renewable Energy, Rida Mulyana, told the media that the Indonesian government supports the creation of PLN Renewable Energy, a state-owned company. Though Pertamina and the state electricity firm reached an agreement on Jan. 8, Mulyana said that the power firm considers renewable energy “financially burdensome” in comments to the press, meaning a utility company like PLN Renewable Energy may help avoid pricing conflicts altogether.

This government proposition is in accord with President Widodo’s regulatory and land reforms intended to make Indonesia the world’s largest geothermal energy producer, fully harnessing Indonesia’s wealth of geothermal potential. Despite Widodo’s goals, investment in the Indonesian renewable energy sector has lagged, and Indonesia continues to be the world’s fifth leading greenhouse gas emitter, with plans to create 35 GW of new power stations fueled primarily by coal.

Links: http://www.trust.org/item/20160108122601-10oze/?source=dpagehead
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/01/08/pln-pertamina-resolve-kamojang-price-dispute.html

Japanese Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) Partner with Icelandic Energy Company on Geothermal Financing

Japan has played a significant role in manufacturing geothermal turbines, with a 70% global market share. Last month, an ECA-backed deal was agreed upon that gives Iceland access to Japanese market knowledge. Iceland’s state-owned energy company Landsvirkjun (LV) obtained a co-financing from a commercial bank group working with Japan’s ECAs, the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), requesting two Fuji Electric 45 MW geothermal turbines for Iceland’s Theistareykir Geothermal Power Plant.

The $64 million deal is a first for Iceland, premiering Iceland’s first Japanese ECA financing and the initial renewable energy project with a High Income OECD country. In addition, the transaction is LV’s first ECA financing sans government guarantee and initiates the company’s first geothermal renewable energy project

In the landmark deal, JBIC provided a buyer’s credit facility measuring $34 million. Three commercial banks – Citibank, Bank Yokohama, and Commerzbank – co-financed a maximum of $34 million at a floating interest rate, and NEXI granted a 100% guarantee. LV intends to use the funds to buy a steam turbine and generator from Fuji Electric and its German consortium partner Balcke-Durr.

In LV’s view, the move is an investment in Iceland’s future, as the company is trying to diversify their renewable energy portfolio. This step forward for LV highlights that renewables companies are evolving into increasingly bankable concepts, regardless of the support of an ECA or development bank investment.

Link: http://www.txfnews.com/News/Article/5404/Japanese-ECAs-break-the-Ice-with-geothermal-financing#

Department of Energy Sponsors Frontier Observatory for Geothermal Energy (FORGE) Project in Idaho

The Department of Energy’s FORGE program is dedicated to testing and enriching enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), an advanced form of technology that combines surface-injected fluid that enhances permeable pathways underground and harnesses abundant heat sources to produce energy. The FORGE project is sponsoring the development of an EGS at the Idaho National Laboratory, which they believe is an ideal location due to the constant heat source provided by the Yellowstone hotspot.

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) recently released a video featuring members of the FORGE project discussing the benefits of Idaho National Laboratory developing an EGS, which can be viewed on the GRC site.

The Idaho National Laboratory site is one of 5 selected for further study by DOE for its EGS technology efforts. The other sites are located in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah.

Links:
FORGE Project: http://energy.gov/eere/forge/forge-home
GRC video: http://geothermalresourcescouncil.blogspot.com/2016/01/usa-idaho-idl-shows-off-their-frontier.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GlobalGeothermalNews+%28Global+Geothermal+News%29

(Correction: In the Jan. 14 GEA newsletter, the featured video highlighting the Idaho National Laboratory’s FORGE candidate site was mistakenly attributed to the Geothermal Resources Council, when it was developed by the Idaho National Laboratory.)

European Union IMAGE Project Refines Geothermal Reservoir Imaging Techniques

Funded by the European Union, the Integrated Methods for Advanced Geothermal Exploration (IMAGE) project is refining geothermal exploration, answering the question of where to drill. Developing a new methodology, the IMAGE project helps to increase the chance that a geothermal reservoir will be discovered during the drilling process, which can then be used in electricity generation. The new methods ‘image’ geothermal reservoirs with high accuracy, allowing pinpointed drilling.

The IMAGE partners used advanced methodologies to complete geophysical explorations at different sites in Europe. Using a series of surveys, the partners discovered an abundance of data surrounding the spatial distribution of important parameters of subsurface rock formations. The team also performed laboratory experiments to study rock physical properties at supercritical conditions as encountered below the Earth’s surface. The results of these experiments add to the scientific community’s understanding of the existing geochemical databases currently used by numerical models.

IMAGE is helping to develop the process behind the prediction of reservoir factors such as fracture permeability, temperature, and in situ stresses. Once the data is fully analyzed and incorporated, it will be used to enhance current geothermal exploration techniques. The IMAGE project is composed of eleven leaders in the geothermal research institute field alongside eight industry partners spanning various European countries. Their unifying goal is the advancement of a reliable, scientific exploration method in the search for geothermal reservoirs.

Link: http://cordis.europa.eu/result/rcn/170356_en.html

Salton Sea Restoration Funds Promised in CA. Governor’s New Budget Plan

After last week’s campaign on behalf of Salton Sea restoration by stakeholders like the Imperial Irrigation District in Sacramento, CA., Gov. Brown proposed an increase of $80 million in Proposition 1 funds for Salton Sea Restoration, directing funds to the Department of Water Resources to design projects that benefit the Salton Sea. This covers possible funding for geothermal projects on the Salton Sea, which enhance habitat and provide funds for restoration, while helping California meet its 50% clean energy mandate.

Link: http://geothermalresourcescouncil.blogspot.com/2016/01/usa-california-gov-brown-proposes.html

Announcement: Student Geothermal Design Challenge

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. They 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! https://caesenergy.org/geothermaldesign/

Upcoming Clean Power Plan Hearings

Arizona:
Next Meeting – Wednesday, February 10, 2016 9:30-11:30 a.m.
https://www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/stakeholder.html

California:
“ARB staff currently view the Cap-and-Trade Regulation as the central “state measure” for CPP compliance purposes.”
http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/powerplants/meetings/2015whitepaper.pdf
Info on public workshops: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/meetings/meetings.htm

Colorado:
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/CleanPowerPlan

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