Geothermal in Kenya, Uganda, Canada, Costa Rica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and the UK

This post brings you geothermal headlines from Kenya, Uganda, Canada, Costa Rica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and the UK.
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Africa and the Middle East


Kenya – Ormat Unveils Commercial Operation of Fourth Plant in Olkaria III


GEA member Ormat announced recently that Plant 4 of their Olkaria III project in Kenya is now online, amping up total complex generating capacity to 139 MW, a 29 MW-increase. Plant 4 will vend its electricity to Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited (KPLC) under the oversight of a 20-year PPA. Last year, Ormat officialized an amendment to the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with KPLC that allows the increase of the capacity of Plant 4 expansions to a composite 100 MW, in phases.


“With the commissioning of plant 4, the 140 MW Olkaria III complex will provide clean and reliable electricity to over 250,000 households in Kenya, supporting the Government of Kenya’s 2030 vision to increase generation capacity,” stated Isaac Angel, company CEO. “We are proud to be part of Kenya’s efforts, and view this facility as a key component of our geographic expansion strategy. Now that we have the commercial terms in place, we will continue to evaluate the feasibility of future expansions of the Olkaria III complex as well as other prospects to support our growth in Kenya.”


Uganda – Buranga Geothermal Prospect Contains Approximately 100 MW


Like other countries in Africa, Uganda is studying its geothermal potential. In Uganda Invest’s project introduction, the group provided information about the Buranga geothermal prospect. The potential project requires an investment of $42 million and has undergone pre-feasibility studies. The preliminary studies revealed subsurface temperatures of approximately 150 – 200 degrees Celsius, suitable for electricity production or direct use in industry and agriculture.

GIDS Consult Limited is, at the moment, exploring and evaluating geothermal energy with a goal of developing at minimum 100 MW Geothermal Power Plant at the Buranga prospect. The company intends to drill 3 deep exploration/production wells at the prospect and construct 30 MW well-head geothermal power plant units per each successful well




Canada – Country’s First Geothermal Power Plant Being Developed in Saskwatchen


The construction of Canada’s first geothermal power plant is underway. The initial pilot plant will total just 5 MW of capacity, but there is considerable future potential for the newly-harnessed geothermal resource to be tapped to provide hundreds of MW of generation capacity, according to reports.


Preparations for the pilot plant’s initial phases started at the leased site in 2015. The company supporting the project – Deep Earth Energy Corporation – is securing funding for development still to date. The company’s CEO Kirsten Marcia recently state that, with $4 million previously spent on feasibility studies, that an additional $5 million have to be raised from investors “before she can receive approval for the loans that will finance construction of the plant itself.”


The proposed facility will harness a 40,000 square kilometer aquifer with a temperature of approximately 120° Celsius that was initially discovered by US oil company Amerada Petroleum in the 1950s. The aquifer in question is quite sizable, bigger than Vancouver Island, indicating it has large energy generation potential.


Costa Rica – Country Signs $500 Million Financing Agreement for Projects Including Geothermal


The Latin American country recently signed a $500 million financing agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank to support renewable energy projects including their transmission and distribution systems. Costa Rica’s Ministry of Finance along with state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) officially stated that the deal includes two loan agreements, each with 25-year terms and variable interest rates, which are currently set at 1.52%.


The first $200 million loan will be issued for the completion of two geothermal projects: Pailas II and Borinquen I, each located in Liberia. The complexes, once online, are projected to produce 55MW each.


The leftover $300 million will be invested in the Borinquen II geothermal project, also located in Liberia, which will provide an additional 55 megawatts. Other projects include updating the Arenal hydroelectric plant and improvements performed upon the transmission and distribution networks of the national electric grid.


The agreement is still waiting to be ratified by Costa Rica’s Legislature.


St. Vincent and the Grenadines – Abu Dhabi Fund for Development Supports Caribbean Geothermal


St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves recently signed a $15 million loan agreement with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) to construct a geothermal power station in Gonsalves’ nation. The geothermal endeavor is currently receiving funding as part of the $350 million ADFD/IRENA project facility, established in 2012, to provide concessional financing for renewable energy projects in developing countries affiliated with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).


“The proposed geothermal power plant will give a strong boost to the energy sector in our country, supporting its economic growth and development programs,” Gonsalves stated. “ADFD plays an active role in financing development projects that translate into significant economic and social impact in beneficiary countries. My government is keen to leverage our collaboration with the Fund to push ahead with more development projects that deliver key sustainable development goals and benefit the overall economy.”


SDFD director general Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi said “ADFD has paid particular attention to the renewable energy sector given the essential role of the sustainable energy in meeting the growing needs of developing countries, and supporting their social and economic development.”


Suwaidi stated that evidence suggests that despite the limitless potential of renewable energy in becoming a key enabler of sustainable development in emerging nations, challenges and gaps remain in the ease of accessing global funds to support these projects so “we are delighted to be able to support this project by providing essential finance… The renewable energy projects financed by the Fund since 1974 to date have contributed to delivering clean energy for millions of people in more than 24 developing countries across the globe. These projects have generated thousands of megawatts of renewable energy, and stimulated economic growth in the beneficiary countries.”


Asia and the Pacific


India – Country Investing $200 Million in Geothermal in Kenya


The government of India intends to invest $200 million in geothermal power generation in the counties of Nakuru and Baringo via the Line Credit Initiative, an Indian government development assistance program. Suchitra Durai, the India High Commissioner to Kenya, explained that through this initiative, the Indian government is funding several projects in Africa like Kenya.


Durai elaborated: “GDC has geothermal projects in Suswa (Nakuru) and Baringo (Silali-Bogoria), we are planning to invest in this and we are at the moment in discussions with GDC.  Studies have been done by Indian companies and these have been examined by our Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. There were some clarifications that we wanted and that is why I have come to see the projects in Menengai and Olkaria geothermal complexes.


Duria stated they have been in correspondence with GDC for over a year and now that Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, has announced a line of credit for projects in Africa, the government would like to advance and benefit Kenya with investment in projects.


Indonesia – New Geothermal Plant in West Java Under Construction


In 2015, Alstom was granted a contract for a 30 MW geothermal plant to be constructed in West Java for Pertamina Geothermal. Pertamina issued Alstom the EPC contract to supply and build the 30 MW Karaha geothermal power plant. The contract contains the construction of a turnkey geothermal power plant. Alstom’s project is progressing and construction has begun. The plant will come online towards the end of 2016. Alstom is collaborating with the New Zealand-based Hawkins construction firm.


Myanmar – Country Turns to Renewables Mix to Fuel Future


The Japan Investment Cooperation Agency, which played a large part in creating Myanmar’s energy plans, predicts the country’s electricity demand may hit 14,542 MW in 2030. Enter renewables. Besides coal, renewables are being incorporated as Myanmar’s fuel of the future.


Deputy director for the country’s hydro and renewable planning Tint Lwin Oo stated that foreign investors could do business in Myanmar’s energy sector via either joint ventures or as BOT (build, operate and transfer) schemes. Oo elaborated that the government had signed a memorandum of understanding with different firms in order to initiate several renewable projects including a 200MW geothermal plant, which could theoretically supply much-needed electricity in the eastern region of Myanmar.


According to the most recent analysis, there are at minimum 39 locations currently marked by the Myanmar Engineering Society that possess the capacity of geothermal power production. Several of these reservoirs are located close to Yangon, which constitutes a significantly underutilized resource. Preliminary investigations were previously completed at 43 locations in 1986 by Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).




UK – Stoke-on-Trent Explores Geothermal Heating Options


Stoke-on-Trent is looking to geothermal to power itself sustainably. The City Council intends to commission a geothermal plant in the Etruria Valley to provide power to its $75 million district heating network. Specialized trucks are being sent out to scout for geothermal sources. Over the coming week specialist contractors will perform a geological survey to map the rocks beneath the local valley. These high-tech trucks will employ a system similar to sonar to probe for hot underground water, which could be pumped to the service and used in the heating of homes and businesses.


Sebastien Danneels, the council’s district heat network technical lead, stated: “The research we have done shows that you can find water at 100 degrees if you go 3km down. The evidence suggests that Stoke-on-Trent has the best potential for geothermal heat in the country. But this is based on surveys done in the 1980s, so we need to carry out a new survey. This survey cannot find water itself, but it can find porous rocks, which is a good indicator for water.”


Terry Follows, a cabinet member for greener city at the Stoke-on-Trent city council, believe geothermal energy would become a serious draw for business: “We are perfectly positioned to benefit from the natural power of hot water reservoirs down beneath the city. There are already more than 250 similar geothermal heat plants in Europe, including 37 around Paris. So it’s well tried and tested.”


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