Geothermal in Kenya, the USA, Philippines, France, Iceland, Turkey, and the UK

This post brings you geothermal headlines from Kenya, the USA, Philippines, France, Iceland, Turkey, and the UK.

Casaroro Falls Negros

Casaroro Falls at Negros Island, Philippines, the site of EDC reforestation efforts.

Photo credit: Go Philippines Travel


Kenya – Country Doubles Electricity Exports Thanks to Geothermal

Kenya has nearly doubled its electricity exports to Tanzania and Uganda due to its expanded geothermal capacity. Official statistics demonstrate that geothermal-rich country exported 46.6 million kW to its neighboring countries in 2015, contrasted with 26.9 million kW in 2014.

Kenya’s grid grew with the addition of 280 MW of geothermal power in the second half of 2014. Currently, the country is harnessing plentiful geothermal resources in the African Rift Valley to actualize its goal of bringing online 5,000 MW to the grid by 2017. At present, the country’s installed generation capacity totals 2,298 MW, with geothermal providing nearly half of the national energy mix.

Kenya aims to raise the number of customers from 2.8 million to 8 million over the course of five years and achieve an access-to-electricity level of 70% from the present 32%.

GEA member Ormat last week announced it had expanded the capacity of its Olkaria geothermal plants in Kenya to 139 MW. А 29 MW facility, the fourth plant at the Olkaria III complex, recently went online. The output of these total 139 MW will be enough to power 250,000 local households each year, Ormat said.



USA – Ormat Seeks to Construct Infrastructure for 24 MW Tungsten Geothermal Project

GEA member Ormat is pursuing approval for a transmission line to aid the company’s 24 MW Tungsten Mountain geothermal power project located Nevada. Ormat’s ORNI 43 unit recently filed a notice with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada stating it intends to submit an application with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The application pursues approval for the construction of a 230-kV transmission line and related facilities which include a 20 MW net geothermal energy generation facility, a well field and other related improvements for Ormat’s Tungsten project.

Ormat’s Tungsten geothermal project includes the creation and maintenance of the transmission line which will be located mainly on federal land administered by the BLM alongside a small portion of privately-owned land.


Asia and the Pacific

Philippines – Reforestry Program Headed by EDC on Negros Island

A geothermal energy company has laid out plans to reforest 10 million trees in Negros Island over the course of 10 years. Energy Development Corp.’s (EDC) “10M in 10” campaign’s goal is to provide forest covers in Negros. Professors Marlo Mendoza, executive director for “10M in 10,” along with Rex Cruz, former University of the Philippines Los Baños chancellor, will unveil the road map and relevant strategies to ensure successful reforestation.

Launched in October 2015, the program includes not only sapling-planting, maintenance and arboreal management. It will be performed in partnership with the provincial governments of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, relevant agencies, academia, and the media.

EDC stated that Negros’ forest cover was at a critical 4% when EDC first visited the island in the ’80s, encouraging the company to undertake a “massive environment program.” By 2008, EDC claimed, 2,300 hectares spanning various portions of Negros had been reforested. During the past five years, an additional 2,700 hectares in Negros Island have been reforested with over two million seedlings planted, EDC said. The program allowed 96 vanishing native tree species to rebound, according to EDC.

“Even as we aspire to grow our renewable energy business here and abroad, we remain committed to providing a better life, a greener Negros to present and future generations,” said Norreen Bautista, EDC’s Community Partnerships, External Relations and Watershed Management head for Negros Island.



France – 707 Square Kilometer Geothermal Permit Issued in France to Joint Venture

Following a new decree made official by the Ministries of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy and the Economy, Industry and Digital of France, a new research permit has been issued to a joint venture by the companies Electerre de France SAS and Fonroche Géothermie SAS.

The official decree makes available an exclusive license for the geothermal deposits at high temperature in Riom Clermont-Metropolis (Puy-de-Dome) to Electerre and Fonroche. The geothermal resources are located in Auvergne near Clearmont-Ferrand. The permit area is 707 square kilometers and is available for research for five years, hinting at new opportunities for geothermal development in France. Fonroche is a standout in the French deep geothermal sector with over 10 projects under development composing a planned investment of $446 million until 2025.

Iceland – New Drilling Contract in Geothermal-Rich Nation

Iceland Drilling (Jarðboranir) and Iceland’s National Power Company (Landsvirkjun) recently drew up a new drilling contract for a maximum 10 wells in the northeast quarter of the country. The wells will be completed in accordance with the 2nd phase of the Theistareykir geothermal power project, which is projected to come online mid-2018.

At the location of the Theistareykir geothermal power plant, where construction is underway, approximately 50 MW of steam have been secured with drilled wells. This is adequate for the initial phase of development. It is predicted that the forthcoming wells will produce a similar capacity of a maximum 50 MW. This constitutes the most comprehensive drilling contract that Landsvirkjun has signed in several years.

“It is gratifying having reached an agreement with such a strong player like Iceland Drilling, for the supply of steam to the Theistareykir project. The agreement is an important factor in the development of the plant, which is extensive and has been progressing well so far,” stated Landsvirkjun CEO Hördur Arnarson.

Iceland Drilling’s new CEO Sigurdur Sigurdsson commented “This is an extremely satisfactory result for IDC as this has been one of the largest auction for geothermal drilling services in Iceland in later years. In an industry that sees considerable fluctuations, it is important for a company like ours to land such a long-term project. This project is very important for the company and ensures continuous operation in Iceland, in addition to our foreign operations. Iceland Drilling and Landsvirkjun have had a successful partnership for over 50 years and this project is a particularly pleasant continuation thereof.”

For Landsvirkjun, development for the 90 MW Theistareykir geothermal project is currently underway, with work on pertinent infrastructure having commenced the previous summer. They expect the construction of the facilities to finish at the year’s end, when contractors will prep and install electrical equipment and machinery. It is their goal to commence testing of all equipment in June 2017 with the initial phase of the plant beginning operation in October 2017.


Turkey – Two Geothermal Projects Awarded for Achievements

In a recent ceremony in Istanbul, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and partners awarded the best energy efficiency and renewable energy projects financed in Turkey through the Mid-size Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (MidSEFF). The EBRD-led program, with suppor from the European Investment Bank and the European Union (EU), delivers funds to Turkish banks like loans and capital market instruments for on-lending to private sector companies in order to invest in energy efficiency. Responding to a high demand, the EBRD is stimulating program growth with an additional $557 million.

The awards ceremony recognized 11 companies for promoting energy efficiency and energy generation from renewable sources, among the recipients were geothermal power plants Pamukoren and Gumuskoy. Investing in sustainable energy is a front stage interest for the EBRD in Turkey, as Turkey is attempting to meet growing demand for electricity and wants to reach independence from expensive imported fuel. Nearly half of the Bank’s total portfolio in Turkey is in green energy and, since 2009, the EBRD has invested roughly $3.5 billion in over 70 such projects, including the largest geothermal power plant in Turkey (and second largest in Europe), Efeler.


UK – Deep Geothermal Funding for Cornwall

Recently in the UK, a total funding of $18.8 million was announced and is now open for bidding by geothermal projects in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in the UK. The funding opportunity is provided through a European-supported Cornwall and Isle of Scilly Growth Program which will operate until 2020.

Deep geothermal was identified as a priority investment by the group and a maximum GBP 10.6m of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) from the Growth Program has been designated for projects. In support, the Cornwall Council is contributing up to GBP 2.4m of local match funding as the locale’s deep geothermal resource are an innovative economic opportunity with social and environmental benefits. Creating investment to allow the industry to harness the rich resource is capable of helping Cornwall meet a high amount of strategic priorities outlined in the Council’s strategy and business plan.

The untapped geothermal resource in Cornwall constitutes an important opportunity for renewable heat and power generation. During the 1970s and 80s the famous ‘Hot Dry Rocks Project’ at Rosemanowes Quarry in Penryn, headed by the Camborne School of Mines, confirmed the high temperatures located deep below the surface in Cornwall’s granite. A recent study suggests this geothermal resource could possibly meet the totality of Cornwall’s electrical demands and even 20% of the UK’s demand. If successful, Cornwall could be a leader in harnessing this new energy sector.

Councilor Julian German, a member of the Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) Board which is oversees operations of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Programme, stated “I am very excited by the call to support deep geothermal projects. If accessed and exploited appropriately, this estimated level of resource could provide Cornwall with significant economic and social benefits. The role of the ITI Board is to ensure the most appropriate responses to the deep geothermal call receive our recommendation to the Managing Authority.”


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