This post brings you geothermal headlines from Tanzania, Ecuador, USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Belgium.
Geothermal dig in Antwerp proves successful.
Photo credit: Flanders Today
Africa and the Middle East
Tanzania – Geothermal Development Company To Begin Power Plant Construction By June 2016
Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, the Tanzanian Minister of Energy and Minerals, recently committed the Tanzania Geothermal Development Company (TGDC) to commence exploratory drilling in Lake Ngozi in the Mbeya region to the south of Tanzania by June, 2016 in order to create a knowledge platform for the creation of power plants for geothermal generation.
The drilling activities align with TGDC plans to build on the country’s current installed capacity of 1,754 MW by adding 100 MW by 2020, 500 MW by 2022 and 800 MW by 2025 with support from Toshiba Corporation which will head the development and provision of major equipment for geothermal power generation, the outlining of guidelines for plant operation and management alongside training of employees.
The need for geothermal energy is urgent due to the electricity shortage that Tanzania is currently undergoing. Potential geothermal resources span huge areas compared to nearby countries, explained Prof. Muhongo. For example, Lake Ngozi’s water ranges from 230 to 250 degrees Celsius, enough for electricity generation with the potential to make the lake one of the most important sources of renewable electricity in Tanzania, Prof. Muhongo said.
Three foreign companies have already demonstrated interest in investing in Tanzania’s geothermal energy potential and they alongside other potential investors that would like to invest in this area will collaborate with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) to harness the country’s geothermal resources, Prof. Muhongo added.
According to TGDC, Tanzania has a geothermal electricity generation potential of a maximum 5,000 MW due to its strategic position in the East African Rift Valley, which gives Tanzania the third largest geothermal resources in the continent following Kenya and Ethiopia with around 10,000 MW.
Still, there is much work to be done, as renewable energy does not yet play an important role in Tanzania’s energy portfolio since. The only renewable source included in the country’s 1,754 MW of installed capacity is biomass with 1.5% of the total, according to Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO).
Ecuador – JICA Invests in Country’s Chachimbiro Geothermal Project
Ecuador will soon commence a meticulous pre-feasibility study at the Chachimbiro geothermal project in April funded by a $7 million grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), stated the country’s electricity ministry. Located in the Urcuqui, Imbabura province, the field will be investigated by the Termopichincha unit of state-owned power company Corporacion Electrica del Ecuador (Celec). Chachimbiro is a piece of Ecuadorian-Japanese cooperation in renewable energy and energy efficiency, totaling approximately $20 million.
USA – Ormat Announces Record Revenues and Predicts 190 MW of New Geothermal by 2018
2015 was a highly successful year for GEA member Ormat, according to a recent press release, with increased annual revenues and exciting new geothermal developments around the world in such hot spots like Kenya.
“We executed well in 2015, delivered strong financial results and made significant progress on our long-term growth strategy positioning us well for continued success in 2016 and beyond,” stated Ormat CEO Isaac Angel.
“Our methodical efforts to improve operational efficiency, expand profit margins, and diversify revenue are progressing well and driving record financial results. During 2015, our product segment grew significantly, balancing headwinds in our electricity segment mainly related to lower oil and natural gas prices. We entered 2016 with strong momentum and we believe we are well positioned for continued success and expect to achieve profitable growth as well as expand opportunities around the world for both our operating segments, including as a result of our collaboration with Toshiba.”
“We have a plan to add 160 to 190 megawatts by the end of 2018 by bringing new plants online, expanding existing plants as well as adding capacity from the recent acquisition,” Angel elaborated. “As part of this expansion plan, we recently began development efforts in two sites in Nevada. These two projects, Tungsten Mountain and Dixie Meadows, are each expected to generate 25 to 35 MW once they come online in 2017 or 2018. We have drilled several exploration wells at both sites, and while drilling activity is ongoing, we are making progress towards securing PPAs. We believe that these projects may qualify for production tax credits.”
“In 2015, we took action to increase shareholder value by completing the Northleaf and restructuring transactions,” Angel said. “We continue to enhance all aspects of Ormat’s value chain to improve our performance as well as to progress with near and long-term initiatives in our core geothermal business and in new activities to provide long-term sustainable growth. I am encouraged by our progress in the last year, and as we progress in each of our key initiatives, we are setting our intermediate and long-term strategies.”
To see the press release in full, follow the link below:
Asia and the Pacific
Malaysia -Tawau Green Energy Begins Geothermal Well Drilling for New Plant
Malaysia-based Tawau Green Energy recently announced that the company has begun geothermal well drilling at the Apas Kiri Geothermal Field in Tawau, Sabah. Tawau Green Energy joined a contract with Strada Energy International covering the drilling of exploration, production and re- injection wells. The company has received all required approvals to commence their project, among which includes the supply of 30MW to Sabah Electricity Sdn. Bhd. (SESB) under a 21-year Power Purchase Agreement based on a feed-in tariff.
Beyond the geothermal wells, the project also entails the construction of access roads, steam above-ground systems, a power plant employing binary ORC technology, transmission lines, a substations system and other necessary infrastructure. The power plant is predicted to begin commercial operation in 2018, when it will export directly into the SESB Sabah State Grid.
Indonesia – New Geothermal Regulations Reduce Risk and Attract Investors
Recently Yunus Saifulhaq, Director for Geothermal Energy of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry in Indonesia, outlined a new ministerial regulation whose goal is to attract investment into geothermal development in Indonesia while reducing exploration risk.
According to the new legislation, the government will spearhead exploratory activities to confirm geothermal reserves. If geothermal potential is found, the working area will then most likely be offered to investors.
Following the aptly-titled Geothermal Law No. 21, 2015, the Indonesian government is preparing this new regulation, with a focus on these cornerstone elements:
Government will assign a state-owned company to obtain working area without tender.
Exploration work commitment tender with a set feed-in-tariff, and
Limited auction, in which government offers freedom to investors or developers to choose location for preliminary survey and exploration. Under this option the company would be given a security of being remaining in control of the working area for future development.
Philippines – Planned Transmission Line Will Bring Geothermal Power to New Areas
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) intends to construct a transmission facility in Eastern Visayas this year that it believes will be “crucial” to the recovery of the Philippines province from frequent typhoons. The project requires the creation of an overhead transmission line stretching nearly 80 kms of the Ormoc-Babatngon 138 KV line located in Leyte, according to the grid operator said. In addition, it covers the installation of upgraded equipment at the Babatngon and Ormoc substations.
“For the often typhoon-stricken Samar, a steady supply of electricity is important to ensure the island’s continuous growth and recovery from disasters,” NGCP explained in a recent statement. “This is what we are trying to address by constructing the Ormoc-Babatngon 138 kV line. In addition, this project will also cater to the increasing demand for electricity in Tacloban after Typhoon Yolanda.”
The transmission line will function as a corridor that will direct the power supply from geothermal plants in Leyte to Samar Island. In addition, it will increase the reliability of power transmission to Samar, which currently possesses no internally generated power and remains dependent on the supply from Leyte. Leyte II Electric Cooperative, which distributes power to Tacloban, will be the main beneficiary of the project
Belgium – Geothermal Energy Possible Energy Source, Antwerp Dig Concludes
As Flanders Today recently reported, exploratory drilling for a geothermal energy performed by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (Vito) has produced results high above what was predicted.
During the past several months, drilling at the Balmatt site in Mol entered a subsurface layer 3,610 meters belowground that harbors hot water. Experts were assigned to study the water’s temperature and flow rate to determine the potential for geothermal energy extraction.
The water contains a temperature of 138 degrees Celsius, which is 20 degrees over the minimum level needed to convert geothermal heat to electricity. The flow rate of the water is also of higher quality than predicted.
Vito will commence drilling another well to test the operations of a geothermal power plant, with the secondary well slated for completion by the year’s end. If the next drill is successful, plans will be crafted to create four more drills. With a total of six wells, Vito can estabish a geothermal power plant that would generate 5 MW of electricity.
The wells would create enough heat for 900,000 homes spanning 45 municipalities in Antwerp and Limburg provinces alongside area industry. Vito would offer Dessel and Mol occupants the opportunity to heat their homes at a stable cost of approximately $132/month for 20 years.