International Geothermal Showcase Approaches, Geothermal Advances in New Mexico and Around the Globe, Innovative Technology

Indonesia Geothermal

National Geographic highlights geothermal’s success in Indonesia

Photo credit:
Energy Digital
(no relation to Nat Geo)

In this post:
*With Registrants Rolling In, 37 Countries Will Attend March’s International Geothermal Showcase
*Major Legislative Breakthrough for Geothermal in New Mexico (Article Courtesy Cyrq Energy)
*Renewable Energy World Call for Abstracts
*Tawau Green Energy SDN. BHD. Commences New Geothermal Project in Malaysia
*Pertamina-BPPT Collaborate to Construct Geothermal Plant in Indonesia
*Novel Geothermal Power from Magma Under Investigation in New Zealand
*Tanzania and Uganda Set Sights on Geothermal
*Lithium Source and New Geothermal System Found in Nevada
*Geothermal Development Possible at Vale Butte
*Toshiba and Turkish Zorlu Energy Group Cooperate to Harness Renewables Like Geothermal
*Climate Investment Funds Details Investments in Geothermal Energy
*Press Release: Association Groups Bring Baseload Renewable Energy Summit to Reno

With Registrants Rolling In, 37 Countries Will Attend March’s International Geothermal Showcase

Registrations have spiked for what is to be the year’s premier international geothermal showcase, with representatives from 37 countries spanning the globe convening in Washington, D.C. this March to attend GEA’s 2016 International Geothermal Showcase.

With three weeks left to register, there is still time to secure a spot at the showcase, which will feature a dynamic mix of industry professionals with worldwide geothermal expertise. Senator Dean Heller (R – Nevada) will be the keynote luncheon speaker and the event will also feature Sakari Oksanen, the International Renewable Energy Agency’s Deputy Director-General, to deliver opening keynote remarks.

With a comprehensive agenda, participants can anticipate speakers from countries who constitute the rising stars of the geothermal industry, including nations like Kenya, represented by KenGen’s CEO Albert Mugo, and Japan’s Hiroto Kamiishi, Director of the Energy and Mining Group at JICA. Countries attending run the gamut of continents from the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu to Qatar in the Middle East.

For more information including registration, confirmed speakers to date, and a tentative agenda, visit For questions regarding the 2016 Showcase or opportunities for sponsorships, please contact Rani Chatrath at To request press credentials, please contact Allie Nelson at

Major Legislative Breakthrough for Geothermal in New Mexico (Article Courtesy Cyrq Energy)

The legislative session has just ended in the state of New Mexico, and the geothermal industry has seen landmark legislation passed which represents a major victory for the state’s permitting process. The state has passed, and the Governor is expected to sign, the Geothermal Resources Development Act. This new law is expected to usher in a far superior regulatory process for geothermal projects in the state.

Both industry and regulators are frustrated with the current statutes and regulations, which were developed in the 1970s and modeled on the Oil and Gas Act. The permitting process for geothermal projects has not worked as it should, due to the outdated rules and limitations of the current law. The potential for geothermal projects is vast, with over 1500 MW of geothermal systems identified, but only one new project has gone forward, in part due to the antiquated regulations. Now all that may change.

The state’s energy department, the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, runs the regulatory process in the state and it moved forward with legislation to fix the problems. The department drafted the bill to update the regulations, make the regulations adapt to new technologies, and create a process that encourages geothermal development in the state. The sponsors of the bill, Senator Ron Griggs (R – Alamogordo) and Representative James Townsend (R – Artesia) worked closely with the administration of Governor Susana Martinez to fashion a working solution to the outmoded regulations. The attorneys at the state department worked overtime and ultimately the bills (SB 223 and HB 289 — both made it through) were passed unanimously.

The new legislation places the regulatory process in the Energy Conservation and Management Division, which according to state officials, can better regulate the geothermal industry. The legislation provides for the regulation of the exploration, development and production of geothermal resources on public and private land for projects with temperatures above 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

The next step in the process is for the state agency to write new regulations in a rule-making process, to update the current process and give the geothermal industry some stable, consistent regulations under which projects can go forward. State officials have said that the rules will be fair and responsible, allowing for both environmental protection and a streamlined permitting process. That process should begin in the next few months.

The good news is that New Mexico has sent a clear signal to the geothermal industry that it welcomes additional companies and projects in the near future. The governor’s administration sponsored the bill, and she is expected to sign it. The legislature passed the new Act unanimously, making it a legislative priority in the “short”, only 30-day session.   GEA Board Member Cyrq Energy, the only geothermal company with an operating power facility in the state with its plant near Lordsburg, NM, supported the bill and testified in support of it at legislative hearings.   GEA and GEA Board Member Ormat submitted letters of support.

In summary, industry, legislators, and the executive branch of the state have come together to welcome a new era in geothermal projects. In a time when government often cannot fashion solutions, New Mexico has managed a major victory, and that victory should open the state up for further exploration and production.

Renewable Energy World Call for Abstracts

Renewable Energy World International is now accepting abstracts for consideration for the 2016 conference program. Submit your abstracts by March 11, 2016 and take advantage of the opportunity to share your insight with the renewable energy industry.

Once again, Renewable Energy World International will take place during Power Generation Week, which includes mainstream giant, Power-Gen International, Coal-Gen, and Nuclear Power International. This shines a spotlight on renewable energy and helps to level the playing field within the power generation industry.

Use this opportunity to be considered for a speaking role and share your insight with industry colleagues. Submit an abstract today for consideration.

Significant benefits:

* Receive widespread recognition from your industry peers

* Gain valuable information and learn about new solutions from other speakers

* Profit from establishing important new contacts critical to growing your business or enhancing your profession

Attendees include power generating utilities, independent power producers, municipal utilities and cooperatives, manufacturers and suppliers, local, state and federal government representatives and policymakers, investors and financiers, engineering firms, energy advisory and planning agencies, installers and integrators, large energy users, manufacturers of renewable energy systems, consultants in renewable energy, architects and construction representatives.

Deadline to submit an abstract: March 11, 2016

Please visit to submit your abstract or register.

Tawau Green Energy SDN. BHD. Commences New Geothermal Project in Malaysia

Tawau Green Energy SDN. BHD. (TGE), developer of Malaysia’s first geothermal power project, has commenced geothermal well drilling at the Apas Kiri Geothermal Field in Tawau, Sabah. TGE has entered into a contract with Strada Energy International to undertake the drilling of exploration, production and re-injection wells.

TGE has received all requisite approvals to develop the project, including the supply of 30MW to Sabah Electricity Sdn. Bhd. (SESB) under the terms of a 21-year Power Purchase Agreement based on a feed-in tariff.

Apart from the geothermal wells, the project includes the construction of access roads, steam above ground systems, a power plant (utilizing binary ORC technology), transmission lines, substations system and other related infrastructure. The power plant is expected to come into commercial operation in 2018 and will export directly into the SESB Sabah State Grid.

Pertamina-BPPT Collaborate to Construct Geothermal Plant in Indonesia

According to a local Indonesian newspaper, PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE) made public a joint project with the Technological Study and Application Center (BPPT) covering a binary geothermal power plant with that will generate 3 MW of power. According to the agreement, PGE’s Kamojang section will provide geothermal-produced steam to a power generating plant currently under construction that will be run by BPPT, which Wawan Darmawan, the general manager of the Kamojang unit of PGE, explained to the media. Wawan stated PGE provides the steam to bolster BPPT’s research program covering the development of renewable energy.

“It would be like [what] we have done with PT Indonesia Power (the subsidiary of the national power utility PLN). The difference is we are not selling the steam . This is a study on the application of technology in the use of geothermal in a small scale power plant,” Darmawan said. Darmawan explained that the small-sized power plant under construction by BPPT is near the operational area of PGE’s Kamojang geothermal power plant. “BPPT will operate the power generating plant as the capacity is limited and [the] experiment still is in progress. There has been no talk on selling the power output.”

BPPT is slated to run a trial operation of the plant come May. The design of the plant was created by BPPT and its parts are manufactured by PT Nusantara Turbin & Propulsi (NTP), PT Barata Indonesia, and PT Pindad. In addition, the Kamojang geothermal field, which operated since 1983 under state oil and gas company Pertamina, contains one of the world’s most impressive geothermal reserves quality-wise. Geologically, the Kamojang geothermal steam is dry and has a low humidity, meaning the steam could enter the turbine directly without chemical refinement treatments.

As it now stands, PGE’s Kamojang section has two units of geothermal power-producing facilities. The total five units of geothermal power plants in Kamojang carry an overall capacity of 235 MW. PGE’s Vice President Operation and Engineering Eko Agung Bramantyo said BPPT is additionally cooperating with PGE’s Lahendong unit in North Sulawesi. The binary system of 0.5 MW is utilized in the cooperation, Eko stated.

Chairman of the Geothermal Association Abadi Purnomo is of the opinion that the cooperation between PGE and BPPT is “very positive” in promoting technological mastery. Abadi said the research agency alone could not master technology without industrial support. BPPT and PGE began cooperation in 2010 in Kamojang.


Novel Geothermal Power from Magma Under Investigation in New Zealand

New Zealanders are onto something hot – as hot as the veins of the earth. The country’s scientists are contemplating a potential source of cheaper, highly efficient energy – the piping-hot magma laying miles below the Pacific nation’s ground. The potential resource is being studied under one of amongst eighteen international research collaborations recently awarded government funding that approaches $5 million.

Currently the country powers around 13% of its electricity needs from geothermal resources. Yet Dr. Ben Kennedy, Canterbury University volcanologist, thinks it is possible a far higher amount of energy could be harnessed from tapping into hotter fluids at the margins of magma chambers, where temperatures range from 700 degrees Celsius to 1200 degrees Celsius. Utilizing this energy would entail drilling several kilometers belowground using tools that could survive “acidic and supercritical fluids” which would result in the striking of magma, stated Kennedy to the New Zealand Herald.

“This concept has long been laughed at by geologists and engineers as science fiction, or a little crazy, but technology is evolving,” Kennedy said. “At least two times recently, magma has accidently been intercepted by geothermal drilling, and this did not trigger a catastrophic eruption.” Kennedy’s university is collaborating with Victoria University and a number of international organizations like Icelandic power company Llandsvirkjun in a newly-formed consortium.

The New Zealand investigation follows Iceland’s Krafla Magma Drilling Project, in which scientists deliberately attempted to drill into a magma chamber following a borehole that accidentally hit one in 2009 and for a short while produced the world’s most powerful geothermal production well.

“New Zealand generates more suitable magma than anywhere else on the planet so it is the ideal location. And like Iceland New Zealand has a long and proud history of geothermal energy,” Kennedy said. “There are still plenty of technological hurdles, so we probably won’t be drilling into magma chambers in New Zealand for commercial energy in the next 10 years, but the Icelanders have shown it is possible, and we need energy solutions so it could be a realistic prospect for the future.”

The project received a $450,000 grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and novel technologies from the project would be shared as the nation’s power firms drilled into hotter rocks and, in the end, magma, according to Kennedy. Perhaps out there, or perhaps just the cutting-edge technological boost New Zealand’s geothermal industry needs.


Tanzania and Uganda Set Sights on Geothermal

Uganda and Tanzania are both positioned to begin electricity generation from geothermal resources in order to plug the supply deficit, following in the wake of Kenya’s geothermal development. Currently, Green Impact Development Services (GIDS) is surveying and evaluating Uganda’s geothermal potential with the goal of developing a 100 MW power plant at Buranga. Meanwhile, the Tanzania Geothermal Development Company (TGDC) is slated to begin drilling in June three wells near Lake Ngozi in the southwest region of the nation as an initial step in the process of harnessing underground geothermal steam.

Uganda’s Energy Ministry said the government is championing the use of renewables like geothermal as viable alternatives to hydropower and fossil fuel generation. Uganda’s geothermal-rich areas are located in the Western Rift Valley whereas Tanzania is positioned in the Western Rift Valley and Eastern Rift Valley arm of East African Rift System. The countries have not yet harnessed their geothermal potential.

GIDS stated pre-feasibility studies from the Buranga project demonstrated that subsurface water temperatures of 150 to 200 degrees Celsius are suitable for electricity production for direct use in industry and agriculture. “The company is planning to drill three deep exploration wells at the prospect and develop 30MW well-head geothermal power plant units at each successful well,” the firm said. This will require a minimum of $42 million.

Uganda’s government has demonstrated geothermal interest in the past. In 2013, Uganda granted geothermal exploration licenses to Ascot Associates Ltd, Clean Source Energy Partners Ltd, FCN Energies Ltd, Cozumel Energy (U) Ltd, GIDS, the Katwe Geothermal Power Project Ltd, Pawakom International Ltd and Moberge Finance Ltd.

To date, Uganda and Rwanda have signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenya to help expedite each respective country’s geothermal development. Rwanda and Uganda will benefit from the financial advice of the Kenya Electricity Generating Company and the Geothermal Development Company.


Lithium Source and New Geothermal System Found in Nevada

Nevada Energy Metals Inc. recently made public that the company has acquired, via staking, 100 placer claims spanning 200 acres (80.9 hectares) at Teels Marsh, Nevada. The property, named Teels Marsh West, is located near Clayton Valley and the Rockwood Lithium Mine, the country’s only producing brine-based lithium mine supporting lithium production since 1967, indicating the area is highly prospective for lithium brines.

Teels Marsh West is a highly prospective lithium exploration project situated on the western part of a large evaporation pond, commonly known as a playa. Structural analysis has shown that Teels Marsh is bordered by faults and is tectonically active. Geologic activities create additional local permeability that could be supplied by the faults that bound the graben and sub-basins.

Shallow auger holes and drill-holes reveal that the unconsolidated basin fill deposits within include , evaporate deposits, clays, clastic rocks silts and sands, and volcanic ash. With the exception of clays, these rocks highlight potential sources of permeability.

Volcanic ash beds could contain zones of permeability due to the close range of Teels Marsh to juvenile volcanic centers at Mono Craters and Long Valley, California, each located around 70 km to the southwest. These ash layers have become the most productive brine sources in Clayton Valley, which constitutes an active geothermal area.

The Bishop Tuff, which is thought to represent a significant zone of permeability at Clayton Valley is likely present in the subsurface at Teels Marsh.

Direct evidence of an active geothermal system in the Teels Marsh area has just been colected by researchers from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada, Reno and the Desert Research Institute. This conclusion comes from mapping irregularly high temperatures at a depth of only 2 meters below the basin surface, with temperatures as high at 35 degrees Celsius compared to background temperatures of approximately 16-18 degrees Celsius.

The temperature irregularities are located in two distinct zones, both of which border a quaternary fault on the western end of Teels Marsh basin. The temperature anomalies have a combined strike length parallel to the fault of almost 4 km. A 1976 USGS geochemical survey reported lithium values as high as 850 ppm from samples collected from springs marginal to these fault structures.

The company is currently finalizing their plans and budget for the 2016 exploration program.


Geothermal Development Possible at Vale Butte

As the Argus Observer reports, the geothermal plant located at Neal Hot Springs is generating far beyond prior expectations, and now GEA member U.S. Geothermal is open to exploring geothermal development by Vale Butte.

U.S. Geothermal’s Neal Hot Springs plant became functional in the year 2012 and produces 22 MW from a total of three generation units. The Neal Hot Springs plant operates at 99% availability according to land and environment manager for U.S. Geothermal, Scott Nichols, as stated during a meeting with the Malheur County Court Wednesday.

Despite progress, there remains a singular issue that U.S. Geothermal must overcome: the weather. The working fluid, also known as the refrigerant, used in cooling the generating units is also found in air conditioners, Nichols said, and is not suitable for cooling during the summer. As Nichols explained, power production falls when it warms up, so the power curve drops from April through October. “Ability to produce consistent power is needed,” Nichols said.

U.S. Geothermal is exploring providing water cooling for the hottest months and is surveying potential water sources, Nichols stated. Those particular sources cannot affect nearby water consumers or be connected to surface water. “We have a lot of hurdles to jump,” Nichols said.

Two years ago, U.S. Geothermal signed leases with Malheur County and relevant property owners in proximity to Vale Butte to investigate geothermal development’s potential there. Since there is no existing market for the power, any work in the area like testing is delayed, but U.S. Geothermal maintains its interest in the site and in keeping its leases up to date, according to Nichols.

“Idaho Power is not actively seeking renewable energy,” he said. However, that doesn’t indicate there won’t be a future market. “It is an opportunity that has not been tested,” chief geologist Ian Warren said. The creation of the Vale Butte plant would include a smaller footprint than the Neal Hot Springs plant so as not to be intrusive into the community, Warren concluded.


Toshiba and Turkish Zorlu Energy Group Cooperate to Harness Renewables Like Geothermal

Turkish Zorlu Energy Group recently made public their official cooperation agreement with Japanese Toshiba Corp. to develop a spectrum of new generation power plant projects, focusing on geothermal, thermal, and hydroelectric projects.

The agreement, which combines Zorlu Energy Group’s knowledge surrounding project design, construction and operation with Toshiba Corp.’s engineering expertise and technology, will help Turkey become a renewable energy leader in the region.

Uniting the country’s natural resources with high technology, Zorlu Energy Group signed a cooperation agreement with Toshiba Corp., known for its efficient, low-emission power plant technologies. The agreement will marry Zorlu Energy Group’s oversight in all steps from project design to construction and operation with Toshiba Corp.’s international experience in offering high technology engineering and products. Becoming official as of January and remaining valid for a year, the agreement will encourage the usage of clean coal, geothermal and hydroelectric power plant projects on an international level.

Zorlu Energy General Manager Sinan Ak gave remarks at the signing ceremony in Tokyo at Toshiba’s headquarters: “As Zorlu Energy Group, while investing in energy resources, we are working with the vision of reaching the highest efficiency by using the highest technology and we create economic additional value on the basis of respect to human and environment. Based on this approach, we consider the cooperation agreement signed with Toshiba Corp. as a significant milestone for clean, low-emission and high technology power plant projects that we will realize in Turkey.”

Under the agreement’s guidelines, Zorlu Energy Group and Toshiba Corp. will produce detailed feasibility studies of potential fields in Turkey, paying particular attention to thermic, geothermal and hydroelectric resources. Following this framework, parties are offered the choice to sign more comprehensive and longer-term agreements for the projects they decide to go forward with.

Toshiba Corp.’s CEO Yoshihiro Aburatani also expressed his satisfaction at the signing ceremony with regards to the cooperation. Aburatani highlighted Toshiba’s confidence in Turkey’s high potential in renewable energy. Toshiba is a leader in the renewable energy field due to its low-emission, high-tech power plant projects coupled with extensive experience at the global level.


Climate Investment Funds Details Investments in Geothermal Energy

To date, the Climate Investment Funds have financed many geothermal projects around the world, performing an array of activities to encourage geothermal development and spur private market and development bank financing. In a recently released overview document, the Climate Investment Funds details its objectives and summarizes its accomplishments in the geothermal field. Relevant portions are excerpted below:

“The CIF is a global leader in supporting geothermal deployment with $810 million CIF resources supporting geothermal investments in 15 middle and low-income countries. The CIF is helping to expand geothermal markets in countries like Indonesia, Kenya, and Mexico and is supporting some of the first large-scale geothermal projects in Armenia, Chile, Dominica, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. CIF-supported projects are expected to attract over USD 10 billion cofinancing and lead to up to 3.5 GW of new geothermal capacity (more than one-quarter of current global installed capacity). The CIF leads all other funders in supporting the earliest, riskier stages of geothermal projects providing USD 400 million, which is more than half (~55%) of total public finance currently flowing to the exploration and test drilling stages. Analysis carried out by CPI on behalf of the CIF suggests that much, much more of this early stage finance is required to the tune of an additional USD 12.5 billion in public finance.”

“In Tanzania, IFC is implementing an advisory project supported by SREP USD 2.3 million to establish an enabling environment for the country’s geothermal development that is conducive to private sector investment. Activities include drafting or revising geothermal laws aimed at providing a strong and transparent regulatory framework to govern private power generation as well as support for the development of required operational and institutional structures. This is a crucial first step in pursuing Tanzania’s as-yet untapped geothermal potential, which is estimated to exceed 650 MW. This will be critical to expand energy supply in a country where only 18 percent of the population has access to electricity, and the reliability of hydropower, its primary renewable energy source, is declining due to changing weather patterns. Total SREP support of USD 25 million for geothermal development is expected to catalyze the country’s first 100 MW of geothermal power.”

“CIF also funded research by the Climate Policy Institute to help increase global understanding among key players active in the development of these technologies on how to utilize public finance and public resources more effectively to lower costs and mitigate risks that have constrained their deployment to date.”

“CIF-financed CSP and geothermal projects are expected to attract more than USD 18 billion co-financing for up to 4.6 GW of global installed capacity. Without the concessional resources provided by the CIF and the additional resources mobilized from the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB) own balance sheets, these projects would in all likelihood not have moved forward.”

“In Indonesia, USD 375 million of the country’s USD 400 million CTF investment plan implemented through the ADB, IFC, and World Bank targets investments aimed at unlocking the country’s abundant geothermal potential with 720 MW supported by CTF already under development. When fully realized, Indonesia’s CTF-backed geothermal projects and programs are expected to attract more than USD 8 billion in total finance for up to 2.2 GW new capacity. These projects could have important long-term effects on the geothermal sector in Indonesia – a sector that the government deems crucial for sustainably meeting the country’s growing energy needs – by demonstrating viable approaches for de-risking investments to attract greater private sector participation.”

“CIF concessional funding enables support to the earliest, riskiest stages of geothermal development that prove resource availability. With CIF funds structured to absorb the greatest risk, MDBs are able to co-invest using their own resources. An example is the Mexico geothermal financing and risk transfer facility (IDB), which uses USD 54.3 million CTF of which USD 20 million CTF is contingent recovery grant (not repaid in the case of failed drilling), to share drilling costs with developers and partially cover private resource risk insurance. IDB investment of USD 54.3 million will provide direct financial support to project developers. The facility is expected to attract more than USD 1 billion private sector investment for 300 MW of new geothermal capacity and achieve emissions reductions of 33 million tCO2e. Reykjavik Geothermal, an experienced geothermal developer, cited the facility as the best risk mitigation structure to be deployed in the sector.”

To read the full report, follow the link below:


Press Release: Association Groups Bring Baseload Renewable Energy Summit to Reno

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is pleased to be holding its fifth annual National Geothermal Summit early this summer, but with a twist. This year, the leading forum for western state policy discussions will team up with the National Hydropower Association (NHA), and the Biomass Power Association (BPA) to create a new spin on the annual event. This year, the National Geothermal Summit will be transformed into The Baseload Renewable Energy Summit and will be held on June 7-8, 2016 at the Grand Sierra in Reno, NV.

Geothermal, hydropower, and biomass often face similar problems at three main levels- political, financial, and societal. As in previous years, the Summit will focus on voicing key issues faced by the geothermal industry to both state and federal policy makers. In parallel to this, industry experts in hydropower and biomass will join panel discussions to shed light on the critical importance of base-load, renewable energy sources for grid reliability, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and meeting rising energy demand.
Event and registration details can be found at . For more information, please contact Rani Chatrath at .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s