This post brings you geothermal headlines from Kenya, the United States, Indonesia, and Finland.
Finnish Geothermal Map
Image Credit: GTK.fi
Africa and the Middle East
Kenya – KenGen May Begin Direct Power Sales
KenGen is currently contemplating overstepping Kenya Power and directly vending electricity to industries close to its plant to grow its revenue. In addition, KenGen is targeting a planned 720 megawatts at an estimated cost of approximately $2 billion by 2020.
The listed company, which is majority owned by the state, currently possesses a 1,618 MW capacity.
“It (direct power sales) will probably take some couple of years because there’s still some work there,” Simon Ngure, KenGen’s director for corporate and regulatory affairs, explained to an investor briefing in Nairobi recently. “Nevertheless, within the next three months or so, we are going to put out our application because we had to wait for some data to come in so that we can make application to the regulatory commission.”
Ngure stated a consultant undertaking a study on the planned business strategy will most likely deliver the final report in two months – following that the company will seek approval from the Energy Regulatory Commission. The plan’s foremost target is the proposed Naivasha Industrial Park, where the Industrialization and Enterprise Development Ministry will be aiming to attract large manufacturers by selling electricity at half the market price. However, chief executive Albert Mugo said charges for direct sales will be will be determined by the ERC.
Around 631 MW of the planned 720MW will be produced from the geothermal fields in Naivasha at an estimated cost of $1.83 billion. The remaining 90 MW will be generated from wind farms at Meru (80MW) and Ngong (10MW) at a sum total of $172 million.
The expansion will be funded via a combination of debt and equity financing. Mugo explained that KenGen’s debt ratio – total debt to assets – at 55% was manageable. “We can go up to 70% and therefore we still have some headroom.”
United States – Oregon Bill Committing to 50% RPS Passes State Senate
The Oregon Senate recently approved Senate Bill 1547, which, if made official, would set a 50% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2040 and legalize the elimination of coal-generated electricity in Oregon’s power mix. The green legislation, a joint effort between utilities, consumer advocates, and renewable energy advocates, is currently waiting on Gov. Kate Brown’s approval, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
The bill in question, passed in the lower House after weeks of debate, would require the state’s investor owned utilities (IOUs) Pacific Power (PP) and Portland General Electric (PGE) to cease the production and importation of coal electricity by 2035. The legislation does not apply to electric cooperatives and municipal utilities, but PP and PGE service approximately 70% of Oregon’s electricity demand.
This forward-thinking bill shows that Oregon is on the course to adhering to ambitious renewable energy standards in line with concerns with a warming climate. It also presents an opportunity for expansion of the geothermal industry in the state, like GEA member US Geothermal’s fully operation Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Plant in Vale that produces approximately 22 MW annually.
Asia and the Pacific
Indonesia – PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy to Drill Exploration Wells in East Java
PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE) has committed to drilling five exploration wells in Lawu, East Java this year. The drilling plan was decided upon after PGE secured the geothermal working areas tender held by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in 2015.
“We must conduct a preliminary survey prior to drilling to obtain accurate data,” PGE corporate secretary Tafif Azimuddin said to Tempo. The Pertamina geothermal subsidiary earmarked $50 million for this undertaking. It is predicted that the drilling will cost $10 million billion per well, with a 50% success ratio.
PGE is currently in the process of obtaining a geothermal business license in the area at the Energy Ministry. One of the requirements necessary to receive the license is the deposit of a commitment fund totaling $10 million. PGE intends to harness the geothermal energy from the newly-created wells via the construction of a 165 MW geothermal power plant. The area in question is estimated to have an energy potential of 195 MW.
Finland – Possibility of Geothermal Heating Majority of Finnish Buildings
According to the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), “Geothermal could completely replace fossil fuel for heating” Having recently made public a map showcasing the potential for geothermal energy in various regions of Finland, the (GTK) theorizes that geothermal energy could heat all of Finland’s buildings.
According to GTK, harnessing Finland’s green energy resources like geothermal is imperative in the fight to limit climate change. The head of the GTK’s geothermal energy department, Asmo Huusko, explained the map was released to help the public and decision-makers visualize their nation’s bountiful geothermal potential. The map can be found here, but is only available in Finnish.
“There’s a kind of hype going on about wind and solar energy. Sweden is more than a decade ahead of us when it comes to the use of geothermal heat, to the tune of a terawatt already,” says Huusko.
Based on the results of the Geological Survey, Finland’s south is best positioned to take advantage of geothermal energy for heating. In the article, several Finnish projects are listed. In addition, earlier in 2016, a groundbreaking deep well geothermal project commenced development in the European nation.
GTK is currently obtaining measurements to estimate the amount of energy potentially available per meter of well depth in various sectors of Finland and will add the data to the online map as it becomes finalized.