International Showcase Heats Up, Geothermal Partnerships, New Funding Sources

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Geothermal graphic from the Energy Department


In this post:
*Press Release: International Geothermal Showcase Heating Up
*In Ohio, Miami University’s Western Campus Geothermal Infrastructure Project Continues
*Interconnection Agreement for 30 MW Geysers Project Obtained
*Bureau of Land Management Seeks Technical Support of NREL for Geothermal Energy on Public Lands
*Kenya and Japan Sign $408 Million Loan to Fund Construction of Olkaria V
*ThinkGeoEnergy Interviews SMU Geothermal Lab Coordinator Maria Richards

Press Release: International Geothermal Showcase Heating Up

Washington DC — Things are heating up in the nation’s capitol for what appears to be the year’s premier global geothermal power event. Geothermal power is expanding worldwide with analysts projecting a doubling or more in the coming decade. The US and International Geothermal Showcase will bring together representatives from over 39 countries spanning the globe in Washington, D.C. on March 17th.

The Showcase will feature a dynamic mix of industry professionals with worldwide geothermal expertise from KenGen’s CEO Albert Mugo, and Japan’s Hiroto Kamiishi, Director of the Energy and Mining Group at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Senator Dean Heller (R – Nevada) who represents a geothermal rich state will be the keynote luncheon speaker at the event. The Showcase will also feature Sakari Oksanen, the International Renewable Energy Agency’s Deputy Director-General, making opening keynote remarks.

With a comprehensive agenda, speakers are coming from countries that are the rising stars of the geothermal industry. At the GEA Showcase, discussion will focus on the US and Global Power Production Report, to be released at the event, which will show how the US is being seriously challenged for its geothermal power leadership. In the coming decade one or more nations could surpass the US. (Hint: the top five competing countries are Indonesia, Turkey, Kenya, Ethiopia and the Philippines.)

Company executives, financiers and energy professionals from companies across the US are also attending. Power Engineers, Dewhurst Group, Geothermal Resource Group, Ormat, U.S. Geothermal, Enel Green Power and Berkshire Hathaway Energy are among the geothermal-related firms participating.

Countries represented 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 members of the credentialed press, email Allie Nelson for registration (

In Ohio, Miami University’s Western Campus Geothermal Infrastructure Project Continues

Things are heating up in Miami University: underground, that is. The school is in the midst of an exciting geothermal undertaking. The new phase of their Western Campus Geothermal Infrastructure project, which the university’s Board of Trustees made official in February, will entail drilling approximately 400 additional wells, equipping the campus’ geothermal plant with new machinery while increasing underground piping. Miami was granted $16.6 million to finish the project.

The geothermal endeavor, a piece of Miami’s Utility Master Plan, will keep the university in line with its overall energy usage goals and infrastructure plans until 2040. “I believe we are smart in our approach,” said associate vice president of facilities planning and operations Cody Powell regarding the next phase of the project.
The university finished the first phase of its geothermal project in 2014, with the initial system serving a dining facility and several Halls. Recently, the geothermal endeavor was granted $16.6 million to support Miami University’s sustainability mission.

Director of Energy Systems Doug Hammerle elaborated on the importance of the infrastructure project, first thought of in 2013: “Part of the sustainability plan is to get off of coal by 2025,” Hammerle said. “So one of the ways is for these buildings to be heated by geothermal [energy].”

In Hammerle’s opinion, there are three key components in the geothermal project.

Adding to the 315 existing wells, 390 additional wells will be created. Necessary equipment will be outfitted on the geothermal plant alongside tunnel and underground piping for cooling and heating that will be extended to other buildings.

Hammerle and Powell stated that the implementation of the geothermal system would be intrusive to the student body due to heavy equipment required for construction, so the two aim to complete a majority of the work over the summer.

However, as Powell said, the current system built during the first phase of the project is operating better than the team originally estimated, signifying the pending additions will aid the university in saving money and water. Powell estimates that, following the completion of the project’s second phase, Miami University will save approximately $250,000 and one million gallons of water each year from the geothermal system.


Interconnection Agreement for 30 MW Geysers Project Obtained

GEA member U.S. Geothermal Inc. recently announced that on March 6, Western GeoPower, Inc., the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, was granted the fully executed Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (LGIA) for the geothermal project known as WGP Geysers in partnership with the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) and Pacific Gas & Electric (“PG&E”).

The WGP Geysers project is based in Sonoma County, California and constitutes one of four major projects under development by US Geothermal. Past reservoir explorations have discovered that a steam resource able to support a 30 MW power plant exists on the property.

“This agreement is an important milestone in our development of the WGP Geysers Project,” said CEO of U.S. Geothermal Dennis Gilles. “It allows us to gain access to the transmission grid and means that we can now offer a firm delivery date in our PPA negotiations.”

The LGIA is the most important piece in the process for interconnecting the intended geothermal power plant to the CAISO-controlled PG&E transmission system. The current agreement allows up to 35 MW of transmission capacity with a potential Commercial Operations Date slated as early as June 1, 2018. An engineering study performed by CAISO predicted that the construction cost for the new interconnection facilities would be $1.9 million. A $1 million deposit for financial security in relation to the LGIA was made February 5, 2016. In addition to the interconnection facilities covered in the LGIA, a 1.7 mile 115-kV transmission line is necessary.

PG&E is responsible for the plan, mechanics, and creation of the new interconnection facilities. The interconnection facilities are a component of the development plan for the WGP Geysers Project, currently slated to initiate power sales by mid-2018. U.S. Geothermal is in discussion with multiple interested parties regarding a long term Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) for the project and preparing to submit proposals. Once a PPA is obtained, the company will seek funding for the building of the project. The WGP Geysers Project qualifies for the Federal 30% investment tax credit.


Bureau of Land Management Seeks Technical Support of NREL for Geothermal Energy on Public Lands

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently entered into an interagency agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to assist with technical expertise and aid in the development of renewable energy from geothermal resources on public lands. This agreement represents an expansion of NREL’s existing and developing relationship with the BLM, specifically in the area of geothermal development.

The BLM has the power to lease 245 million “high geothermal potential” acres of public lands. Though in the past geothermal potential was limited to geographic areas with suitable fluid, heat, and permeability at depth, typically found in western U.S. states and Alaska, enhanced geothermal systems could increase geothermal capacity in the United States and harness new geothermal potential in untapped geographic areas across the nation.

This brand new interagency agreement with the BLM takes advantage of NREL’s deep geothermal expertise and technical assistance capabilities in order to create more effective ways to manage geothermal resources and operations on federal lands. Under this agreement, NREL will assist the BLM through technical and analytical expertise on geothermal inspection and enforcement, induced seismicity, and classification. Multiple reports, studies, and various tools will be developed in order to assist the BLM and its geothermal program.


Kenya and Japan Sign $408 Million Loan to Fund Construction of Olkaria V

Kenya and Japan recently initialed a $408 million loan deal fund the construction of a 140 MW geothermal power plant that is predicted to come online within the next two years, according to the respective countries’ governments.

The new plant, cakked Olkaria V, will be created by Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), which stated it is slated to begin construction in July, with the plant accessing the grid by the end of 2018. The future plant is part of KenGen’s intention to add 720 MW of electricity, the majority from geothermal sources, to the nation grid between 2016 and 2020, with a cost of approximately $2 billion.

“The credit we have received today will fund the construction of a power generation plant to tap the vast geothermal steam at [the] Olkaria Geothermal field for [the] generation of [an] additional 140 MW [of] electricity to be put to the national grid,” Henry Rotich, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary said after signing off on the agreement.

Kenya, which relies on renewable sources like hydropower and geothermal, intends to increase its power-generating capacity to around 6,700 MW by 2017, increasing from the current 2,500 MW. Another of the country’s goals is to cut electricity bills, solving problems continually blamed for stifling Kenyan business.

KenGen has a commitment to generate 844 MW for the grid under the plan and explains it had already added 374 MW. The Olkaria plant will be located in the African Rift Valley, an area rich in geothermal potential.


ThinkGeoEnergy Interviews SMU Geothermal Lab Coordinator Maria Richards

In an exciting interview, ThinkGeoEnergy sat down to talk with Maria Richards, Coordinator of the Geothermal Lab at Southern Methodist University, which stands out amongst universities as having a lab dedicated to geothermal research. SMU’s Geothermal Lab has played an important role in studying the intersection and transfer of the oil and gas industry into geothermal. Maria also serves as the President-elect of the Geothermal Resources Council. Follow the link below to read a topical exchange between ThinkGeoEnergy and Maria covering SMU’s Geothermal Lab’s fields of study, how oil and gas relates to geothermal, and more:


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