Baseload Summit Approaches, Salton Sea Comments, and More

Summit BannerSave the date for June’s 2016 Baseload Renewable Energy Summit!
Register here: http://www.geo-energy.org/NationalGeothermalSummit/Main.aspx

In this post:

*Baseload Summit to Focus on Future Prospects for Geothermal, Biomass and Hydropower June 7-8 in Reno
*Senate Defers Action on Expanding Tax Incentives as Talks Break Down
*GEA Comments on California Water Board Hearing on Salton Sea
*Latin America Lagging in Implementation of Geothermal Resources
*Berkley Lab News Release: Existing State Laws Collectively Require a 50% Increase in U.S. Renewable Electricity
*Rising Public Finance in Early Stage and Exploratory Phase Geothermal Development
*State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Recruiting a Mineral Resources Specialist
*Hybrid Geothermal Power Plant Proposed in Croatia
*Calayan Islands, Philippines Identified as Potential Source of Geothermal Energy
*Geothermal Capable of Enhancing Air Quality in Polish Metropolitan Areas
*Kenya to Further Harness Rift Valley Geothermal and Boost Private Sector Investment in Renewables
*Chevron’s $3 Billion Asian Sale Thought to Attract CIC, Ormat
*Enertech Celebrates 20 years in the Geothermal Industry
*Notice of Little Hoover Commission Hearing on the Salton Sea, April 25, 2016
*Press Release: LUCELEC Slated to Meet With Geothermal Developer to Harness Geothermal in St. Lucia
*GEA Seeks Entries for the Best in Geothermal: Sixth Annual GEA Honors

Baseload Summit to Focus on Future Prospects for Geothermal, Biomass and Hydropower June 7-8 in Reno

The futures of renewable power and climate progress are tied to the prospects for baseload renewable technologies.   During this critical time, the Geothermal, Hydropower and Biomass Associations are excited to launch the first Baseload Renewable Energy Summit, to be held June 7-8 in Reno, Nevada.

The Summit will bring together industry leaders, policy makers, public representatives and other experts to engage in a dialogue about the issues and opportunities facing these industries. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. renewable electricity comes from baseload sources – hydropower, biomass and geothermal. And, as renewable production grows, these baseload technologies are projected by EIA to continue to produce a majority of renewable power through at least 2040.

Often sidelined in the discussion of renewable energy, the Summit will be a premier opportunity for positive change for baseload renewables. Geothermal, hydropower, and biomass often face similar issues at three levels: political, financial, and societal. The Summit will focus on discussing key issues facing these industries with utilities, regulators, policy makers and the public. Experts will join panel discussions to shed light on the critical importance of baseload, renewable energy sources for grid reliability, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, meeting rising energy demand and keeping consumer prices low.

This year’s Baseload Renewable Energy Summit will feature the combined voices of three major baseload renewables organizations: The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), the National Hydropower Association (NHA), and the Biomass Power Association (BPA). 

For more information, or to register: http://www.geo-energy.org/NationalGeothermalSummit/Main.aspx

Contact:

Ms. Rani Chatrath

Marketing, Events, & International Initiatives Coordinator

Geothermal Energy Association (GEA)

Rani@geo-energy.org | +1 202 454 5261

Senate Defers Action on Expanding Tax Incentives as Talks Break Down

In the waning days of 2015, Congress passed a last-minute Omnibus package. It was put together in two parts. Part one extended many renewable tax credits to projects under construction in 2016, but no further. This includes new geothermal power projects. The second part, completed in the early morning hours, extended the credits for wind and solar for several more years and then phased them out.

As a result, the bill passed by Congress and signed by the President in December created wide disparities in renewable tax incentives. Immediately, Congressional leaders spoke out about “fixing” the problem. Before the ink was even dry on the Omnibus deal, E&E Energy reported: “The House’s top tax writer said yesterday he’ll continue discussions next year over a key solar tax break extended as part of the deal to end the crude oil export ban, following a failed effort by a Democratic lawmaker to fix what has been called a mistake in drafting the provision.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was quoted by Bloomberg News in December as saying, “We still have some unfinished business there, because the bill, through a drafting error, did not include fuel cells, geothermal, and some other renewables that are part of that tax credit.”

January brought a new session of Congress, and the issue of the tax disparity was front and center. E&E reporters wrote in early January “Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged to revisit the extension of a key tax credit in the omnibus spending deal that also lifted the ban on crude oil exports, saying it was “inadvertently” applied only to solar, when other renewables should have received the same treatment.”

One problem, however, would be finding a legislative vehicle to craft a “fix.” First, it should be a “must pass” piece of legislation, and second tax/revenue legislation must originate in the House.   Soon, all eyes were fixed on the FAA Reauthorization bill. Keeping our air traffic operating safely was surely “must pass” and the FAA bill would include tax provisions. It was clearly one of a very few bills that could be counted on.

As the Senate turned to the FAA Bill, Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) engaged in support of including geothermal in the Section 48 tax credit on the same terms as solar. Geothermal has historically been part of the Section 48 Investment Tax Credit along with solar. The Omnibus provided solar a 30% ITC that phases down to a 10% credit at the end of 2022. Geothermal should have parity with solar, Senator Heller argued.

Senator Heller introduced an amendment to the FAA bill that address the “fix” for several Section 48 technologies, and until this week the outlook was considered good for it to be included in the FAA bill. Even with the Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Action and other “conservative groups” circulating a letter opposing adding “tax extenders for renewables to the FAA Reauthorization,’ talks move forward in the Senate.

But eventually, the weight of the number and cost of amendments being proposed led to the talks collapsing. Some say the Democrats broke off talks, other say Republicans did. Either way, the FAA bill is not going to be the vehicle for fixing the Omnibus.   The technologies and industries that were neglected by the Omnibus deal will continue to press for change. Already, Senators are looking further down the road for other legislative vehicles: the energy bill that stalled earlier in the year? A continuing resolution funding the government? Another must-pass revenue bill?

“The good news is new geothermal projects under construction by the end of 2016 will qualify for the full Production Tax Credit,” said Karl Gawell, GEA’s Executive Director. “What happens after that is not clear, but the events of the past week show there is a lot of support in the Senate for extending tax credits to geothermal long-term. We expect there will be future opportunities to make it so,” he added.

GEA Comments on California Water Board Hearing on Salton Sea

In preparation for the April 19 California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) public workshop to receive information and solicit public input regarding the status of the Salton Sea Management Program, the Geothermal Energy Association prepared a letter detailing the values associated with geothermal development at the Salton Sea whilst updating the Board on transmissions capacity in Imperial County. GEA highlighted that the resources inside Imperial County are capable of producing an additional 1,700 to 2,300 MW of geothermal power by 2030, to be used in-state, or exported to surrounding states.

Geothermal plants around the Salton Sea would also provide an economic boost: geothermal operators pay property taxes proving income streams to communities in the Salton Sea region. An average sized facility of 20 MW will pay $6.3 to $11 million dollars in property taxes over the lifetime of the facility. The plants in Imperial Country are expected to be much larger and lease/own significantly more land than this typical plant.   Additionally, the geothermal industry has begun constructing innovative desalinization/filtration stations that can be added run off of surplus energy, creating a steady water supply to enable mitigation of issues related to the Salton Sea.

With regards to financial value, the most recent Energy Division Staff Paper on Draft 2016 Portfolios for Generation and Transmission Planning covers the addition of geothermal resources to the electricity grid, reducing grid costs and the overall amount of curtailments, increasing resource diversity – geothermal has been shown to be a critical technology that lowers overall electricity rates in a post 33% RPS world. Recent research finds that “incorporating the additional geothermal generation reduces CO2 emissions compared to the base case and saves the electricity system up to $75 in operational costs for every MWH of added geothermal generation. The potential savings could be as much as 2% of total system costs by 2030.”

If geothermal development is neglected at the Salton Sea, California will lose the benefits of geothermal projects that would aid in habitat restoration and dust suppression. GEA advises RETI 2.0 to consider the incorporation of geothermal development around the Salton Sea in their plans.
Notice of April 19 Hearing:

http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/salton_sea/docs/notice_saltonsea041916.pdf

 

Latin America Lagging in Implementation of Geothermal Resources

A new Guardian article examines Latin America and its geothermal capacity and potential. The region to date utilizes around 5% of its geothermal potential due to a small, underfunded industry in desperate need of incentives.

The 1970s oil crisis greatly impacted geothermal development in the region, with countries like Costa Rica making big headway. Currently, the country receives approximately 13% of its electricity from geothermal sources.

According to the Guardian, “In total, it’s estimated that Latin America uses no more than 5% of its geothermal potential of 300 terawatt-hour per year, according to reports released by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the World Bank. Geothermal currently represents a small portion (less than 1%) of the energy matrix of Latin America.”

Though a new geothermal project is progressing in Chile, the nation with the highest amount of geothermal resources in the region, there is still a lack of sufficient support and incentives that could boost geothermal development.

Links: http://www.thinkgeoenergy.com/latin-america-only-scratching-the-surface-of-its-geothermal-potential/

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/apr/13/heat-potential-latin-american-geothermal-power

Berkley Lab News Release: Existing State Laws Collectively Require a 50% Increase in U.S. Renewable Electricity

State renewables portfolio standards, known as RPS policies, have contributed to more than half of all renewable electricity growth in the United States since 2000. Most state RPS requirements will continue to rise through at least 2020, if not beyond, and collectively these policies will require substantial further growth in U.S. renewable electricity supplies. These findings, illustrated in the figures below, are part of a new annual status report on state RPS policies, from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

The status report-published in slide-deck form and entitled U.S. Renewables Portfolio Standards: 2016 Annual Status Report-provides a data-intensive review of state RPS policies, highlighting recent legislative revisions, key policy design features, past and projected impacts on renewables development, compliance trends, and costs.

“This document is intended as a progress report to help policy-makers and other electricity industry participants understand the past and future role of state RPS programs-recognizing that they are but one of a number of key drivers affecting renewable energy development in the United States,” said Berkeley Lab’s Galen Barbose, the report’s author.

Mandatory RPS policies require utilities or other electricity providers to generate a minimum portion of their supply from eligible forms of renewable electricity or renewable electricity certificates. They currently exist in 29 U.S. states plus Washington, D.C., and have been a cornerstone of renewable electricity policy in the United States over the past decade. Additional states have voluntary renewable electricity goals.

Key trends highlighted in the report include the following:

–        Recent Legislative Revisions: In total, almost 150 RPS-related bills have been introduced since the beginning of 2015, split roughly evenly between those that would strengthen, weaken, or have a neutral impact on RPS requirements. Significant legislation enacted in the past year includes new or expanded RPS policies in California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Vermont, while Kansas replaced its RPS with a voluntary goal. Regulators in New York are also in the process of expanding the state’s RPS.

–        Historical Impacts on Renewables Development: More than half of all growth in U.S. renewable electricity generation (60%) and capacity (57%) since 2000 can be associated with state RPS requirements, though other drivers also undoubtedly contributed to this growth (see infographic). The relative contribution of RPS programs to overall renewable energy growth has declined in recent years as other drivers-such as corporate procurement and projects developed for merchant power sales-have become more significant. Although wind energy has been the predominant share (64%) of all RPS-driven capacity growth to-date, solar energy was by far the largest source (69%) of new RPS builds in 2015.

–        Growing RPS Demand: Five states reached the terminal year of their RPS in 2015, and most others will do so by 2025. Nevertheless, total RPS-driven demand for renewable energy will double from 215 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2015 to 431 TWh in 2030. To match this growth, total non-hydroelectric renewables in the United States would need to reach 12.1% of electricity sales by 2030, up from roughly 8% today (see infographic), though actual growth may be greater or less than this amount. This comparison focuses on non-hydroelectric renewable electricity, because most RPS rules allow only limited forms hydroelectric generation to be used for compliance.

–        Projected Future Impact on Renewables Development: Relative to currently available renewable energy supply, increasing RPS demand could require an additional 60 gigawatts (GW) of primarily non-hydroelectric renewables capacity by 2030, beyond the 114 GW of capacity installed as of year-end 2015 (see infographic). Current build-rates are on pace to meet those requirements, with roughly 6 GW of non-hydroelectric renewable generation capacity added for RPS requirements in 2015.

–        Achievement of Interim RPS Targets: RPS requirements have thus far largely been met fully with renewable energy purchases, with states collectively meeting roughly 95% of their interim RPS targets in recent years (see infographic). Achievement of solar and distributed generation carve-outs has been somewhat lower, though still relatively high, with states meeting 87% of recent interim targets, on average.

–        Compliance Costs: RPS compliance costs totaled roughly $2.6 billion in 2014 (the most recent year with available data), averaging $12 per megawatt-hour of renewable electricity. These costs equate to 1.3% of average consumer electricity bills in 2014, up from 1.0% of average electricity bills in 2013 (see infographic). Growth in compliance costs going forward will be capped in most RPS states by cost containment mechanisms of various types. A separate Berkeley Lab study released earlier this year quantified benefits associated with state RPS policies.

Link: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2016/04/06/50-increase-in-renewable-electricity/

Rising Public Finance in Early Stage and Exploratory Phase Geothermal Development

As Renewable Energy World recently reported, the physical risks entailed by exploratory and early stage geothermal development are constant, and excluding several technological advancements, little suggests that those risks will undergo major changes in the near-term. Analysts state exploration costs can total 15% of the capital cost of a geothermal project, and the rate of success in the early stages typically ranges between 50-60%. Withstanding cornerstone preliminary surveys, exploration and test drilling in the project life cycle, public financing is most often focused on the latter stages of development. This focus, though, is shifting.

Access to financial mechanisms like commercial debt, which are utilized by other resource developers, are unavailable to early-stage geothermal development due to the high associated risk. Some companies may have an avenue to public equity, and private equity investors may possibly contribute capital with a promise of a high return. The public sector, though, is becoming a secure place for developers to access funding through mechanisms like direct funding and loan guarantees. Government development agencies also are a strong option in the current geothermal market.

Several promising financing developments for the early stages of the project life cycle exist because “public resources are starting to amass to answer the necessity of participating in early-stage financing,” Stephen Morel, climate finance specialist of Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), stated.

According to Morel, finance tools from development finance institutions (DFIs) like OPIC have developed to help direct more investment into geothermal, and a large amount of public programs are now available as part of those tools. OPIC is the U.S. government’s only DFI.

Morel explained that national resources are changing, with governments spanning the globe demonstrating a stronger will to move forward with geothermal development.

“That has resulted in resource mapping in countries where it didn’t exist before, as well as the availability of fields to private developers,” Morel said. “There are a lot of success stories now where public entities under government have completed exploratory drilling and can offer opportunity from the wells to private developers.”

In addition, Morel has recognized an enhanced role played by public entities in providing contingents and concessionary products.

“That has come from the strong will of those public entities,” Morel explained. “A lot of the will from public entities started with in-depth research from, for example, the World Bank and other multilaterals that wanted to map where geothermal resources are.”

Morel also said that he is observing a resurgence in geothermal drilling insurance.

OPIC, where Morel works, is a development finance institution that carries out the U.S. government’s foreign policy goals, finances and insures U.S. private sector businesses looking to join challenging economies internationally and develop projects from small-scale agriculture, healthcare, and education to large infrastructure creation.

Charles Stadtlander, an OPIC spokesperson, said that the organization has seen “a pretty large uptick in renewable energy in the past five to six years.”

Stadtlander said that OPIC has an approximately $20 billion overall development portfolio in financing and insurance, via which OPIC supports 500 active projects spanning 100 countries in vital sectors like clean water and sanitation, agriculture modernization, financial inclusion, affordable housing, and new energy access, including from renewables.

“In recent years, overall new commitments from OPIC have ranged from $3 billion up to more than $4 billion per year,” Stadtlander said. “Of that, about one quarter to one third has been in renewable energy, including more than $6 billion in support to renewable energy over the past five years.”

According to Morel, OPIC in the early ’90s was active in the Asia-Pacific – Indonesia and the Philippines – and more recently lent support to the Olkaria III project in Kenya. Olkaria was constructed with a mix of public and private financing alongside risk mitigation measures.

“Geothermal is fantastic for OPIC because it really fits in the wheelhouse of all the aspects we’re trying to get to,” he said. “It is one of the more interesting renewables to support these days because it is truly base load, which you don’t find with some of the other renewables that have become more mature and have more financing options,” said Morel.

The ability of geothermal to act as a baseload resource has played an important role as a long-term energy plan for a many countries that OPIC works with, he explained.

Stadtlander noted that OPIC is able to collaborate with DFIs from around the world on large-scale infrastructure projects.

“We can work as co-lenders,” he said. “We’re part of a like-minded community that helps drive private developers, private capital, and private equity investors in some of the world’s most challenging economies.”

Morel explained that the way the market is adapting is creating a dichotomy on the private side in that there are now two types of developers: those that can fund a project on balance sheet, but also those developers who have positioned themselves to navigate public resources – the multilateral banks, DFIs and regional bodies.

“Some of the more interesting public financing is coming in the form of concessional loans that have conditions more akin to mezzanine debt,” he said. “Given the conditions on those loans, funds are capable of being deployed at an earlier stage and with concessional rates. That is beneficial to the private developers that are putting a lot of their own equity into a project.”

Also of interest on the public side, Morel said, are programs that are giving out contingent loans, under which funds can be deployed, and if a drilling program is successful, it remains as a loan; if it’s unsuccessful, then it turns into a grant.

On the private side, balance-sheet financing is still the most effective way to keep down required rates of return.

“If they’re working with other equity institutions that require a high rate of return, then that makes it a challenge for them,” he said. “On balance sheet financing remains one of the most effective ways to address that.”

According to Pierre Audient, who serves as senior energy economist at World Bank Group’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), public-private partnerships (PPP) are a developing option for supporting the risks of early-stage geothermal development.

World Bank in 2013 created the Global Geothermal Development Plan, which has raised $250 million to date. ESMAP utilizes a portion of that funding to finance the identification and preparation of projects as well as other forms of technical assistance required to structure geothermal advancements in countries. The funding currently supports programs in seven countries.

PPPs can stimulate private developer funds and reduce the risks taken on by governments or a developer if either were to develop a project on their own.

Audient explained that PPPs can assume varying forms. Under a tolling agreement, a public entity can develop and operate a steam field, and the steam field is later turned into a power plant that is owned by a private developer. As an alternative, a public entity and a private investor can form a joint venture. Under the joint venture agreement, all aspects of a developed project are co-owned and co-financed by the public entity and private investor.

Link: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/print/volume-19/issue-4/features/geothermal/a-rising-model-public-finance-in-early-stage-geothermal-development.html?cmpid=renewablegeothermal0472016&eid=326095892&bid=1362124

State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Recruiting a Mineral Resources Specialist

The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is recruiting for a Mineral Resources Specialist to be part of the Mineral Resources Section which performs geothermal resource management functions.

This position is responsible for serving as planner-in-charge of departmental geothermal resources management activities by conducting studies, performing analyses, preparing plans and coordinating activities related to the proper management of geothermal resources and development of geothermal energy in Hawaii. Performs other duties as assigned.

This recruitment announcement is posted on the Department of Human Resources Development (DHRD) website:

http://agency.governmentjobs.com/hawaii/default.cfm?action=jobbulletin&JobID=1400262

Hybrid Geothermal Power Plant Proposed in Croatia

A new investment project in Croatia entitled “Hybrid Geothermal Power plants AAT Geothermae” recently began mining and construction in Draskovec/Medjimurje initiated by a ceremony held on April 8, 2016 at the construction site.

The investor funding the project, AAT Geothermae, welcomed Croatian Minister of Economy Tomislav Panenić and Minister of Environment and Nature Protection Slaven Dobrović to the official ceremony.

AAT Geothermae is supported by the Ministry of Economy of Croatia, Medjimurje County and the City of Prelog which stands out as a recipient of high honors and awards in the European Commission’s NER300 program for innovation in energy production from renewable sources, criteria this endeavor falls under.

The geothermal undertaking is one of a handful of major projects currently under development in Croatia. Overall, it will attract entrepreneurs, business opportunities, and create jobs that will stimulate a better quality of life in the region.

AAT Geothermae, as an innovative technology pilot project, also puts the Republic of Croatia, Medjimurje County and the city of Prelog on the international landscape of the production of energy from renewable sources.

The initial customers from Prelog are scheduled to receive thermal energy in approximately two years from a hybrid geothermal power plant being built in Draskovec. It will be the first such plant in Croatia that will heat energy from geothermal wells supplying companies in economic/industrial zones, households, and farms interested in growing vegetables in geothermal greenhouses.

“Economic zones and households will receive local, green and cheaper energy,” explained adviser for AAT Geothermae Peter Vesenjak.

“The aim is to achieve a considerably lower price than with any other energy sources. Works in Draskovec are already underway. We want to complete the power plant by the end of the year and the project is currently in the deep drilling phase. We started working on other infrastructural parts of the project such as cables connected to the main power line and we are preparing for the construction of the access road and drainage system for power plants, ” Vesenjak elaborated.

The power plant is the first phase of a much wider project named Hortus Croatiae, or Garden of Croatia. The next scheduled phase is a health resort/spa center, water park, and mineral water bottling plant. The project is worth $86 million.

Link: https://www.total-croatia-news.com/business/10753-the-garden-of-croatia-hortus-croatiae-renewable-energy-project

Calayan Islands, Philippines Identified as Potential Source of Geothermal Energy

Three islands in Barangays have been identified by the Department of Energy (DOE) as possessing high potential to host geothermal facilities.

Ariel D. Fronda, chief of the DOE’s Geothermal Energy Management Division, identified the areas in question as Camiguin, Dalupiri and Babuyan Claro.

“We have ongoing exploratory activities in these areas to evaluate their potential geothermal energy capacities that might be suitable for power generation with the use of binary technology and other direct-use applications,” Fronda explained.

He said prior to this, his team, in coordination with the Philippine Information Agency’s Central and Region 2’s offices, conducted initial coordination activities with the local officials and residents in the area to inform them that they will conduct exploratory activities in the three potential areas for geothermal energy resources.

“If the geothermal energy resources in the island town are suitable for power generation, then we will promote these geothermal areas to investors for geothermal energy exploration, development and utilization,” Fronda said.

Fronda highlighted the benefits a host community could receive from the geothermal projects through a government share which is equal to one percent of the gross income of renewable energy resource developers, where 40% of it will be given to local government.

Fronda said pursuant to ER 1-94, a host community could also acquire one centavo for every KW-hour of electricity generated, which will be given through the form of an electrification fund (EF), development and livelihood fund (DLF) and reforestation, watershed management, health and environment enhancement fund (RWMHEEF).

Fronda stated that if these potential areas are developed, it will help address insufficient supply of diesel-powered electricity, which operates 10-12 hours daily in the region while some in Barangays still do not have proper access to electricity.

Link: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2791460080171/calayan-islands-eyed-as-potential-source-of-geothermal-energy

Geothermal Capable of Enhancing Air Quality in Polish Metropolitan Areas

In an interview with the media, Poland’s Minister for the Environment, Jan Szyszko, stated that “the main renewable energy source in major metropolitan areas in Poland should be geothermal energy, and in rural areas – biomass.” According to Szysko, this is one method of reducing carbon emissions.

Air quality is a top priority for the Polish Ministry of the Environment. Currently, this cornerstone issue is, in a word, clouded, which poses a large problem in metropolitan areas in Poland. To solve this air pollution issue, new technologies of combustion burning both coal and other energy sources is crucial. Renewable energy sources could thereby play a major role and the primary source of cleaning up air should be geothermal, opined Szysko.

In the interview, the Minister reminds that Poland is rich with extensive geothermal potential and, according to Professor Julian Sokolowski, the country’s geothermal resources exceed tens of times the country’s heat demand.

He noted that geothermal can be harnessed throughout the year, and, as a baseload power, around the clock, regardless of “whether it is dark, whether it is light or the wind blows or it rains.”

According to the Minister of geothermal resources in Poland, they are relatively well-cataloged, but must be further specified.

When asked if geothermal energy will be in a special way supported, as in, for example, the framework of the National Fund programs, the minister stressed that it was supported by the Fund in the years 2005-2007, when PiS was previously in power.

The current government of Poland intends to emphasize reducing carbon emissions and views “renewable energy as a priority.”

The development of renewable energy sources is currently overseen by the Ministry of Energy, but there is a close degree of cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture. Poland has experienced several serious delays in cutting down carbon emissions and is under pressure of potential sanctions from the European Union.

Link:  http://www.thinkgeoenergy.com/geothermal-could-improve-air-quality-in-metropolitan-areas-of-poland/

Kenya to Further Harness Rift Valley Geothermal and Boost Private Sector Investment in Renewables

Following African Development Bank (AfDB) support, Kenya recently received approval from the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CIF-CTF) for a $29.65 million concessional loan to co-finance a total of two geothermal projects to increase the country’s power capacity, especially drawing on untapped geothermal resources in the Rift Valley. The Concessional Finance Program for Geothermal Generation will build on the energy advancements already underway in the successful development of the country’s showcase Menengai Geothermal Field.

The CTF funds will establish a concessional lending program created to ensure the projects’ financial viability and commercial bankability by shoring up conventional financing and eliminating barriers to private investment. The program will support up to two geothermal generation projects structured as Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and will be implemented following AfDB support.

“Kenya is already demonstrating its ability to reshape its energy future by developing its vast geothermal resources through Menengai,” said Joao Duarte Cunha, AfDB’s Coordinator for CTF. “But it still faces market barriers to full deployment of its renewables. This infusion of capital will thus serve to build investor confidence and improve bankability of these vital resources. Furthermore, the success of the IPPs developed in this program can serve as a beacon for other countries looking to achieve similar green energy goals.”

Transformation of the geothermal energy sector is a core aim of Kenya’s economic growth plan for its expanding and increasingly urbanizing population. In its “Vision 2030,” Kenya identified energy and electricity as a key element of its economic transformation, with geothermal as the leading technology. It is estimated that by 2020, the country’s projected installed energy capacity will triple from 2,177 MW to 6,766 MW, with geothermal contributing approximately 2,000 MW.

To deliver this sustainable energy future, the government acknowledges that it must foster a stable investment climate for private sector participation in the energy sector, expanding transmission and distribution networks to deliver power to customers, maintaining a creditworthy off-taker and cost-reflective tariffs, and reducing inefficiency in the sector to support more affordable end-user tariffs. A key government measure in this regard is to promote IPP schemes selected through international competitive bidding processes to enhance investment flows from the private sector into the power sector.

In a market where electrification is only 23% and private investment remains modest, the CTF-supported program will play a vital role by: creating a demonstration effect showcasing that the structure is economically viable for private investors, providing support and building a track record in a nascent market and reducing the country’s dependence on hydro- and thermal power sources by contributing to the deployment of a maximum of 70 MW of clean, reliable and baseload renewable power.

The program in question forms part of the CTF’s Dedicated Private Sector Program (DPSP), designed to finance programs that can deliver development results, impact, private sector leverage and investment at scale and can be deployed rapidly and efficiently.

Kenya’s CTF DPSPII program will complement its CIF Investment Plan already in place under the CIF’s Program to Scale Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP), through which Kenya has undertaken its game-changing Menengai Geothermal Program, a showcase of the CIF’s worldwide mitigation activities.

Link:  http://en.starafrica.com/news/kenya-to-tap-into-rift-valley-geothermal-resources-and-strengthen-private-sector-investment-in-renewable-energy.html

Chevron’s $3 Billion Asian Sale Thought to Attract CIC, Ormat

Sovereign fund China Investment Corp., Malakoff Corp. and Ormat Technologies Inc. are among several companies contemplating bids for Chevron Corp.’s Asian geothermal assets, which could bring in as much as $3 billion, according to insiders.

Philippine geothermal energy producers Energy Development Corp. and Aboitiz Power Corp. and Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp. are also considering offers for the assets, those knowledgable said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Mitsubishi Corp. and Jakarta-based PT Medco Power Indonesia are individually investigating potential bids, according to company officials.

Chevron, the largest U.S. oil producer after Exxon Mobil Corp., has slashed headcount and canceled drilling projects to slow the exodus of cash as prices in the world energy markets plummet. The company is simultaneously seeking buyers for its stake in an Indonesian oil and natural gas field and for a 75% stake in its South African unit, according to inside sources.

The San Ramon, California-based company joins ConocoPhillips and Apache Corp. in selling assets as oil prices hover near their lowest level in over a decade. Brent, the global benchmark, dropped 35% last year for a third annual loss.

Citigroup Inc., which is advising Chevron on the geothermal asset sale, will call for indicative bids by the end of May, the people said. Deliberations are currently at an early stage, and there is no certainty the suitors will submit bids, according to insiders. Several potential buyers are reportedly considering partnering for joint offers.

A spokesman for Mitsubishi, who asked not to be named citing company policy, said by phone the Japanese company is “studying whether or not to bid.” Medco Power President Director Fazil Alfitri said by phone the company is interested in acquiring Chevron’s geothermal assets and will seek a partner for a joint bid. The Indonesian company is jointly owned by local investment firm PT Saratoga Investama Sedaya and oil and gas producer PT Medco Energi Internasional.

A spokesman for Chevron stated the company does not comment on mergers, acquisitions or divestitures of its assets.

CIC and Malakoff didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment, while a spokesman for Ormat said he couldn’t immediately comment. Representatives for Citigroup, EDC and Marubeni declined to comment. Aboitiz Power President Erramon Aboitiz didn’t return mobile-phone messages seeking comment.

Chevron’s main Asian geothermal holdings are located in Indonesia and the Philippines. It owns Indonesia’s Salak fields, which are one of the world’s largest geothermal operations and supply a power plant with 377 megawatts of total capacity, according to its website. Chevron also has a 40% interest in Philippine Geothermal Production Co.

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-12/cic-ormat-malakoff-said-to-weigh-bids-for-chevron-asian-assets

Enertech Celebrates 20 years in the Geothermal Industry

June 2016 will mark 20 years in the geothermal industry for Enertech Global. Steve and Karen Smith founded the original company, Enertech Inc., in 1996 as a geothermal heat pump distributor. They were inspired to develop a better workplace for their employees while simultaneously focusing on creating the best service for their customers.

“We never really had any aspirations to start our own business. I would come home and tell Karen that there are so many things outside of my control that I can’t change. To take care of our customer friends, I felt that we had an obligation to start a business so that we could focus on them and not on other issues. That was really the catalyst to us starting Enertech,” Steve Smith said.

Throughout the years, Enertech has experienced remarkable growth, expanding from a few dedicated employees at a kitchen table to a large-scale manufacturer conducting business at an international level. Enertech took its first step toward this goal in 2003, when it began distributing its own geothermal brand, built under contract. In 2007, Enertech moved into manufacturing with the acquisition of the Hydron Module brand.

Currently, Enertech manufactures three brands of residential and commercial geothermal products in an 80,000 square foot facility in Mitchell, SD, and employees over 100 people. In 2014 Enertech became part of NIBE Industrier AB, an 8,000 employee-strong European company and the largest geothermal heat pump manufacturer in the world. With the company’s additional support, Enertech has been able to continue focusing on innovative product design, industry leading warranty, and top-notch customer service.

“We are proud of how far we have come since those early days in 1996,” Smith said, “And we look forward to continuing to set new standards in the geothermal industry.”

Link: http://www.proudgreenhome.com/news/enertech-celebrates-20-years-in-the-geothermal-industry/

Notice of Little Hoover Commission Hearing on the Salton Sea, April 25, 2016

On Monday, April 25, 2016, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing to revisit the progress the state has made in managing the Salton Sea, as outlined in its September 2015 report, Averting Disaster: Action Now for the Salton Sea. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

In that study, the Commission found the state had been mired in a seemingly endless study process that frequently was sidetracked by stakeholders unable to compromise or accept budgetary realities. As the Commission conducted its study process, however, the state began taking action on the Salton Sea. Notably, in May 2015, the administration convened a Salton Sea Task Force, which later released agency-specific action items on managing the Salton Sea. In September 2015, the Governor appointed an assistant secretary for Salton Sea policy within the Natural Resources Agency. Acknowledging the growing momentum, the Commission recommended the state look for ways to expedite projects, explore means to raise funds and begin planning the next phase of projects, and committed to following up on the state’s short- and medium-term plans in April 2016.

At the hearing, the Commission will first hear from the assistant secretary for Salton Sea Policy in the Natural Resources Agency; the general manager/executive director for the Salton Sea Authority; and the government affairs and communications officer for the Imperial Irrigation District on the state’s short- and medium-term plans for the Salton Sea, its planning process and the role of the local agencies. It then will hear from the air pollution control officer for the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District on his role in the planning process and the impact the short- and medium-term plans would have on air quality. Following them will be a senior research associate for the Pacific Institute, who will present the environmental community’s perspective on the state’s process and plans.

There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. The Commission also encourages written comments. Immediately following the hearing, the Commission will hold a business meeting in Room 175 at 925 L Street in Sacramento.

All public notices for meetings are on the Commission’s website, http://www.lhc.ca.gov. If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Monday, April 18, 2016.

Press Release: LUCELEC Slated to Meet With Geothermal Developer to Harness Geothermal in St. Lucia

Saint Lucia is on target to begin geothermal exploratory drilling.

The recently completed surface exploration studies, designed to better understand the geothermal resource conditions, suggest that the resource exists outside of the Sulphur Springs area and outside of the Piton Management Area (PMA). This is good news as earlier concerns about threats to the integrity of the PMA by this project will now be precluded.

The final technical report on these surface exploration activities will be discussed at a series of high level geothermal meetings from April 12-14, 2016 at the Bay Gardens Inn, Rodney Bay.

In addition, meetings will be held between LUCELEC and the proposed geothermal developer to reach consensus on a term sheet towards the signing of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), and a term sheet between Government and the geothermal developer to reach consensus on a Geothermal Development Agreement (GDA).

This week`s meetings will further advance the Geothermal Resource Development Project.

The development of the geothermal resource is in keeping with the Government’s policy objective of reducing Saint Lucia’s dependence on fossil fuels for energy generation. In 2014, Saint Lucia committed to achieving a national target of meeting 35% of its energy requirements from renewable sources by the year 2020.

The Government of Saint Lucia envisages that developing the country’s geothermal resource is a key strategy and a practicable way to meet this sustainable energy target. In light of this policy objective, the Government obtained financial assistance and technical support from a number of development partners to advance efforts towards the development of the country’s geothermal resource.

The World Bank assisted Saint Lucia in accessing approximately US$2 million from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the SIDS DOCK Support Program for the Geothermal Resource Development Project. Technical assistance valued at US$800,000 was received from the Government of New Zealand and $500,000 of in-kind support was received from the Clinton Climate Initiative to assist this initiative.

Government has secured the services of a Consultant to assist with the ongoing negotiations with a qualified geothermal developer, to invest in the geothermal wells, the steam gathering system and the geothermal power plant. In addition, Government is in the process of securing the services of Consultants, who will carry out an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) including public consultations, as well as a pre-feasibility assessment to decide whether to proceed with the exploratory drilling stage.

It is expected that this phase of the Geothermal Development Project should be completed by the first quarter of 2017, with a view to commencing exploratory drilling in a new resource development area by 2018.

Link: http://www.stlucianewsonline.com/lucelec-set-to-meet-with-proposed-geothermal-developer-to-utilize-geothermal-energy-in-st-lucia/
GEA Seeks Entries for the Best in Geothermal: Sixth Annual GEA Honors

On March 25, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) announced a call for entries for GEA Honors 2016, a program designed to showcase the most inspiring developments in the geothermal industry. Nominations are currently being accepted for the awards program. An application may be submitted for more than one award category. This year, awards will be given to the geothermal industry in the following categories:

Technological Advancement: Awarded to an individual or company that has developed a new, innovative or pioneering technology to further geothermal development.

Environmental Stewardship: Awarded to an individual or company that has fostered outstanding environmental stewardship through the use of geothermal systems.

Economic Development: Awarded to an individual or company that has made a substantial contribution to the development of local, regional or national markets through the development of geothermal systems.

Special Recognition: Nominations will also be accepted for special recognition of individuals and companies for outstanding achievement in the geothermal industry.

The GEA Honors program deadline for nominations is Friday, May 13. Winners will be announced on June 7 at a reception kicking off GEA’s Baseload Renewable Energy Summit in Reno. To submit an application, please visit: http://geo-energy.org/GEAHonors.aspx.

Last year’s GEA Honors award winners included Senator Harry Reid, Senator Ben Hueso, CEC Geothermal Grant and Loan Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Ormat Technologies, Enel Green Power North America, and Cyrq Energy.

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