Nevada Heats up for Baseload Summit, Exciting International Geothermal Projects


Check out Power Struggle’s feature story on geothermal in Latin America!

Image Credit: Miravalles Geothermal Plant/Copyright Fabiola Ortiz

In this post:
*Summit in Reno to Highlight Future Role of Geothermal and Baseload Renewables
*GEA Seeks Entries for the Best in Geothermal: Sixth Annual GEA Honors
*St Kitts Geothermal Findings to Be Released Soon
*Eastland Group Press Release: Excitement Brewing for (New Zealand) Geothermal Project
*Alberta Will House Canada’s First Abandoned Oil Well-to-Geothermal Conversion
*Indonesian Government Moves Forward on Geothermal Development Plans

Summit in Reno to Highlight Future Role of Geothermal and Baseload Renewables

Reno, NV — In many ways, Reno, Nevada is the perfect location for June 2016’s Baseload Renewable Energy Summit, hosted by the Geothermal Energy Association and co-host, Ormat. Second only to California in terms of geothermal-produced electricity, Nevada is transitioning to a clean energy grid at a fast pace. Nevada’s own Senator Dean Heller noted at an industry conference earlier in the year, “I want to see the day Reno is powered only by geothermal and solar energy. I want to make sure that my grandchildren will never have to put another dollar into a gas pump.”

Nevada leads the nation in geothermal development and has many innovative projects with experts representing various aspects of the Nevada geothermal industry attending the upcoming Summit. As states like Nevada move away from fossil fuels and towards substantial renewable power supplies, the role and value of geothermal needs recognition. Studies have found geothermal power brings value and reliability to the future grid. But a key question is, how do state regulators and utilities recognize those values in order to build a clean and reliable 21st Century power system?
Confirmed presentations by Nevadans include a video welcome address by the Honorable Nevada Senator Harry Reid; panelist Jack McGinley of NV Energy, a geothermal leader in the state whose customers benefit from 385 megawatts of geothermal energy from NV Energy plants; Gene Seidlitz, the Acting Deputy State Director of BLM Nevada; and Angela Dykema, Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy, both representing Nevada’s exceptional commitment to renewable energy – geothermal in particular.

An array of diverse speakers will discuss pressing baseload issues and policy trends over the course of the Summit. The panels offer an exciting mix of presentations and dialogue from industry experts, from utilities highlighting the value of baseloads in the power grid, the integration of baseloads into state-level RPSs and carbon reduction plans to combat climate change, current market issues in the west, and policies imperative for the success of baseload technologies to level the playing field with other renewables.

The Summit is fast approaching, and this year, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is including a new spin to the annual event. The 2016 theme “Baseload Renewable Technologies: Keys for Economic Growth and Environmental Quality” will feature the combined voices of geothermal, hydropower, and biomass and focus on the future prospects of these three baseload renewable energy resources.

For more information about the event, registration, opportunities for sponsorship, and a tentative agenda, please refer to the following link:

Early-bird discount rates end May 6th.

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:

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.

St Kitts Geothermal Findings to Be Released Soon

The results of the recent geothermal exploration performed in St Kitts are slated to be revealed soon according to energy minister Ian Liburd.

The Guadeloupe-based engineering company Teranov commenced feasibility studies in St Kitts in November 2015.

“As we speak, the findings of the geophysicist, the geochemist and the geologist are being evaluated at the University of France in Paris and in the next couple of weeks we will be able to have an announcement as it relates to the affirmative as to whether it’s there or not,” Liburd explained to a local station.

Liburd expects that the findings will point to the presence of sizable reserves of geothermal potential for long-term electricity generation on the island.

“The exploration studies that are ongoing as I speak, the preliminary findings so far are positive, and once we establish that resource in St Kitts we are looking at a geothermal plant of some 25 megawatts and that is a base load.”

Liburd went on to explain that the government’s efforts to reduce the cost of electricity for consumers involve more than reliance on potential geothermal energy alone. Two solar energy farms are now incorporated into the national energy grid and the nation’s government is finalizing arrangements for the construction of a wind farm.

“We are looking way down the road in terms of providing some relief for our consumers in bringing the cost of [energy] down. Another intermittent resource we are looking at is wind. We’re looking at the Northstar project; we are in possession of a power purchase agreement from the investor. It’s now at the Legal Department and we’re also soliciting the input of the Finance Department before it goes back to the board of SKELEC to ensure that we can get into the mode of generation of energy – that’s wind.”

“We also have another proposal before us that just came to us last week; it looks to a ten megawatt solar farm – so things are looking bright for the consumers,” Liburd concluded.


Eastland Group Press Release: Excitement Brewing for (New Zealand) Geothermal Project

Excitement is brewing across both the Kawerau township and Whakatāne district as a much anticipated project launches a new phase of development.

The Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project at Kawerau is preparing to enter its first production well-drilling phase. Site works are currently underway to prepare the well-pads and later this month a well-drilling rig will be transported on site.

The Te Ahi O Maui project is located on the outskirts of Kawerau township, in the Whakatāne District, on land owned by the A8D Ahu Whenua Maori Trust. The A8D Trust is working in partnership with the Eastland Group to bring the project to fruition. Eastland Group is wholly owned by the Eastland Community Trust, a community trust similar to the Eastern Bay Energy Trust.

Tomai Fox, trustee for the Kawerau A8D Ahu Whenua Trust, says this is a huge milestone for the Trust and the realisation of a long-held dream.

“We look forward to completing this project as it will provide long-term benefits to the Trust members and community. Our project team has worked really hard to make sure the project is done in a culturally and environmentally acceptable way.”

Te Ahi O Maui Project Manager, Ben Gibson says drilling of the production well will commence on 10 May. The first stage of drilling, called ‘spudding’, will culminate in a five-inch-wide-hole into the Kawerau geothermal reservoir.

“Extensive field monitoring and computer-based modelling has shown we can expect the drilling equipment to pass through layers of varying substrates and pockets of incredibly hot geothermal steam and fluid, which could be between 200-350 degrees Celsius. It’s this high-temperature fluid and steam that will ultimately fuel the geothermal power plant.

“Well drilling and testing are critical success factors for the project’s subsequent steps. If we find what we expect, then the project is all go and we can move on to the geothermal power plant construction phase, which we expect will take between two and two-and-a-half-years,” says Mr Gibson.

Whakatane District’s Mayor, Tony Bonne, and Chief Executive, Marty Grenfell, joined Mr Gibson and Eastland Group’s Chief Executive, Matt Todd, and Board Chairman, Nelson Cull, for a site visit this week.

Mayor Bonne says he’s extremely excited about the new venture. “We know the Eastland Generation team and A8D’s Māori land owners have been working extremely hard behind the scenes for several years now and this is a really exciting next step.

“I compliment the Eastland Group Board for its vision and investment for the future. Not only will their investment benefit the people of New Zealand, through clean energy, it will provide employment to Eastern Bay people during both the construction and operation phases,” added Mayor Bonne.

The project holds resource consents for the plant’s construction and operation, which allows for the extraction and discharge of 15,000 tonnes of geothermal fluid daily from the Kawerau geothermal reservoir, for a period of 35 years. Much of this fluid is re-injected back into the geothermal reservoir so as to maintain pressure within the system.
Eastland Group chief executive, Matt Todd, says the Te Ahi O Maui project is part of Eastland Group’s strategy to develop a portfolio of renewable electricity generation and minimise the environmental impacts of its projects.

“Our project team has worked very closely with the A8D Trust, who are kaitiaki of the land, to understand and accommodate their needs as tangata whenua and to protect the mauri of the land, air and water. The A8D Trust members will meet on site for a project update and traditional blessing just prior to the commencement of drilling.”
He says the company is keen to see the new geothermal power plant provide clean base-load energy to New Zealand’s emerging alternative energy markets and play a greater role in meeting the country’s current and future energy needs.


Alberta Will House Canada’s First Abandoned Oil Well-to-Geothermal Conversion

The Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre in Devon, Alberta is redesigning an abandoned oil well to capture geothermal energy, setting a Canadian precedent.
The conversion is part of the $1.4-million Living Energy Project, which will steer the center towards becoming the world’s first carbon neutral oil museum, utilizing renewable energy systems constructed by Western Canadian oil service firms.

“Alberta has nearly 170,000 abandoned oil wells. Converting them to geothermal energy helps oil companies’ bottom line, cuts down methane leakage, produces free energy and gets oil service firms back to work,” explained manager of the Living Energy Project Mitchell Pomphrey. “It’s win-win-win for the industry, taxpayers and the environment.”

The oil well conversion’s features include North America’s largest sun-tracking solar power unit, and a wind turbine mounted on an oil rig derrick running the geosystem’s pumps.
It will allow visitors to stand surrounded by live energy production of many renewables, which they can take in with all senses as they interact with the energy systems through a touch display. Visitors will be able to use voice commands to instruct the systems to store power, provide more heat, or turn off lights.

“Albertans are known worldwide for our ingenuity and can-do spirit,” highlighted Alberta’s energy minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd. “We see opportunity where others don’t. The Living Energy Project at the Leduc discovery centre is an excellent example of how Albertans are working to create a healthier future for our province. I extend my congratulations to everyone behind this transformative project.”

Shannon Phillips, Alberta’s minister of environment and parks, concurred: “Leduc Energy Discovery Centre’s effort is a demonstration of how Alberta is building on our traditional strengths in energy development to take real steps to reduce emissions and create new opportunities in an increasingly diverse energy future.”

The technology is innovative. At the project’s core pulses an ultra-smart energy operations system, combining gas-fueled advanced combined heat and power technology that provides heat and power according to input demand. The energy operations platform also instructs the converted well’s pump to speed up or slow down as it anticipates the building’s heat needs and power peaks, making this Canada’s first smart geo-system.

“The Living Energy Project highlights the diversity, innovation and ingenuity of the Canadian energy industry and in particular shows off the continuing development of all energy resources, using renewables to help move us from the past to the future,” said president and CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada Mark Salkeld. “Canada is a recognized leader in responsible energy development and it is Canada’s ongoing responsibility to raise awareness and share so everyone can benefit from our efforts. The Living Energy Project exemplifies this.”

The project bolsters Alberta’s economic diversification, bringing in Swiss capital and German technology transfer. A key Alberta oil service company constructing the solar systems is First Nations-owned, and has grown to expanding and hiring as it creates a renewables division. The wind turbine-derrick system is made by a Calgary oil patch steel firm. Inspired by the Leduc #1 Discovery Well, these service firms have pivoted to renewables during this downturn, proving that green energy is profitable and can be married with traditional technologies in a successful hybrid fashion.


Indonesian Government Moves Forward on Geothermal Development Plans

The Indonesian government will tender eight geothermal power plants in 2016 in order to reach a goal of 7,156 MW of electricity from geothermal energy.
The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s geothermal director Yunus Saefulhak stated on Tuesday that the geothermal power plant projects tendered this year totaled around 1,160 MW and are expected to come online in 2024.

“The bidding for three of the geothermal power plants has been completed while the remaining five will be offered in stages,” Yunus said during a press conference on the forthcoming International Geothermal Convention and Exhibition (IIGCE).

The contracts for which bidding has been completed are for Way Ratai, Lampung; Marana, Central Sulawesi; and Gunung Talang Bukit Kili, West Sumatra.

The Way Ratai project site spans 70,710 hectares and contains an estimated 105 MW of reserves. According to the plan, the power plant will be able to generated an estimated 55 MW.
The Marana project, situated on 48,300 hectares, carries an estimated 36 MW in reserves and will support a power plant with 20 MW capacity. Finally, Gunung Talang Bukit Kili spans 27,000 hectares with an estimated power reserve of 65 MW and the planned power plant will have a capacity of 20 MW.

The remaining projects are Gunung Gede Pangrango, West Java; Gunung Hamiding, North Maluku; Gunung Wilis, East Java; Graho Nyabu, Bengkulu; and Gunung Geureudong, Aceh.
Yunus elaborated that the ministry had come to the decision to appoint three state-owned enterprises (SOEs) – oil and gas company PT Pertamina, geothermal power producer PT Geo Dipa Energy and electricity company PT PLN – to bring to fruition the ten geothermal power projects.

“The SOEs’ proposals are currently being evaluated but we hope the appointments will be completed by the end of this year,” Yunus said.

The government has been attempting to transition from fossil fuels, which are known to have become increasingly damaging both environmentally and financially, and the Indonesian administration aims to reach a targeted 23% renewable energy usage by 2025.

Although Indonesia is estimated to contain approximately 28 GW of geothermal potential, the country has targeted the use of geothermal energy at 7,156 MW, making it the biggest geothermal energy power producer in the world.

To date, geothermal energy comprises 1,400 MW of the country’s total installed power plant capacity of about 55,000 MW.

Earlier in the conference, the ministry’s director general of renewable energy and energy conservation Rida Mulyana stated the Indonesian government was drafting three regulations in the vein of boosting investment and quickening the development of geothermal energy sources.

The first regulation would allow regions to profit from economic benefits stemming from geothermal power plant projects, while the second regulation would cover the direct usage of geothermal resources for tourism, agriculture and industry.

The final regulation would allow private companies to conduct surveys and exploration of potential geothermal reserves with a minimum three drill holes. If activity proves successful, the company would receive the right to a direct appointment over the area.

The third regulation would stipulate that tenders should emphasize a company’s proposed work program and commitment to exploration over electricity selling prices.

Indonesian Geothermal Association head Abadi Purnomo opined the government should issue the three regulations as soon as is feasible as foreign investors were eager to plunge into the Indonesian geothermal power sector and its vast untapped resources.

“For example, investors from New Zealand have shown great interest,” Purnomo explained.

Purnomo elaborated that the government should act fast as Indonesia required an addition of 600 MW from geothermal power plants annually in order to reach its target goals by 2025.


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