This post brings you geothermal headlines from Kenya, Bolivia, Canada, USA, the Philippines, and Iceland.
Attendees at Iceland’s 2015 Secret Solstice festival, a carbon-neutral event powered by geothermal energy.
Africa and the Middle East
Kenya – Land Acquired for Phase 1 of Kenya’s Baringo-Silali Project
In a recent release by Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company (GDC), GDC reports that it has signed a land agreement pact with affected communities in the Baringo area, thus paving way for the commencement of Phase one of the Baringo-Silali project.
A meeting this morning between GDC’s Managing Director and CEO, Eng. Johnson P. Ole Nchoe, and the KfW Country Director, Dr. Klaus Liebig has reaffirmed that the Baringo-Silali project will commence soon.
“I am happy to report that GDC has signed a land agreement with affected communities thus paving way for completion of a legal opinion to KfW, and the subsequent disbursement of funds for the project,” said Eng. Johnson P. Ole Nchoe.
Speaking during the meeting, the KfW Country Director, Dr. Klaus Liebig noted that “due to the importance of the Baringo-Silali project, KfW deliberately decided to finance exploration drilling which is one of the riskiest phases of geothermal development which, when successful unlocks further financing.” He added that “we are ready to start the project and we are happy to partner with GDC in this very important project for Kenya, for GDC and for KfW.”
“The Baringo-Silali Project is top on my priority list; having reached an agreement with land owners, we are moving closer to breaking ground,” noted Eng. Ole Nchoe. GDC has already signed a water supply system contract and a drilling services contract. The drilling services contractor, is getting ready for the contract execution. Under the contract, the contractor will drill of 15-20 wells in the Baringo-Silali Block.
KfW, a German government-owned development bank, is financing GDC’s Baringo-Silali geothermal project at a cost of Euros 80 Million or approximately Kshs 8 billion.
Bolivia – Country Receives Funding for 5 MW Laguna Colorada Geothermal Project
The Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB) will provide loan funding to the National Electricity Company (ENDE) for the construction of 65 MW of renewable energy plants in the region of Potosi, including the 5 MW Laguna Colorada geothermal project. Bolivia is currently home to about 40 MW of installed renewable energy power generation capacity and aims to attain approximately 500 MW in total capacity by 2018-2019.
Canada – HS Orka to Drill New Borehole in Iceland
HS Orka, the Icelandic subsidiary of Canadian renewable energy firm Alterra Power Corp., recently released details surrounding a geothermal borehole drilling program to dig 5,000 meters belowground at its Reykjanes geothermal plant. With the intention to harness geothermal energy suitable to power production, HS Orka expects to uncover temperatures as high as 500 C below the fully operational 100 MW generating plant.
Backed by a $2.4 million contribution from Alterra, the $11.5 million project will be funded by Norway’s national energy company, Statoil, an EU grant, a pair Icelandic power firms and several additional European entities. While the Canadian subsidiary will operate the drilling project with its consortium partners, Alterra remarked that any resulting power will be owned by HS Orka.
At a depth of about 5 km, the geothermal hole will constitute one of the deepest drilled in Iceland to date.
Alterra is slated to commence work on the project later this year during summer 2016.
USA – Intersection Spillage Highlights Boise, Idaho’s Victorian Geothermal Heating System
On April 24, 2016, hot water poured into an intersection in downtown Boise. Steam filled the air as a leak from the city’s underground geothermal line called attention to a system often forgotten in the public’s mind.
One of the plaques on a building in downtown Boise demarcates it uses the capital’s geothermal line. The geothermal water is pumped from Boise’s foothills and used to heat buildings and water.
Since 1890, 177-degree-water has been piped from a nearby reservoir to warm homes and businesses while providing hot baths. It was a landmark step forwards in America’s geothermal history, the first heating system of its kind in the states, servicing Victorian homes and hotels in Boise.
Currently, the system has made updates, but the basic science and product remains what it was over a century ago. Geothermal Coordinator Jon Gunnerson highlights several downtown buildings that use geothermal energy, like the YMCA.
“They heat all their pools and showers with the geothermal water, we provide it to the Hampton Inn in BoDo,” explained Gunnerson. “They’re heating all their laundry facilities, pool and space heating. One Capital Center, Idaho Independent Bank, Banner Bank …”
Many government offices, including City Hall and the Ada County Courthouse, utilize geothermal heating. Almost a dozen Boise State buildings are also positioned on the geothermal line.
Still, the geothermal system is restricted by its very nature: Gunnerson says the further away it gets from its origin in the foothills, the cooler the water gets, limiting heating to downtown Boise.
Asia and the Pacific
The Philippines – Iceland’s New Free Trade Deal Offers Opportunities for Filipino Geothermal Projects
Following nearly a year of negotiations, a free-trade deal between the EFTA nations and the Philippines was signed in Bern, Switzerland on April 28, 2016.
Iceland constitutes one of four Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which includes Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
“This deal is cause for celebration,” remarked Icelandic Foreign Minister Lilja Alfreðsdóttir. “It gives Icelanders better access to Philippine markets and offers exciting opportunities, including in the field of geothermal energy.”
Iceland – Island Nation Will Host Carbon-Neutral Concert Thanks to Geothermal Energy
The Secret Solstice music festival, slated to take place in Reykjavik, Iceland June 2016, was recently certified as an international CarbonNeutral event for the year.
The Secret Solstice festival which occurs in Laugardalur, a park in central Reykjavik, since 2014 has been making green efforts, ensuring it limits its impact on the environment.
“At Iceland’s Secret Solstice that’s not an option,” writes The Guardian. “The sun never sets over the three-day music festival, which is held in mid-June outside the capital Reykjavik. Because of its close proximity to the Arctic Circle the sun only bounces off the horizon at 3.30am and it never gets dark.” Eco-friendly geothermal energy is used for all the festival’s energy needs. Event organizers have taken several measures to offset the concert’s carbon output as well.
The CarbonNeutral certification means that Secret Solstice now becomes one of the world’s only major International music festivals that will be verified CarbonNeutral® in 2016.
“While almost all events rely heavily on things like diesel-burning generators, or non-renewable sources of mains power to bring music to the masses, our on-site energy needs are provided by Mother Nature herself, in the form of volcano-powered and 100%-renewable geothermal power. This is one of the major factors that allows us to go green much easier than most of the planet’s major music festivals,” the announcement states.