Summit to Highlight Baseload Technologies in California, Past and Upcoming Conferences, Geothermal Developments

In this post:
*Summit to Explore Role of Baseload Renewables in California’s Low Carbon Future
*Honorable Senator Patricia Spearman (D-Nev) To Be Featured Speaker at 2016 Baseload Summit
*Burisma Geothermal Announces June 2016 Monaco Forum Focused on Renewable Energy
*SMU Power Plays – Another Successful Conference
*Thanks you to GEA Members New and Renewed!
*New GEA Issue Brief Available on Senate Energy Bill
*IRS Issues Guidance for Geothermal Tax Credit
*GEA Seeks Entries for the Best in Geothermal: Sixth Annual GEA Honors
*Geothermal Hotspots Lead Nevada Energy Minerals to Areas High in Lithium
*Canada’s Untapped Geothermal Resources
*IDB Investing in Dominican Search for Geothermal Resources
*New Geothermal Drilling to Begin in Montserrat in Search of Potential Energy


SMU Power Plays Conference
Image courtesy of Patrick Hanson

Summit to Explore Role of Baseload Renewables in California’s Low Carbon Future

Washington, DC (May 5, 2016)– June 7 and 8th, energy professionals will be gathering in Reno, Nevada for the Baseload Renewable Energy Summit, to explore the role of baseload renewables – geothermal, biomass, and hydropower. In 2014, in California, these resources supplied about half of the state’s renewable power. “As the state moves towards a low-carbon future, what is the role and outlook for these technologies in the future? These are important questions for decision-makers to ask if California and the West are going to find the lowest-cost, lowest impact path to a low carbon future,” said Karl Gawell, the Geothermal Energy Association’s Executive Director.

The day long-event on June 8th will bring together experts, analysts, industry executives, regulators and policy makers from across the West. During the Summit, panels will explore key questions about: the value to the power systems of baseload renewables, how to find the right mix of technologies, future state plans for cutting carbon emissions, current state and regional power initiatives, new technologies and more.

From California, speakers include Elaine Sison-Lebrilla, Senior Project Manager, Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Barry Dong, Manager Geothermal/Biomass, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Randy Keller, Director of Development, CalEnergy; Supervisor Ryan Kelley, Imperial County, CA; Rosemaria Smallcombe, Mariposa 1 District Supervisor; Julee Malinowski Ball, Public Policy Advocates; Jim Caldwell, Board of Directors, CEERT; Drew Bohan, Chief Deputy Director, California Energy Commission; and Jan Smutny-Jones, Executive Director, Independent Energy Producers Association, among others.

The Summit is hosted by the Geothermal Energy Association, and co-hosted by the Biomass Power Association and National Hydropower Association. A preliminary agenda is available on-line at:

GEA is also pleased to announce that Senator Patricia Spearman, the state Senator from District 1 in Nevada, has confirmed to be a keynote speaker for the event. Senator Spearman was recently appointed to the New Energy Industry Task Force by Governor Sandoval. The Task Force will advise the Governor on how to promote renewable energy in the state.

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 12th.

Honorable Senator Patricia Spearman (D-Nev) To Be Featured Speaker at 2016 Baseload Summit

Politicians in Nevada, home to the upcoming 2016 Baseload Renewable Energy Summit, have a demonstrated commitment to clean, renewable energy, a pledge Sen. Patricia Spearman embodies. An advocate for geothermal, solar, and other renewables in the state government, Sen. Spearman has worked politically towards energy efficiency, sponsoring measures and bills that reduce energy costs and boost support for baseloads and other clean technologies, making the development of renewables more affordable and appealing to investors and customers alike.

Sen. Spearman also serves on Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s New Energy Industry Task Force, which is committed to promoting renewables like geothermal, improving air quality, and developing economic opportunities for Nevada’s citizens stemming from the clean energy industry. Altogether, Nevada’s politicians, epitomized by Sen. Spearman, are committed to a green future, where baseloads are integrated into the energy grid and provide around-the-clock, affordable energy.

With a background in the military and education, Sen. Spearman recently finished a doctoral program focused on energy policy and its relations to business, furthering her commitment to the energy industry. A public servant throughout her life, GEA is honored to host clean energy champion Sen. Spearman as one of our 2016 Summit’s feature speaker.

Burisma Geothermal Announces June 2016 Monaco Forum Focused on Renewable Energy

Burisma Geothermal, a branch of Burisma Holdings, is pleased to announce that together with the Prince Albert II Foundation and the Electric Marathon, they will be holding the First International Forum Energy for the Future on June, 2, 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Burisma Geothermal will be joined by reputable speakers, including esteemed Polish President Kwasniewski, Joschka Fischer, former Vice Chancellor of Germany, European Commissioner for Energy (2004-2009) Andris Piebalgs, current President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE Ilkka Kanerva and others. Apart from the speakers, Burisma is inviting experts, diplomats and NGOs to offer their vision and be a part of the conversation.

Burisma has consistently advocated for energy efficiency and security. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that this issue requires teamwork. Burisma’s goal, among many, as a result of this Forum, is to bring together global experience and draw attention to unconventional energy sources.

Together with Burisma’s partners, the company is hoping to make this Forum an annual occasion. The upcoming event is focused on renewables in general and geothermal energy in particular.

For more information, contact:

+38 096 651 26 08

Venue: Yacht Club de Monaco

Date: June 2, 2016

Time: 15:00-18:00

Kindly reply before May 1, 2016:

SMU Power Plays – Another Successful Conference   

by Patrick Hanson, TNG Energy Services, and Geo Energy Marketing Services, and 

Maria Richards, SMU Geothermal Lab

The SMU Geothermal Lab hosted their 8th Power Plays: Geothermal Energy in Oil and Gas Fields conference on April 25 and 26th on campus at SMU in Dallas, Texas. The event drew over 120 attendees, sponsors and speakers, making this event significant despite both industries operating at relatively low points domestically.

Dallas Morning News Reporter, Jeffrey Weiss put it best, “The event pulled together an unusual mix: Academics, oil company bosses, people hawking heat-transfer equipment, geothermal experts and a few environmentalists.” We believe it takes a unique mix of energy thought leaders to push these innovations towards becoming commercially viable, scalable projects nationwide.

This year was the first time in seven previous conferences, where the O&G attendees outnumbered those from the geothermal industry. This was an encouraging milestone, as it’s the O&G industry that must be further educated of the opportunities for energy development, waste reduction and cost savings from these efficiency initiatives.

Sponsors such as Anadarko, InnerGeo LLC, Deep River Group LLC, SMU Cox Maguire Energy Institute and Society of Petroleum Engineers were instrumental in providing a platform for the new technologies, projects and research to be presented. Having their support further adds to the credibility of these efforts and the Power Plays conference itself.

Many people were quoted, attributing this conference as ground zero for the evolution of their companies, business development leads and or funding opportunities. Companies such as LoCap Energy and Helidyne LLC are in existence today due to the SMU Power Plays Conference and the energy leaders it attracts. Miguel Ángel Benítez Torreblanca, with iiDEA Group said, “This conference has been a great opportunity to be involved and noticed in the geothermal industry, share our projects and collaborate with international partners, making it a must when it comes to geothermal events.”

Notable highlights from a packed day of technical presentations include; Timothy Reinhardt with the DOE, outlining additional Energy Funding Opportunities; Susan Petty with Alta Rock illustrating how Coal Power Plants waste water can be converted to geothermal power; Will Gosnold with the University of North Dakota sharing their recent success of geothermal power generation on an O&G field in North Dakota (received a standing ovation); and Chad Augustine’s insight on how to compare and communicate the fundamental differences between O&G and Geothermal Energy to streamline cross-industry collaboration.

Halley Dickey, Vice President for Industrial Builders said, “I’ve been attending the SMU Power Plays Conference since the beginning.  What Dave Blackwell and Maria Richards have done is nothing short of extraordinary.  They have engaged the entire geothermal community in supporting, exploring and developing both old and new technologies in extracting useable grid power from oil and gas byproducts; geo-fluids and geo-pressured gas, to create new opportunities for geothermal participants to develop those resources into power.  This year we saw a new sophistication beyond low temp coproduced fluids, into the advancement of well design technologies as well as alternative revenue streams from frac-water and co-produced brine.  With the support of the DOE and the National Labs, it is exciting to still be a part of this cutting edge leadership.”

Torreblanca, continued with, “The SMU Power Plays conference gathers leading members of the geothermal community including government, academia and private industry. The informal atmosphere brings out the conversation naturally, making you feel among friends after meeting with past and new attendees.”

The quality of the posters, productivity of the networking reception, interest level and excitement from the technical presentations left all who attended rejuvenated with hope and vigor to continue the development of geothermal energy from oil and gas fields.

The SMU Geothermal Lab, led by Dr. Matthew Hornbach and Maria Richards, continues to be the catalyst that effectively bridges the gap between the geothermal and oil and gas industries. Perhaps, it’s their proximity – being in the heart of oil land, with an academic focus on a geothermal resource not traditional to the Central Time Zone, or it’s Maria Richard’s infectious personality coupled by the Geothermal Lab Student’s groundbreaking work. Either way, the SMU Power Plays conference delivers each time, regardless of the states of the industries.

For more information on this or previous conferences, visit and watch the Periscope Twitter feeds from Patrick Hanson @GeoEnergyMrktg.

Thanks you to GEA Members New and Renewed!

GEA works to put geothermal on the map in Washington, Sacramento, and elsewhere. We depend upon our members support to do so.   If we succeed we hope we make a difference so that your company can succeed.

This week we want to thank to following new/renewed GEA Members:

Veizades & Associates

Global Power Solutions

International Cooling Tower

Watch for more thank you’s in future editions of GEW! If you need information about membership go to: or contact


New GEA Issue Brief Available on Senate Energy Bill

GEA staff have prepared an Issue Brief outlining the geothermal provisions of S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act as passed by the Senate. As amended the bipartisan Senate Energy Bill could strengthen the nation’s commitment to geothermal development by addressing several regulations that impede geothermal project progress, provide parity with other industries, ease the exploratory process, and streamline project permitting.

The issue brief is now available on GEA’s website at

IRS Issues Guidance for Geothermal Tax Credit

The IRS has issued guidance for the geothermal production tax credit that seeks to clarify some issues particularly about their “continuity safe harbor rule,” what constitutes an “excusable disruption” and their “physical work test.”

The guidance is available at:
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.

Geothermal Hotspots Lead Nevada Energy Minerals to Areas High in Lithium

As the lithium-dependent energy revolution unfolds, with lithium providing the basis for everything from Tesla batteries to medicine, prices for the mineral rise and supply remains limited. A forward-thinking industry newcomer exploring America’s ground-zero lithium state of Nevada, predicting that there are sources of lithium beyond Clayton Valley.

The lithium market is competitive, with companies scrambling to obtain the most desirable new mining acreage and racing against each other to accelerate production. Nevada is America’s lithium ground zero, the nesting ground for a lithium boom that feeds into manufacturers of a wide range of products like EVs, battery gigafactories, powerwalls and energy storage solutions for consumer electronics.

Lithium demand for electric vehicles alone, itself a lucrative market, is staged to jump by 70,000 tons each time EV market share rises just 1%. However, this model leaves the launch of Tesla’s Model 3 EV on 31 March unaccounted for, which raked in 325,000 advance sales totaling $14 million in a single week, mainstreaming electric cars for the foreseeable future. Taking into account just the EV market and not including the rising demand for lithium for consumer electronics and the need for massive power storage solutions, the lithium market may triple by 2025.

These factors have transformed a heretofore undesirable area of Nevada-Clayton Valley-one of the most significant places in America’s mineral market. Though most companies focus on Clayton Valley, Nevada’s geothermal footprint hints at a far greater potential.

This wide geothermal footprint – pointing towards lithium resources – is what Nevada Energy Metals hopes to invest in. The company employs a unique strategy that focuses not only on booming Clayton Valley, but what’s “hiding in plain” site in other Nevada locations.

“The lithium business is not a flash in the pan; it is here to stay, and I am looking at it like the start of the oil boom in the U.S. when there were oil derricks up to every 50 feet,” industry veteran Malcolm Bell, advisory board member and head of acquisitions for Nevada Energy Metals, told

And because Nevada Energy Metals sees the lithium game as anything but a “flash in the pan”, it’s altering the structure of the market entirely. In its wake, it’s transforming the lithium playing field in the state into an area attractive to investors seeking a foothold in the region. The company has positioned itself as a “project generator”-not a one-off explorer in Clayton Valley.

Geology has everything to do with it, and the geothermal footprints are large.

“There are enough locations that have geological similarities to Clayton Valley that are in other parts of Nevada State,” Bells said.

Nevada Energy Metals is wholly about pure plays in Nevada with no royalties. It focuses on innovative management, casting a wider exploration net to stake out future lithium supplies. The company focuses on uniting a brain trust of geologists to investigate what many believe is a state that contains a lot more lithium than previously imagined.

The corporate objectives are attractive to lithium investors: to reduce risk not only by owning 100% of the majority of projects, but by possessing a diversified portfolio of projects that taps into the wide scope of Nevada’s future potential.

Nevada Energy Metals presents a well-managed portfolio and a loyal following of investors with a mandate to be the primary Nevada project generator, negotiating joint venture partnerships to produce all future exploration expenditures. In the interim, the company will be able to select several specific projects to develop 100% in-house.

Nevada Energy Metals owns four cornerstone properties: Clayton Valley BFF-1, Alkali Lake, San Emidio, and Teels Marsh West, of which the Clayton Valley BFF-1 Lithium Project is adjacent Albermarle’s Silver Peak Mine, which constitutes the sole brine-based lithium-producing mine in America. The project area is also near Tesla’s lithium battery gigafactory. The company plans to expand into other geothermal hotspots based on compelling geology, which suggests the industry has only begun to tap into Nevada’s “white petroleum”.

Canada’s Untapped Geothermal Resources

Eager and brimming with potential, Canada’s budding geothermal industry is awaiting the right set of opportunities and circumstances to bloom.

Unfortunately, while the geothermal resources in Canada are in place, the political, financial, and industrial setup required to harness them has yet to emerge.

Constructing and implementing successful geothermal projects in Canada “has been harder than it needs to be,” said Alison Thompson, founder and president of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CANGea).

Thompson and several delegates from Canada’s geothermal industry attended Iceland Geothermal Conference where politicians, geothermal experts and scientists spanning the globe congregated to create a dynamic dialogue about the unique baseload power.

Though Canadians totaled the second largest delegation at the conference after Iceland, their home country has little to demonstrate their nation’s commitment to geothermal.

“Canada has an incredibly high quality resource and we can’t even get out of the starting gate,” Thompson said.

Maps made public by CanGEA reveal that Canada, mostly in the oil and gas rich west, is ripe with geothermal activity, which power the British Columbia’s attractive hot springs. Furthermore, the majority of the temperature of the province’s dynamic geography has previously been mapped due to high levels of natural gas drilling.

“The United States is the number one producer of geothermal energy in the world. Mexico is number four,” Thompson remarked. “I want to see Canada up in the top five.”

“We have enormous potential for geothermal energy in Canada,” Stephen Grasby, geochemist with Natural Resource Canada’s Geological Survey of Canada, added.

The “in place capacity” of geothermal energy in Canada “is well over a million times what Canadians actually use,” Grasby told reporters.

“There’s always a distinction between what’s in place and what you can extract from that and that’s where economic barriers come in,” Grasby said, elaborating the high capacity is “comforting because it says we only need to produce a tiny fraction of that to supply a significant amount of energy for Canada.”

Canada spent ten years investigating the country’s large geothermal resources during 1975 to 1985 but when the energy crisis stalled, so did the nation’s desire for renewable energy security.
However, current concerns about climate change have brought the alternative energy portfolio back into the spotlight.

In 2007 Grasby and a team of scientists and researchers started updating Canada’s prior research, ultimately discovering geothermal potential exists throughout the nation.

How one perceives geothermal potential “depends on what end use you want to make of it,” Grasby explained. “You can use it for direct heating, electricity generation or heat exchange systems.”

Geothermal plays are greatly varied, Grasby said, which means how one utilizes the resource mostly depends on what they want to do with the heat.

Grasby indicated he hopes his work at Natural Resources Canada will bolster the geothermal industry in Canada.

“We’re not a regulatory department, our main focus is to provide industry the geological information they need. That’s the one area we can help in.”

“We find the haystack and leave it to industry to find the needle,” Grasby said.

“Now we’re looking at what we can do to move things forward.”

Ben Lee, owner of Raven Thermal Services, thinks it’s unfortunate that in Canada geothermal “has always been something of an afterthought.”

Lee possessed a degree aerospace engineering and comes into the industry with a background in the oil and gas sector: Lee believes there are various, rich ways of harnessing geothermal heat effectively.

“I had a bit of an epiphany flying over Regina once in the late winter,” Lee commented.

“It was amazing to see everything was white except for this big teardrop shape off the south edge of the city.” Dominant northern winds were moving city-produced warm air south, “creating this teardrop of melt,” Lee explained.

“It just happened to be the perfect scenario for me to see that marked in the snow.”

Lee detailed that contemplating heat – how it’s generated and how it’s wasted – plays a large part in how he sees his company utilizing geothermal energy.

“How can we capture that heat and use it more efficiently?”

“A piece that gets missed in Canada is the direct heating side of geothermal,” Lee said. In regards to Iceland, Lee remarked he wanted to see how geothermal heated greenhouses used to support much of the Iceland’s agriculture.

“They’ve got greenhouses growing food in the Arctic – as if that is not applicable to Canada,” Lee explained. “I had a friend go up to the Northwest Territories and pay $16 for a single red pepper. My question is how can we leverage our geothermal resources to address our concerns about food security up north, particularly for First Nations?”

In regards to geothermal’s potential in Canada? “We can help a lot of people solve different problems with the same solution.”

But that solution is unfortunately trapped in a regulatory grey zone that is currently preventing major geothermal projects from taking off.

Despite the resource potential, Canada has zero MW of geothermal energy production.

“There’s a regulatory pathway to owning an oilsands mine in Alberta, or for opening up a coal mine,” Thompson said. “But there’s no regulatory pathway to operating geothermal.”

She highlighted that the geothermal industry doesn’t receive any of the tax benefits or incentives provided to other sectors.

“At the national tax level we’re legally disadvantaged against mining, oil and gas and other renewables.”

“We’re not looking for a hand out we’re looking for a hand up – we want parity with other industries.”

Thompson explained that with the lack of favorable tax and policy structures, finding investors to back geothermal projects, which are costly during the exploratory stage, renders development almost impossible.

“Because we can’t get the tax incentives, unless you get a geothermal lover, an investor is going to put their money elsewhere.”

“We’ve been in this valley of death,” Thompson lamented, but said she hopes public awareness about geothermal alongside increasing government interest might get things moving in a positive direction.

“We can do this. We just need to want to do it,” Thompson concluded, a commitment indicated by Canada’s high attendance at Iceland’s geothermal convention.

IDB Investing in Dominican Search for Geothermal Resources

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will provide the Dominican Energy and Mines Ministry $200,000 to conduct a 12-month study of the country’s geothermal potential and capacity to produce clean energy from these resources.

Geothermal energy can be used to generate electricity, in agriculture to moderate greenhouse temperatures in the country’s cold areas and even to build geoparks aimed at tourism tourism.

France National Geologic Survey (BRGM) executive Philippe Gombert and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) representative Flora Montealegre initialed the agreement, which was witnessed by Energy and Mines minister Antonio Isa alongside French ambassador Jose Gomez.

The “Specific Agreement to Evaluate the Geothermal Potential of the Dominican Republic” is set to determine Dominican locations of high geothermal potential – hot enough to produce electricity in areas defined as priority and secondary in 1980. The areas to evaluate are Yayas de Viajama, Canoa, Enriquillo, and San Jose de las Matas, with varying levels of potential and priority

New Geothermal Drilling to Begin in Montserrat in Search of Potential Energy

Drilling will soon commence on the island of Montserrat, creating a third exploratory well in an ongoing search for geothermal resources.

The Government of Montserrat and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) recently announced that the contract for the drilling of the third exploratory well at St Georges Hill in Montserrat was given to the Iceland Drilling Company (IDC).

A contract for approximately $7.4 million was signed on April 8th, 2016. It is expected that IDC will set development in motion in July 2016 and begin drilling in August 2016. Activity on the proposed site has already started with work underway on site clearance, construction of the drilling pad, fencing, water supply and drainage.

IDC is already experienced with the region, having drilled the first two exploratory wells on Montserrat.

Vilhjálmur Guðmundsson, the Director of Business Development in Latin America and Caribbean for IDC, remarked “We are very pleased to be reacquainting ourselves with this high profile and worthwhile project. With highly qualified experts and experience in the field of geothermal drilling using the advanced technology in drilling equipment especially adjusted to geothermal work, we are proud to be part of the important step to create 100% sustainable energy system for the people of Montserrat.”

Premier Romeo added “I am very pleased to see progress on this project, which is an integral part to the Government’s new 2016-2030 Energy Policy with the objective of Montserrat achieving 100% renewable energy by 2020. It is an ambitious target but one we must strive for. Recognising the importance of geothermal energy in our future development, GoM is currently recruiting its own geothermal programme manager, who will play a critical role in the completion of this drilling phase and in the development of the next phase of power production and distribution and the future of geothermal energy on Montserrat.”

The initial wells drilled on the island are well-suited to generate approximately 2.4 MW of baseload power. The main intent of the third well is to create a mechanism for the reinjection of waste water from the power generation process.

But, if after drilling and testing, the third well is found to offer more potential as a production well, one of the first two wells will be serve as the reinjection pathway. The reinjection process will ensure that the geothermal brine water once separated from the steam will be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.

As the drilling of the final well is undertaken, The Geothermal Steering Committee will develop the business case for the next phase of power generation and distribution.


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