This post brings you geothermal headlines from the USA, Philippines, Iceland, and the UK.
Iceland’s Bjarnarflag Power Plant area
Image Credit: FutureIceland
USA – Clean-Energy Startup Raises $1.3 Million for Geothermal Drilling Technology
HyperSciences aims to launch high-powered projectiles into the earth as a drilling technique to locate geothermal resources.
A Spokane company has raised $1.3 million to develop technology that launches fast-moving projectiles into the earth to find areas of geothermal potential.
HyperSciences is led by aerospace engineer Mark Russell, previously the lead engineer at Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space-exploration company.
The startup, which has seven team members listed on its website, has raised $1.29 million of a $2 million funding round, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. HyperSciences previously received grant money from Shell GameChanger, a program that awards money to companies trying to find energy solutions.
HyperSciences creates drilling technology that aims to make it more efficient to drill into the earth and find energy sources by using high-powered projectiles to break through rock and dirt. The company plans eventually to tap into heat from the earth, or geothermal energy, Russell told the Pacific Northwest Inlander newspaper in Spokane.
Asia and the Pacific
Philippines – Petition vs. EDC Geothermal Expansion On
Environmental groups in Negros Oriental handed over a copy of more than 3,000 petition signatures to Valencia Mayor Edgar Teves to stop the Energy Development Corporation’s 60 MW geothermal expansion project at Cuernos de Negros, or Mt. Talinis.
The 350 Pilipinas coordinator Zephanie Repollo said the mayor showed support to the groups and committed to ensuring transparency of the project, a recent government press release said.
The Office of the Mayor will likewise arrange a dialog among the complainants, officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the EDC.
The dialogue aims to bring answers to questions raised by the different environmental groups regarding EDC’s alleged non-disclosure of its development plans, Repollo said.
EDC is waiting for an environmental compliance certificate for its proposed development block, which covers an additional 60 MW.
However, in a recent media briefing, EDC Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit senior manager, Vicente Omandam, explained that the latest expansion will utilize approximately 30 hectares within the “development block” of the firm’s Southern Negros Geothermal Field in Valencia and not at Mt. Talinis, as claimed by the environmental groups.
Omandam said the expansion will be distributed in six sites within EDC’s existing geothermal fields and power plants.
The groups have clamored for full transparency of EDC’s proposed development block and demanded that there will be no more expansion at Cuernos de Negros.
Forest Management Bureau director Ricardo Calderon of DENR recently clarified that EDC has not yet applied for tenure for a particular area which needs clearance from a local government and endorsement from concerned agencies before a project will push through.
Iceland – Iceland’s Landsvirkjun to Renew Turbines of 3-MW Geothermal Station
Landsvirkjun, the National Power Company of Iceland, will renew the geothermal turbines in the old Bjarnarflag geothermal station in the Lake Myvatn area in the northern sector of Iceland, it said last Friday.
The facility has an installed capacity of 3 MW and generates about 18 GWh of electricity per year.
Landsvirkjun is launching a call for tenders for the work, which is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2017.
Bjarnarflag started electricity generation in 1969 and is Iceland’s oldest geothermal station. The turbines in the station, made by British-Thomson Houston (BTH), were previously used in a sugar refinery in the UK from 1934.
Landsvirkjun said that while no longer playing a significant role in Iceland’s power generation, the station produces all the energy that the local area needs. In addition, it provides heat to the local heating utility and water to nature baths at Lake Myvatn.
UK – ThinkGeoEnergy: BREXIT Could Mean an End to Geothermal Ambitions in Cornwall
The recent referendum results on an exit of the UK from the European Union, aptly named Brexit, may also affect the geothermal sector, at least in Cornwall in England.
Considered a structural and economically weak area, the region was set to receive up to GBP 2.5 billion in cash funding by 2020 under a scheme that would have matched public and private investment.
Besides funding for broadband connections, infrastructure investments etc., it would have also supported a geothermal project in Cornwall that aimed to exploit “hot rocks” under the surface.
Without that funding, ThinkGeoEnergy notes that it is unlikely that this project will continue. If it has an effect to the overall ambitions is unsure.
There are further fears in the academic community on funding for research projects with geothermal energy topics at universities in Great Britain.