PLREDA Hearing, EESI Expo, Senate Energy Bill

In this post:
*Hearing for H.R. 2663 Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act Heard
*EESI Annual Renewable Energy Expo on Capitol Hill a Success
*Strong Senate Vote Sends Energy Bill to Conference
*Thanks you to GEA Members New and Renewed!
*Potential Geothermal Development Effects on Forest Land Topic of Meeting at Jemez Pueblo
*Enel, PT ONE to Develop 55-MW Geothermal Project in Indonesia
*New York GEO Tax Credit Passes Once Again
*AboitizPower Corp. Puts Mt. Apo and Mt. Sibulan Projects on Hold
*ThinkGeoEnergy: World Bank/ESMAP Publish Report on GHG Emissions from Geothermal Plants
*Scientists Discover Geothermal Activity on Ceres
*Dutch Greenhouse Consortium Harnesses Geothermal Energy

SEC 2GEA staff at EESI’s Renewable Energy Expo

Hearing for H.R. 2663 Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act Heard

On July 13, 2016, Congress held a public hearing for H.R. 2663, the “Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act, introduced by Congressman Gosar last year in June.  The bill streamlines the permitting process for wind, solar, and geothermal energy generation on federal land while establishing a Renewable Energy Resource Conservation Fund intended to conserve land affected by renewable development, and directs revenues from solar and wind, which geothermal projects on public lands already provide, including royalties and rental payments, funneled back into counties, states, and the overall Fund.

Currently, many renewable energy projects on public land are hindered by so called “bureaucratic red-tape,” evidenced in the lengthy permitting process of geothermal projects.  The aim of the bipartisan bill is to establish conservation funds from renewable projects, to foster energy independence, and to create jobs for scores of Americans.  A win-win bill for clean energy and the environment, the bill would update EIAs, provide local revenue streams, promote conservation efforts, and most importantly, expedite the permitting process.  This would cut down costs and length of time for geothermal projects in particular, which undergo lengthy inspection, exploration, and permitting projects with high upfront costs.

Congressman Lowenthal, when introducing H.R. 2663, said “This bill holds tremendous potential for renewables on public land.”  Currently, oil and gas projects funnel revenue back to the states, leading state and local governments to favor them.  H.R. 2663 would address this issue and has found broad appeal.  In Mr. Lowenthal’s words, the bill is “a win for taxpayers and the environment, which is why it is supported by a wide array of stakeholders… creating a very important bipartisan legislation.”

Josh Nordquist, GEA Vice President and Director of Business Development of Ormat Technologies, Inc., testified before the Subcommittee on behalf of utility-scale geothermal.  Ormat, headquartered in Reno, Nevada, installed the first geothermal power plant in the state in 1984.  Mr. Nordquist explained that “geothermal is a flexible and baseload energy,” mostly untapped with “90% of known geothermal resources on public lands.”  Additionally, “the process of finding a resource is complex – it can cost $2-3 million as compared to solar and wind,” which in contrast cost thousands.  Mr. Nordquist highlighted that H.R. 2663 would benefit geothermal, in particular by updating the geothermal EIA so that only the most suitable areas on public lands would be targeted and the bill would also lessen the leasing process, a much-needed advance.  Mr. Nordquist concluded that “we believe this bill will have a large impact on the areas at which we work at a low cost to taxpayers,” most certainly a win for all parties, public and private, involved.
GEA in a letter submitted to the Subcommittee expressed support for the legislation.  “This legislation seeks to expedite permitting and development of geothermal resources.  This would help address one of the major problems the industry faces – a lengthy permitting process that impedes exploration, stifles development and raises costs,” GEA’s Executive Director Karl Gawell said.

EESI Annual Renewable Energy Expo on Capitol Hill a Success

Tuesday July 12, 2016, Amazon hosted the nineteenth annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Efficiency EXPO, run by EESI and supported by various partner organizations like GEA.  Dynamic talks by industry leaders were held throughout the day, hosted by Executive Director Carol Werner of EESI, and an exhibitor hall attracted many Capitol Hill staffers, students, and stakeholders interested in clean technology and renewable energy.

GEA exhibited and Executive Director Karl Gawell, one of the founding members of the annual EXPO, spoke on behalf of the geothermal industry on a panel about “Renewable Energy,” joined by colleagues from Amazon’s clean energy program, the American and Canadian hydropower industry, the wind industry, and the BLM.  What followed was an interactive day of information and policy exchange, but above all a chance to teach the public about the benefits and importance of geothermal technology.

Scott Sklar, CEO of the Stella Group, Professor of Sustainable Energy at GWU and one of the founding members of the Expo spoke about the annual event and the future of the geothermal industry.  “I see at least 2-3 GW coming on internationally,” he predicted, stating that development in the US was lagging and could be addressed by “tax credits like solar and wind.”  Professor Sklar echoed GEA’s research that geothermal could meet 10% of the US’s energy needs, but suggested the industry needed smaller, innovative companies accessing untapped areas like the Appalachians with an open investment scheme:  “a more agile industry with more small-scale players.”

As for the EXPO, “We created the Sustainable Energy Coalition as a way for us to iron out policy – one of the things we decided to do was the annual EXPO.”  The EXPO was quite a success for spreading information about geothermal energy, with many visitors to GEA’s booth and Mr. Gawell delivered a dynamic speech on geothermal to officials and the public, touching on Western states’ new RPS guidelines as an opportunity for geothermal expansion.  Mr. Gawell touched on the concept of geothermal electricity as an “orphan energy technology” alongside hydropower.  He recommended governments to diversify their energy portfolio: “States often look at what’s cheapest – they must examine technologies as a system.”  Mr. Gawell discussed the international markets and their strong, sustained growth while concluding that at home in the U.S., the government must equalize tax credits, streamline the permitting and development process, and invest in RND like GTO’s FORGE program.

Ms. Werner, the event’s host, thanked GEA and concluded that “geothermal is a very underappreciated resource – the most important baseload technology – and a part of the whole family of American resources.”

Strong Senate Vote Sends Energy Bill to Conference

84-3 Tally is Latest Sign of Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Policy Reform

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today led the Senate’s approval of a motion to proceed to a formal conference with the House of Representatives on S. 2012, her broad, bipartisan energy legislation.

“This vote is a critical milestone that will allow Congress to begin the first conference on major energy legislation in more than a decade,” Murkowski said. “While we have differences to resolve, I am confident we are up to the task. Our bicameral negotiations will begin immediately so that a good final bill can be signed into law this year.”
Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, worked with her colleagues to develop her wide-ranging bill, the Energy Policy Modernization Act. It includes provisions from 80 Senators and passed by a bipartisan vote of 85-12 on April 20. In May, the House approved its version of the energy bill, agreed by voice vote on a motion to go to conference, and appointed its conferees.

The Senate appointed a total of seven conferees today:

Republican Conferees

Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.
Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas

Democratic Conferees

Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

The Energy Policy Modernization Act includes includes important geothermal provisions.  They would set out a collaborative effort to define the US geothermal resource base, facilitate development of suitable public lands, remove a legal obstacle to co-producing geothermal power from oil and gas wells, promote development of new discoveries through modest leasing reform, authorizes a DOE program of research, expedites certain exploration activities and more.

Background on geothermal provisions of S. 2012 is at:

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.   We work to make a difference so that the industry and your company can succeed.

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

Kenai Drilling

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

Potential Geothermal Development Effects on Forest Land Topic ofMeeting at Jemez Pueblo

The Santa Fe National Forest has announced two additional public meetings to provide a brief overview of the draft environmental impact statement on the potential effects of geothermal energy development on land within forest boundaries.

There will be a meeting Tuesday, July 19, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Walatowa Visitor Center Conference Room, 7413 NM 4, Jemez Pueblo.

Another meeting is planned Wednesday, July 20, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rio Arriba County Rural Events Center in El Rito.Last week, there was a meeting in Santa Fe.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has identified about 195,000 acres within the boundaries of the SFNF with “significant geothermal potential.” The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has received expressions of interest in leasing about 46,000 acres of SFNF land for geothermal exploration and development. The BLM manages the subsurface resources on all federal land.

Of the project area identified by USGS, approximately 30,000 acres, including the Jemez National Recreation Area and the East Fork of the Jemez River, which has been designated a federal Wild and Scenic River, are closed to leasing by statute.The national forest agency also has discretionary authority to prohibit leasing to protect special resources. In the proposed project area, that would include the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway, the Jemez Historic Site National Landmark and the Monument Canyon Research Natural Area, as well as SFNF administrative sites in the area.

Analysis of the effects of geothermal leasing began in June 2015 with a series of public meetings and a public comment period.

In addition to the upcoming public meetings, the Forest Service is soliciting public comment on the DEIS. Comments may be sent by email to
<> or mailed to Comments, Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters, 11 Forest Lane, Santa Fe, NM 87508.

The formal comment period closes Aug. 22.


Enel, PT ONE to Develop 55-MW Geothermal Project in Indonesia

Enel Green Power (EGP) and PT Optima Nusantara Energi (PT ONE) have won the right to develop the 55-MW Way Ratai geothermal power project in Indonesia’s Lampung province, Italian utility Enel SpA (BIT:ENEL) said today.

The two companies were awarded the exploration and development license for the particular project after participating in a tender launched by the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in December last year. That auction is part of the country’s efforts to diversify its energy mix by raising the share of renewables to up to 23% by 2025 from 12% currently.
EGP will get a majority stake in a new firm to be created with PT ONE for the purpose of holding the project. The Italian company expects to invest up to USD 30 million as part of the exploration phase of Way Ratai alone.

In the event that the parties proceed to the construction phase of the project, the process is seen to be concluded in 2022. Upon completion, the plant will be generating some 430 GWh of electricity per year and selling it to national utility PLN under a 30-year contract.


New York GEO Tax Credit Passes Once Again

The New York Assembly and Senate both recently passed a bipartisan 25% up to $5,000 tax credit bill for geothermal heat pumps (GHPs). The bill – S6249/A9925 – was reintroduced this spring by assembly member Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, and Sen. Robert G. Ortt, R-North Tonawanda. The Assembly passed the legislation June 14, and the Senate on June 15.

“NY-GEO is grateful to legislative sponsors Sean Ryan and Robert Ortt along with their colleagues and the legislature leadership for passing the geothermal tax credit bill this session,” said Bill Nowak, executive director of the New York Geothermal Energy Organization (NY-GEO). “We are working with Gov. Cuomo’s energy team to come up with a plan to stimulate the GHP market in the state of New York, and we are happy to have legislative approval of a state tax credit available to be part of that plan.”

Geothermal heat energy is part of Assembly Bill 10342 – the New York State Climate & Community Protection Act, which would cut greenhouse gases by 100% by 2050 with an interim goal of 50% by 2030. The legislation promotes renewable energy, including GHPs.

In the measure, “geothermal ground-source heat” is included under the definition of “renewable energy systems.” NY-GEO worked with several partners in a broad coalition to ensure that the bill recognized the heating sector as part of the climate change solution. The bill was adopted by the Assembly on June 6, but there is no Senate version to date. “This is an important emerging grassroots coalition/movement in New York State,” stated Nowak.

AboitizPower Corp. Puts Mt. Apo and Mt. Sibulan Projects on Hold

Exploration plans of the AboitizPower Corp. to tap Mt. Apo and Mt. Sibulan for geothermal energy sources has been put on hold, an official said recently.

Manuel Orig, AboitizPower Corp. first vice president for Mindanao Affairs told reporters that the decision to suspend the geothermal plant project was made after the company decided to focus first on their power venture in Indonesia.

“We are developing a geothermal project in Indonesia ahead of our project in Davao, for that one, the potential is already established and determined that there is geothermal resource as compared here, we still have to explore the possibility,” he said.

Under the company’s Geothermal Energy Service Contracts (Gresc), exploration for geothermal resources covers the Mt. Talomo-Tico contract area consisting 8,586 hectares and the Mt. Sibulan-Kapatagan contract area that covers 8,910 has.

The first phase of the work program includes surface exploration of potential source of geothermal power and introduction of the project to respective local government units and other stakeholders and indigenous peoples.

“If exploration results will show that the area has a potential of 50 megawatts (MW) or more geothermal energy then we will proceed with the project,” Orig said adding that less than 50-MW capacity will mean non-viability of the project.

Exploratory activities will determine the existence, adequacy, and suitability of geothermal resources.

On its Indonesian venture, AboitizPower announced late last year that they are partnering with PT Medco Power Indonesia, an Indonesian geothermal power producer to undertake a project in the exploration and development of a potential 100-MW greenfield geothermal plant in East Java Province.

When asked on the fate of the Mt. Apo and Mt. Sibulan geothermal project, Orig was quick to add that they will pursue the exploration depending on the outcome of the development of the Indonesian geothermal project.

AboitizPower is set to increase its beneficial net sellable capacity to 4,000 MW by 2019.


ThinkGeoEnergy: World Bank/ESMAP Publish Report on GHG Emissions from Geothermal Plants

In a report published this week, the ESMAP program of the World Bank, highlights the current knowledge on greenhouse gas emissions from geothermal plants.  While much lower than from fossil fuel power generation facilities, there still are carbon emissions from geothermal operations which vary greatly depending on location.

Although GHG emissions from geothermal power are relatively low compared to emissions from fossil fuels, such emissions – under specific and rare conditions -can be significant. Certain geological conditions cause different levels of GHG emissions from geothermal power plants and natural factors can change emissions over time. Emissions from power plants or via natural pathways may also change with time in response to production.

The report discusses these factors; explores the available energy conversion technologies, which can reduce emissions levels; and presents a cost analysis of options for gas capture and treatment for different commercial purpose-another way to lower overall emissions released into the atmosphere.

The report gives guidance to project developers and financial institutions on to how to estimate emissions, ex ante, from geothermal power projects, especially those being considered for financing by The World Bank and other multilateral development banks, or even the private sector.

Recommendations are made towards closing identified knowledge gaps relating to effects of production on GHG emissions over time. More importantly, the report offers insights on how concessional financing for investments in gas capture and treatment can be considered where GHG emissions from geothermal exceeds the national grid emission factor.

The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) is a global knowledge and technical assistance partnership administered by the World Bank and funded by Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, as well as the World Bank. ESMAP’s mission is to assist clients-low and middle countries-to increase know-how and institutional capacity to achieve environmentally sustainable energy solutions for poverty reduction and economic growth. For more information, visit our website:

The document can be downloaded via the link below.


Scientists Discover Geothermal Activity on Ceres

Using data from NASA’s Dawn probe, scientists have discovered evidence of geothermal activity on Ceres, the largest object in the Solar System’s asteroid belt.
The NASA’s probe’s visible and infrared mapping spectrometer allowed the researcher to identify a high concentration of carbonate minerals indicative of geothermal activity within Ceres’ Occator Crater, according to the team’s report in the journal Nature.

“This is the first time we see this kind of material elsewhere in the solar system in such a large amount,” study author Maria Cristina De Sanctis, from National Institute of Astrophysics in Rome, said in a news release.

At around 80 million years old, Occator is a young crater. It is 57 miles wide, with a central pit around 6 miles wide. A dome shape at the middle is coated in highly reflective material and has radial and concentric cracks on and around it.

The new study finds the dominant mineral within this bright spot is sodium carbonate, a type of salt seen on Earth in hydrothermal environments. This material may have come from inside Ceres, because an asteroid could not have caused it, the study team said.

An upwelling of material indicates that temperatures inside Ceres are warmer than earlier believed. An asteroid slamming into Ceres may have played a role bringing this material up from below, but scientists think an internal mechanism played a part as well.

The study’s outcomes indicate liquid water may have recently been beneath the exterior of Ceres. The salts might be remnants of an ocean, or smaller bodies of water, that reached the exterior and then froze millions of years ago.

“The minerals we have found at the Occator central bright area require alteration by water,” De Sanctis said. “Carbonates support the idea that Ceres had interior hydrothermal activity, which pushed these materials to the surface within Occator.”

Last year, the same research team reported the exterior of Ceres has ammoniated phyllosilicates, or clays containing ammonia. Because ammonia is found throughout the outer solar system, this finding suggested Ceres either formed near the orbit of Neptune and migrated inward, or formed close to its present position between Mars and Jupiter, but attracted material from the outer solar system.


Dutch Greenhouse Consortium Harnesses Geothermal Energy

A consortium of nine Dutch growers has recently begun using geothermal energy to heat their greenhouses, in a bid to produce crops using more sustainable methods.
The 2,000-meter-deep wells through which water is pumped and heated were drilled last year, with project financing having been secured in 2014.

In late January the Geothermal Vierpolders consortium began using the energy to heat their glasshouses, which cover 49 hectares in southwest of the Netherlands near the port hub of Rotterdam.
The growers produce a range of crops including tomatoes and eggplants.

Geothermal Vierpolders director Paul Grootscholten, who is also a partner at family-owned glasshouse salad plant supplier Globe Plant, one of the growers using the heat, hopes to increase the use of the energy source in near future.

“At the moment we use on average 1.2 million cubic meters of natural gas for our heating every year, and what we hope to do is cut this down to around 400,000 million cubic meters,” he told

“For the first month I used full power of natural gas, and at the moment we do have some issues so we’re not producing heat from the geothermal well, but we will resume in the end of August.”
The aim is to reduce the company’s natural gas usage by 40-50% this year, and then move up to 60-70% next year.

Grootscholten explained although any savings at present were minimal due to the relatively low cost of natural gas, the main reason behind initiating the project was sustainability.
“If gas prices go up, as they had been doing for a while, then it will be a good investment,” he said.

“But sustainability is the main theme, and indirectly reducing the use of gas. The more my company uses geothermal energy the more resources I have to stay in business long into the future.”
He added the company’s eco-friendly credentials would hopefully also lead to a boost in sales as consumers favor their products over competitors’.

The representative also said use of geothermal energy in Dutch greenhouse industry would increase in the future, with several new projects underway in the country.

“This year alone there will be three new geothermal sites and next year I heard there will be four or five, so it’s definitely a growing industry,” he said.


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