GRC Annual Meeting/GEAEXPO+, Heat-Resistant Drilling Tech, and More

In this post:
*GRC Annual Meeting & GEA GEOEXPO+
*Geothermal Exploration for South Africa a Possibility, Funding a Major Challenge
*U.S. Geothermal Targets Billion Dollar Growth in Rapidly Growing Renewable Energy
*Salt Lake City Commits to Landmark Clean Energy and Climate Change Resolution
*Designing a Geothermal Drilling Tool that Can Take the Heat
*St. Kitts and Nevis Making Substantial Advances on the Energy Front
*NTEC Turns its Attention to Clean Energy
*Press Release: Ansaldo Energia Awarded Contracts in Indonesia Worth 80 Million Euros 
Sandia
“Technologist Elton Wright assists as mechanical engineer Jiann Su inspects a downhole hammer used to drill at Sandia National Laboratories’ high operating temperature (HOT) test facility. Sandia and Swedish firm Atlas Copco designed, built and tested the drilling tool that will withstand the heat of geothermal drilling.”

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA GEOEXPO+
GEA GEOEXPO+
From October 23-26, 2016 in Sacramento, a new twist on GEA’s annual Expo will play out under the themeLeading Innovation, Fostering Cooperation, GEOEXPO+. Over 1,200+ industry leaders will be in attendance from 20+ counties, providing a chance to forge professional connections, view exhibitors leading innovation, and hear from geothermal experts on various tracks at the Marketing Forum, marking the penultimate geothermal event of the year. Visitor registration for the GEA’s GEOEXPO+ is now open.
If your company has a strong interest in promoting its projects, equipment, services, and/ or technology within the geothermal community, please contact Rani@geo-energy.org, +1 (202) 454-5261 to book your space today.
Why Exhibit?
·         Lead Generation Engage with clients and prospects in a face-to-face setting to better understand their needs. Advance your company’s sales pipelines through personal interactions and enhanced visibility.
·         Meet the Industry Network and mingle with 1,200+ key industry stakeholders and buyers from the U.S. and around the globe. Organize business meetings at one of the many roundtables and lounge areas around the Hall. Meet, network, and develop relationships.
·         Share Your Leading Innovations Be a part of an event showcasing the latest projects, equipment, services and state of the art technology to the geothermal community. Coordinate a product or service  launch/pre-launch at the event.
·         Build Your Brand Gain visibility. Use the GEOEXPO+ as a vehicle to build your brand while simultaneously generating publicity. Generate new interest through Press and covering the event. Interact with our Media Partners to generate buzz around your products and services.
·         Get Smart. Be Smart. Grab a seat at the Marketing Forum to learn about the latest geothermal advancements in the U.S. and around the globe. Walk the sprawling Expo hall floor to see cutting-edge geothermal technologies and services. Scope out what other companies are doing to maximize your marketing strategy.
A big thank you to our 2016 GEOEXPO+/ GRC Annual Meeting Sponsors to-date: BHE Renewables, POWER Engineers, ORMAT Technologies, Inc., and Geothermal Resource Group.
This event is held in tandem with the 40th GRC Annual Meeting.
GRC Annual Meeting
Registration is now open for the geothermal energy event of the year!
Preliminary Program is now available – View the PDF brochure on the GRC Annual Meeting website [https://www.geothermal.org/meet-new.html].

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA GEOEXPO+ features:

GRC Workshops:

GRC Fieldtrips:
Other Events:
The GRC Annual Meeting is held in conjunction with the GEA GEOEXPO+.
Thank 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:
VanNess Feldman, LLP
Mitsubishi Power Systems, Inc.
DOSECC Exploration Services, LLC
Ethos Energy
Watch for more thank you’s in future editions of GEW! If you need information about membership go to: http://geo-energy.org/membership.aspx or contact Daniela@geo-energy.org.
Geothermal Exploration for South Africa a Possibility, Funding a Major Challenge
 
While geothermal energy is renewable and can be used for baseload supply, the major challenge surrounding this type of energy in South Africa is that exploration is expensive, which is why it has yet to be undertaken in the country, says Royal Haskoning DHV energy consultant David Johnson.
Speaking at the Power-Gen Africa conference in Sandton, Gauteng, on Wednesday, Johnson added that most of South Africa had very low geothermal potential, owing to the country’s temperate climate.
“The conversion from geothermal resources to heat in South Africa is not efficient. Very little is known about South Africa’s geothermal potential because not much research has been done [on it],” he said.
Johnson added, however, that there were potentially suitable resources in South Africa, owing to the presence of hot springs in the country.
“The potential has not yet been established but there are some structures and faults that come all the way to the surface, with a water source below that is anything between 5 km and 20 km deep.”
Johnson highlighted funding as another major challenge facing geothermal exploration, as well as the expense of drilling wells. Further, not many investors are prepared to supply that type of funding.
“There is loose-standing research done by geologists, and it is a mammoth task to go through information that comes from 1911, [which is the last time proper research was conducted on geothermal energy in South Africa],” he said.
Johnson added that, recently, a magnetic profile from the south to the north of the country had been undertaken to see how thick the earth’s crust was and to potentially look at the viability of geothermal exploration in the county.
“We have just scratched the surface in South Africa at this stage; it is an open field for exploration and we just need the funding to do it.”
Also speaking at the conference, pangaea geophysicist Dr Christoffel Fourie noted that there was a fair amount of funding available for geothermal research in the mid-ocean ridge, which extended from the Middle East to Mozambique.
“The mid-ocean ridge does not extend to South Africa, unfortunately, so we have to target the sources that are obvious indicators of geothermal activity,” he said.
He noted that these areas were usually associated with national parks, and development could lead to clashes between human consumption and geothermal development.
Sustanersol Uganda technical director Ralph Kacu Bacwa Nyakabwa-Atwoki added that geothermal energy could be a “potential cure to the African continent’s bleak energy outlook”.
He noted that investment and related opportunities in the sector could guarantee substantial economic growth, adding that there were currently 620-million people in Africa who do not have access to electricity.
“It is important to remove impediments and to increase commitment to create holistic policies to enable the development of sufficient geothermal and other energy mix resources,” he said.
Nyakabwa-Atwoki noted that removing barriers to inflows of investment for energy development, and building institutional technical and human capacity to support energy deployment, were key for the development of geothermal energy potential on the continent.
“We must harness the cross-cutting impact of renewable energy for substantial development and enhance regional engagement and international cooperation on renewable-energy development,” he said, adding that this was best achieved when coupled with strong implementing teams and geothermal-specific institutions to encourage investment.
Nyakabwa-Atwoki reiterated that there was extensive funding available for geothermal development activity the East African rift system, one of the major tectonic structures of the earth that stretched through the region for about 6 500km from the Middle East up to Mozambique.
He also noted that many countries in the rift did not recognize the need to have a regional planning process instead of one that fed the interests of individual States.
“Consensus becomes difficult because certain countries in that region have fixed briefs with no room for flexibility, as opposed to what the regional interests for geothermal exploration are,” he said.
Nyakabwa-Atwoki highlighted that external regional challenges included the reluctance of investors to finance exploration endeavours, the weak ability of regions to attract sufficient and competitive foreign direct investment, and risks that directly affected production, power markets, venture liquidity and profitability.
“These risks are similar to those that project investors face globally, however, they are more pronounced in geothermal exploration.”
The technical director added that opportunities lay in regional programs and that there was increased interest in regional cooperation and groupings, such as the East African community partnering with the Eastern African Power Pool to implement a regional master power plan.
He noted that there were numerous regional and continental African private sector researches engaged in the power sector to complement public sector players.
“The creation of novel geothermal laws, policies and institutional frameworks for geothermal development is a requisite and deliberate action plan for countries within developed geothermal resources and with acute poverty and quality of life, owing to a lack of electricity,” said Nyakabwa-Atwoki.
He concluded that countries should use available international and bilateral financial facilities and programmes geared towards the mitigation of risks to develop geothermal resources.
U.S. Geothermal Targets Billion Dollar Growth in Rapidly Growing Renewable Energy
 
Renewable energy is attracting more attention and more investment because Renewable Portfolio Standards have been implemented in several states to reduce energy produced from traditional fossil fuel energy plants that are known to emit excessive carbon into the atmosphere. Renewable Portfolio Standards require increased production of energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal.
A few examples of states taking action to create more energy from renewable sources are California, Nevada, and Oregon. Governor Brown signed into law SB-350 that requires 50% renewable energy by 2030, the closure of 2,200 MW San Onofre nuclear power plant, and the retirement of 19,000 GWh of coal burning power plants. Nevada SB-123 requires closure of ~1200 MW of Coal plants replaced with at least 600 MW of renewables. Oregon SB-1547 requires 50% renewable energy by 2040 and discontinues coal generation by 2030.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) sees renewable energy replacing fossil fuels. The investment bank’s analysts expect the greatest market dislocations to occur between 2015 and 2025.
One company in the burgeoning renewable energy sector that has consistently under promised and over delivered the kind of growth that savvy and risk averse investors are always searching for is U.S. Geothermal, Inc. (NYSE MKT: HTM). After 5 years of strong growth followed by 2 years of planning and building a larger and stronger foundation, management is now moving forward to accelerate growth to become a billion dollar market cap company in the fast growing sector.
In 2009, U.S. Geothermal reported extraordinary revenue growth of 875 percent; in 2012 the company reported growth of 200 percent; and in 2013 they reported growth of 180 percent. After a short break to consolidate gains, the company is now resuming robust growth again with a target of increasing their core business from 45 Megawatts to 230 Megawatts, and their market cap from $90 million to $1 billion by 2020. Now that the company has a detailed plan for the next leg of high growth, management is not keeping it a secret. The company’s web site reads, “Our mission is to become the largest pure play independent geothermal power producer, targeting 200 MW by 2020 and a market cap in excess of $1 billion.”
Current And Planned Operations
 
U.S. Geothermal most recent 10-Q describes 3 power plants in operation, 6 under development, and 9 in exploration phase:
Projects Under Exploration for Development
 
U.S. Geothermal lists 9 new projects being explored for development of which 5 are already well known and under development for earlier phases.
Total current operations combined with projects under development equal 141 MW by the end of 2018, and if the projects under exploration are developed, U.S. Geothermal has the potential to substantially exceed their 200 MW goal by 2020 with up to 304 MW.
Strong Management
 
Producing over 30,000 MW, Calpine Corp. (NYSE: CPN) is the largest independent power producer in the United States. Dennis Gilles, the CEO of U.S. Geothermal, worked with Calpine for over 23 years and was with them when they built their very first Megawatt geothermal power plant. Mr. Gilles went on to manage Calpine’s portfolio of 750 geothermal Megawatts, and the entire Western region that generated close to 8,000 Megawatts. Dennis is a senior executive with over 30 years experience in the management, operations, maintenance, engineering, construction and administration of power and petrochemical plants and their related facilities. Mr. Gilles holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He is also very experienced in the identification, evaluation and acquisition of existing renewable projects or portfolios, as well as heading development of new green-field opportunities that is of high importance to future growth of U.S. Geothermal.
Doug Glaspey, a cofounder of U.S. Geothermal, has served as a director since March 2000, Chief Operating Officer of the Company since December 2003, and President of the Company since September 2011. Mr. Glaspey has 38 years of operating and management experience in the natural resources industry and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mineral Processing Engineering and an Associate of Science in Engineering Science. His experience includes public company financing and administration, production management, planning and directing resource exploration programs, preparing feasibility studies and environmental permitting.
As illustrated in the project descriptions above, management has a clear vision and a detailed plan to achieve their goals of meeting 200 MW and a market cap of $1 billion by 2020.
Geothermal Advantages Over Wind and Solar
 
Geothermal is by far the most reliable form of renewable energy. Unlike the intermittent sunshine and wind, geothermal energy taps into the hot water and steam from below the surface of the earth that is continuously being generated from the earth’s magma and provides the most consistent and continually available base load power 24 hours a day, and every day except for short maintenance down times in the spring.
Geothermal Power Availability exceeds 90% compared to 25% for solar at 6 hours per day, and 34% for wind at 8.25 hours per day.
Geothermal power plants have a smaller land footprint compared to wind and solar and have a minimal impact to wildlife.
Geothermal Disadvantages Compared To Wind and Solar
 
Geothermal has longer development lead times, and higher exploration risks and costs than wind and solar.
Geothermal Provides Lower Cost And More Stable Power To Utilities Compared To Wind and Solar
 
Geothermal plants have no fuel costs, and over a typical 30-year plant life the fuel costs for a natural gas or coal plant can represent twice their initial capital cost. Over the life of the plant, when capital costs and total fuel costs are weighed, geothermal projects are proving to be a sound investment.
Also consider that while solar and wind technology may continue to advance in efficiency and decrease in capital cost, geothermal operates 24 hours a day and every day of the year while solar and wind are intermittent and deliver far less availability.
Financing U.S. Geothermal Growth Plan
 
Financing management’s goals is critical to success.  U.S. Geothermal has strong banking relationships, and is on schedule with the announcement that a $50 million debt facility from Prudential Capital was just closed with the first $20 million drawn down to support project developments.
“U.S. Geothermal has proven itself to be one of the leading developers and operators of geothermal projects,” said Wendy Carlson, Managing Director of Prudential Capital Group’s Energy Finance Group – Power. “We are excited to provide capital, which will in turn be used to support the Company’s growth prospects. This investment reflects our strategy of being a reliable provider of capital to high quality developers with proven track records in the North American power industry.”
Today’s low interest rates are very attractive to U.S. Geothermal as the initial $20 million loan has a fixed interest rate of 5.8% per annum. The loan principal amortizes over twenty years, with a seven-year term. Principal and interest payments are made semi-annually. With low interest rates forecast for the foreseeable future, debt financing is working in this company’s favor.
Conclusion
 
U.S. Geothermal enjoys strong success in the renewable energy sector that is poised for major growth over the next decade. The company has announced its billion-dollar growth plan with a pipeline that is well understood. Revenues are fixed and predictable, and are guaranteed by 25-year contracts with utilities.
Compared to the leader Calpine Corp.’s Revenues Per Share and Price Earnings Ratio, U.S. Geothermal shares are undervalued. With approximately 112 million shares outstanding, and a current market share price of $.85, U.S. Geothermal currently carries a market cap of about $92 million. To achieve a billion dollar market cap means a tenfold increase from todays $92 million. Knowing that debt financing will be necessary to fund growth and that equity financing at higher share prices will also very likely be part of the equation, U.S. Geothermal shares are very attractive at these levels.
Investors are encouraged to visit the company’s web site. For more information seewww.usgeothermal.com
Salt Lake City Commits to Landmark Clean Energy and Climate Change Resolution
 
Today, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, members of the City Council, other city leaders, and members of the business and non-profit community gathered on the steps of City Hall to launch Salt Lake City’s initiative to transition the community to 100% renewable energy sources by 2032 and to reduce carbon emissions citywide by 80% by 2040. The commitment, called Climate Positive 2040, comes as a result of a Joint Resolution signed by Mayor Biskupski and the Salt Lake City Council on Tuesday.
The commitment makes Salt Lake City one of only a handful of cities worldwide to pledge an 80% reduction in community wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
“This is the most ambitious step ever taken by Salt Lake City to address the threat of climate change,” said Mayor Biskupski.  “This commitment places the City among leading communities worldwide that acknowledge our responsibility to rapidly reduce emissions and forge a new path forward that protects our economies, societies and overall human well-being.”
In January, during the Mayor’s State of the City Address, Salt Lake City committed to 100 percent renewable electricity sources for its government operations, along with major carbon reductions for City operations, but this resolution expands the scope to include all electricity and emissions on a community scale.
“The goals in our resolution may seem aggressive. To that I say, they are realistic if we want to actually change the air we breathe,” said Salt Lake City Council Member Erin Mendenhall who sponsored the Joint Resolution. “This has been a long time Council priority we have supported for years through budget priorities, ordinances and resolutions, helping lay the foundation for the City to take the leap.”
The Joint Resolution cited the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and being driven by the burning of fossil fuels. The Resolution also acknowledged local impacts such as changes in water systems and extreme weather events that are affecting Salt Lake City now and will be exacerbated in the future.
“We can tackle this challenge and deliver clean energy solutions that will simultaneously improve air quality, protect public health and deliver local jobs. Leading on climate change today is an obligation we all share with each other and to future generations,” stated Mayor Biskupski.
More details on this commitment by Salt Lake City including a complete copy of the Joint Resolution, are available through the link below:
Designing a Geothermal Drilling Tool that Can Take the Heat
 
Sandia National Laboratories and a commercial firm have designed a drilling tool that will withstand the heat of geothermal drilling.
The downhole hammer attaches to the end of a column of drill pipe and cuts through rock with a rapid hammering action similar to that of a jackhammer. Downhole hammers are not new-the oil and gas and mining industries have used them since the 1950s-but the older design, with its reliance on oil-based lubricants, plastic and rubber O-rings, isn’t suited for the hotter temperatures of geothermal drilling.
“The technology behind the new hammer is fundamentally the same, but Sandia worked with Sweden-based Atlas Copco in material selection and dry lubricant technology that will work in the high-temperature environment,” said mechanical engineer Jiann Su, Sandia’s principal investigator on the project with Atlas Copco, which operates worldwide and makes specialized equipment and systems for drilling, mining and construction.
The Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office funded Atlas Copco as prime contractor on the project, and the company partnered with Sandia as the subcontractor.
“Part of what the DOE’s Geothermal Program is looking to do is help lower the cost of getting geothermal energy out to customers,” said Su, a researcher in Sandia’s geothermal research department. “Some of reducing the cost is lowering exploration and development costs, and that’s one of the areas we’re helping to tackle.”
The Geothermal Energy Association’s 2016 annual production report said the U.S. had about 2.7 gigawatts of net geothermal capacity at the end of 2015. In addition, the U.S. market was developing about 1.25 gigawatts of geothermal power, and new renewable portfolio standards in states such as California and Hawaii could create opportunities for geothermal energy, the report said.
Su said the high temperature hammer could help reach those development goals.
New downhole hammer will be plus for drillers
Su considers the three-year project a success, and said the team and Atlas Copco are looking for opportunities to deploy the tool.
“We developed a tool that can be used in high-temperature environments that can help increase the drilling rates and the rate of penetration to maybe 5 to 10 times that of conventional drilling operations, so that’s a big plus for drillers,” he said. “It adds to the available options drillers have. This is not necessarily the final option for every drilling situation but it does provide a good option for the right situation.”
Atlas Copco turned to Sandia for its expertise in materials, understanding of how moving surfaces interact and high-temperature testing and operations. “Atlas Copco is the expert at designing and manufacturing the hammers, but Sandia is better equipped to handle the high-temperature challenges, the lubrication and materials,” Su said. “And high-temperature testing isn’t something that Atlas Copco typically does.”
A critical piece of the project was developing lubricious coatings, which help reduce friction between parts, important in geothermal operations. “As temperatures increase, the oils essentially cook and you get this sooty mess inside. It’s like running your car too long without changing your oil,” Su said. The hammer has internal moving components that require lubrication, similar to a piston in a car engine.
His team’s work on materials and lubricious coatings built on decades of Sandia research in those areas. The team worked with Sandia’s Materials Science and Engineering Center on a multilayer solid lubricant capable of operating at high temperatures. Similar solid lubricants are used commercially, for example, to improve the lifespan of moving components in cars, but Su’s team worked with a formula tailored to the operating conditions and base materials.
“If we were starting from scratch, the difficulty level would have been high, but since Sandia has a history of experience in that arena, we had some idea of what to start with,” he said. “It made things a lot easier.”
Development took three years
The project began by determining whether a high-temperature hammer was even possible. The Sandia team initially tested materials and coating combinations that would survive the expected environments while Atlas Copco designed a hammer without plastic parts, Su said. They proved the concept, and the project spent the next two years building hammers and a facility for high-temperature testing.
The hammers proved successful. “We were able to reach our drilling rates, the materials held up, the coatings worked well,” Su said.
Sandia’s new facility is designed to test hammers under real-world operating conditions, including temperatures up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees C). Conventional drilling generally sees temperatures of less than 320 degrees F (160 degrees C).
The high operating temperature (HOT) test facility, a three-sided open concrete structure, houses a 20-foot-tall drill rig, heating chamber and process gas heater. Researchers can simulate conditions deep underground and the elevated temperatures affecting the hammer and can drill into different types of rock, like the granite commonly found in geothermal-rich areas. The facility is instrumented to measure drilling parameters.
HOT was in itself a large project. “We took a little more time in the development process, but when we put it all together, everything worked pretty much as we expected it to,” Su said. The work required integrating multiple subsystems, including electrical, mechanical, pneumatic and control systems. Sandia also worked with Atlas Copco on what instrumentation was required to collect the necessary data.
“We’re using the facility for other activities that we’re doing now,” such as developing drilling automation, Su said. “That’s a plus for Sandia.”
St. Kitts and Nevis Making Substantial Advances on the Energy Front
 
The Honourable Ian Patches Liburd, Minister with responsibility for Energy, gave an update on a number of projects currently taking place in the Federation with respect to alternative energy and noted that things are progressing well.
Minister Liburd was at the time speaking at a Town Hall Meeting, where a great number of persons gathered at the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School on Monday, July 18. The Minister pointed out that with respect to electricity/energy, the Government is doing all in its power to ensure that everyone benefits.
The Minister noted that wind energy is presently being pursued.
“A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the Wind Farm Project at Belle Vue is just about being completed,” said Minister Liburd, who added that the PPA is presently at the Attorney-General’s Office undergoing review. “Once that is cleared, work will start on the Belle Vue Wind Farm and we anticipate within the next year we will have 5 megawatts of wind power being generated from this area in Belle Vue.”
The Minister said that the efforts are ongoing because it is predicted in the next five years, with all the developments and construction occurring in St. Kitts, that the demand for electricity will be increased by some 18 megawatts.
“The Park Hyatt will soon come on stream, and the Park Hyatt of course will put a greater demand on our national grid,” he said, while noting that the relevant authorities met with officials from the Park Hyatt to discuss these important issues. “They are going to provide their own generator as a back up to our system.”
In addition to the wind farm, Minister Liburd said that the Government continues to explore the possibility of geothermal energy on St. Kitts.
“It would be irresponsible of us as an administration if we did not establish whether there is a geothermal resource on St. Kitts,” he said, making reference to the volcanoes in the Federation. “If that is established, we will then determine how best to develop that resource without retarding the progress on Nevis.”
He said that, as things progress further, the public will be updated.
Teranov, a French engineering and services company for new and renewable energy based in Guadeloupe, has recently begun geothermal exploration exercises in the Sandy Point area around Brimstone Hill, going to the top of Mount Liamigua.
In September of 2015, the Honourable Ian “Patches” Liburd, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Posts, Urban Development and Transport, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Teranov.
St. Kitts and Nevis was host to a three-day Regional Geothermal Forum from May 10 to 12, 2016, organized by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). While delivering the feature address at Tuesday’s (May 10) opening of the forum, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, explained why the Federation was chosen.
“St. Kitts and Nevis was chosen as the venue because the organizers of the Forum felt that this Forum should be held in a CARICOM Member State which, and I quote, “on the basis of resource potential, has a realistic opportunity for integrating geothermal power into its energy mix,” end of quote.  In particular, the organizers say that, quote, “the commitment of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to geothermal development is exemplary and continues to be manifested through an active programme on both islands,” end of quote.
“Our goal is that, by the year 2020, nearly 100 percent of the electricity supplied in the country would be produced from renewable energy sources,” said Prime Minister Harris. “We aim to become the first green country in the world and we are cognizant that this is an ambitious goal, but St. Kitts and Nevis is just the kind of country that would achieve this ambitious goal.”
NTEC Turns its Attention to Clean Energy
 
A tribal entity established for the purpose of acquiring a Fruitland coal mine is now pursuing a clean energy project in Tohatchi.
The Navajo Transitional Energy Co., or NTEC, moved closer to adding renewable energy development to its energy portfolio after Tohatchi Chapter approved a feasibility study for the company’s proposed geothermal project at a hot springs on the east side of Tohatchi.
Tohatchi Chapter members on June 22 passed a resolution that gave the go-ahead for NTEC to seek “resource exploration” and the study.
NTEC spokesman Erny Zah said the entity plans to spend approximately $84,600 on the study, which is being led by graduate students from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo.
Last fall, NTEC established a partnership with the school to develop the project, which would also add jobs and support student research and project collaboration by Navajo Technical University students and faculty, according to Masami Nakagawa, Colorado School of Mines associate professor.
Nakagawa and three graduate students – Luci Dunnington, Juan Hurtado and Qifei Niu – spent a week in Tohachi in July to test the potential energy resources in the area.
Preliminary tests of the subsurface water bubbling up in Tohatchi showed it is about 38 degrees Celsius, or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, not quite warm enough to produce power without help, Nakagawa said.
Sam Woods, NTEC’s business development manager, said the project will first focus on heating and cooling greenhouses. The Navajo Forestry Department already grows spruce, pine and other trees in four greenhouses in Fort Defiance, Ariz. Those greenhouses are heated and cooled with natural gas. Woods wants to replicate those greenhouses in Tohatchi without natural gas by using the warm water source.
Woods said the project will also spur economic development.
Zah said a future land allocation study could result in a possible 700-acre “geo-park” that would support “renewable and alternative energy research and production” in Tohatchi.
Nakagawa said the geothermal project in Tohatchi involves multiple stakeholders and will help create jobs.
“We plan to grow this project together with the community,” Dunnington said.
Funding for the project will come from potential grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and others, Zah said.
NTEC CEO Clark Moseley said in a press release that the resolution passed by the Tohatchi Chapter satisfies the tribal energy company’s charter mandate to invest “at least 10 percent of (NTEC’s) net income into clean energy project development.”
Woods said the project’s core value is capacity building for the coal company, the community and students who will work collaboratively. If the project is successful, it could be replicated in other communities across the 27,000-square-mile reservation, Woods said.
“The project is a bottom-up approach, involving the community the whole way,” Woods said. “This creates an innovation hub and center for learning that can be done in other Navajo communities. The tribe sits on a wealth of rich resources. It makes sense to have more of these projects.”
Press Release: Ansaldo Energia Awarded Contracts in Indonesia Worth 80 Million Euros
 
Ansaldo Energia has received Notices to Proceed on two contracts signed late in 2015 worth a total of about 80 million euros.
The first covers the supply of two AE94.2 gas turbines and two air-cooled generators with the relative auxiliary systems for the 500MW Grati-Pasuran combined cycle plant in eastern Java. The Customer is Lotte E&C, a member of the consortium that won the international call for tenders issued by PT PLN, the country’s state-owned electricity authority.
The second covers the total refurbishment of a 30 MW geothermal plant located in Kamojang in western Java. Ansaldo Energia is acting as EPC and supplying the geothermal steam turbine and relative air-cooled generator. The customer is PT PLN company Indonesia Power. The two contracts increase the total geothermal output installed by Ansaldo Energia in the area to 270 MW.
To supervise these activities and to be in the best possible position to seize future opportunities in a market with promising prospects, Ansaldo Energia recently opened a branch office in Jakarta, with a ceremony attended by the Italian ambassador in Indonesia Vittorio Sandalli. The aim of Ansaldo Energia with the new office is to give the Group an even more solid base in Southeast Asia.
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