In this post:
*GEA Board Calls for Nominations
*Desert Sun: Obama at Lake Tahoe: Big Announcements on Salton Sea, Geothermal Energy
*Request for Information on the Availability of New Geothermal Electricity in the Salton
*Energy Department Announces $29 Million Investment in Enhanced Geothermal Systems Efforts
*Corbetti Geothermal PLC EOI Notice
*Power Africa Launches New Partnership With the Government of Japan
*ElectraTherm Power+ Generator Exceeds 3,000 Hours in Japan
*Aceh Governor Eyes Geothermal Project in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem
*U.S. EIA: Geothermal Very Competitive on Levelized Cost of Electricity Basis
*Geothermal Agency Opens Search for New Chiefs After Shake-up
*Geothermal Picks Up Steam With Alberta Proposal to Retrofit Abandoned Oil Wells
*Tiffany Lai Conquers a Geothermal Challenge
*Polaris Infrastructure Announces Connection of Well SJ 9-4
*European Mexican Research Project Exploring Ultra-deep Geothermal Resources
*PLN to Buy Half of Pertamina’s Geothermal Unit
*Geothermal Energy: an Expensive but Attractive Option for Latin America
*Oregon Agency Offers $2M in Renewable Project Incentives
*Exergy Expects to Add an Additional 200 MW Geothermal Capacity in Turkey
GEA GEOEXPO+ & GRC Annual Meeting
The 2016 event brings to life the theme “Leading Innovation. Fostering Cooperation.” Who are the game changers in the geothermal energy industry? Check out the session Exhibitors Leading Innovation at the GEA Marketing Forum to see how GEA’s 2016 Exhibitors are paving the way for geothermal development through new projects, products/ services, and technology.
Interested in how federal and multilateral agencies can help geothermal power and possibly your business? Representatives from OPIC, USTDA, World Bank, Ex-Im Bank, US DOE GTO, USAID amongst others will step onto the Marketing Forum stage for theAgency Briefing. The goal- to bridge the gap between US companies and agency opportunities related to financing, grants, project work and resources. Other sessions include a KfW Development Bank Finance, Grant and Investment Workshop.
Visitor registration for the GEA GEOEXPO+ is now open and the GEA Marketing Forum Agenda was released earlier this week. With a multi-dimensional 3-day trade show and marketing forum and ample opportunities for networking, the GEA GEOEXPO+ presents attendees with the opportunity to maximize their exposure at a premier event.
If your company has a strong interest in promoting its projects, equipment, services, and technology as part of the GEA GEOEXPO+ please contact Rani Chatrath Rani@geo-energy.org +1 (202) 454-5261 to learn more about opportunities still available.
This event is held in conjunction with the GRC Annual Meeting. The GRC Annual Meeting this year supports the theme “Geothermal Energy – Here and Now: Sustainable, Clean, Flexible” highlighting the important role and values of geothermal energy today. Registration is now open for the GRC Annual Meeting.
Have you downloaded the GRC/GEA Event App? The app is a great way to connect with attendees prior to the event, keep track of your schedule, and more. Download the app directly by searching for “GRC Annual Meeting” in the Google Play store for android or in the Apple App store.
GEA Board Calls for Nominations
The GEA Board of Directors has appointed a nominating committee that will propose candidates for election to the GEA Board of Director for 2017. If you work for a GEA Member company and are interested in serving, please contact Karl Gawell of GEA (email@example.com).
Elections are expected to take place at GEA’s Annual Members Meeting scheduled for October 23 in Sacramento, CA.
Desert Sun: Obama at Lake Tahoe: Big Announcements on Salton Sea, Geothermal Energy
The federal government is stepping up its commitment to the Salton Sea and exploring the possibility of buying geothermal energy from the Imperial Valley, in a series of moves that could help fund restoration projects at California’s largest lake and maybe pave the way for a multi-state agreement to use less Colorado River water.
The unveiling of those initiatives is timed to coincide with President Barack Obama’s trip to Lake Tahoe on Wednesday afternoon, for the 20th annual Lake Tahoe Summit. According to a statement from the White House, Wednesday’s announcements include:
* A memorandum of understanding between the state and federal governments on the Salton Sea, designed to speed up projects that protect human health and the environment;
* A “request for information” through which the federal government will explore whether it can buy between 100 and 250 megawatts of geothermal power from the Salton Sea area;
* Possible funding from a nonprofit called the Water Funder Initiative, which has set a goal of providing $10 million over five years to support Salton Sea restoration.
The White House’s interest in the Salton Sea comes at a precarious time for the beleaguered lake, which is shrinking as farm runoff declines. As dry lakebed is exposed, gusting winds are kicking up dust laced with pesticides and other chemicals, polluting the desert air. Fish are dying en masse as the lake gets too salty to support much life, and migrating birds that travel from Alaska to South America are seeing a critical inland stopover start to disappear. The Pacific Institute, a water think tank, has estimated Californians could face up to $70 billion in costs as the lake deteriorates.
Local agencies and state officials are working on Salton Sea mitigation plans, which mostly involve building artificial wetlands to suppress dust and provide habitat for fish and birds. But while a few of those projects have gotten underway, most of them are still in the planning stage, and nobody knows where all the money will come from. The White House hopes to jump-start the process.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates that smart and strategic action in Salton Sea can unlock significant public health, environmental, and economic wins for the region,” Brian Deese, a senior advisor to Obama, said in a statement.
Details of the state-federal memorandum weren’t clear early Wednesday. But Bruce Wilcox, who oversees Salton Sea policy for the California Natural Resources Agency, described the document as a “big step.” While the feds previously signed a Salton Sea memorandum in 2014, this one outlines specific details about state-federal cooperation and potential funding mechanisms, Wilcox said.
“We’ve gotten to the point where both the state and the federal government recognize the importance of moving forward,” he said.
The Department of Energy’s request for information on geothermal development could also signal a sea change.
The rock formations beneath the Salton Sea contain one of the most powerful geothermal reservoirs in the world, and local agencies, including the Imperial Irrigation District, have long argued that fees paid by geothermal companies could help fund Salton Sea restoration. But geothermal development has largely stalled in recent years, due to the technology’s high up-front costs.
Geothermal advocates have criticized the California Public Utilities Commission, which administers the state’s renewable energy mandate, saying the agency has under-valued geothermal and stymied its development. While building the facilities is expensive, those critics say, geothermal plants provide climate-friendly energy around the clock, balancing out intermittent solar and wind power.
If the federal government follows through on its request for information and buys geothermal energy from the Salton Sea, it could “break the deadlock” and help spark a geothermal building boom, said V. John White, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, a Sacramento-based trade group.
“We’ve got to start somewhere,” White said.
The White House’s involvement in Salton Sea restoration also bodes well for ongoing Colorado River negotiations between California, Arizona and Nevada. The three states hope to share in cutbacks so as to avoid a looming shortage at Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir. If they agree to use less river water now, the thinking goes, they could avoid federally mandated reductions later.
But any agreement to use less Colorado River water will probably require buy-in from the Imperial Irrigation District, which provides enormous amounts of river water to Imperial Valley farms. Less water flowing to those farms would also mean less runoff trickling into the Salton Sea, potentially accelerating its decline. Irrigation district officials are loathe to support a Colorado River deal without firm commitments from the state and federal government to address the Salton Sea, and a concrete plan for following through on those commitments.
“I think there is a real opportunity for the Colorado River community, the federal government, and the state of California to make some real headway on this longstanding problem of what to do about the Salton Sea, and I think that opening is right now,” Kevin Kelley, the district’s general manager, said in an interview last week.
Then there’s the $10-million funding goal from the Water Funder Initiative, a nonprofit backed by philanthropic organizations including the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the Water Foundation. The group’s goal is to support sustainable water management projects, especially in the American West, and it sees the Salton Sea as a critical piece of the Colorado River puzzle, said Ted Kowalski, director of the Walton Family Foundation’s Colorado River initiative.
The Water Funder Initiative is describing the $10 million as a “goal” rather than a “commitment” because it’s contingent on state and federal officials developing a comprehensive Salton Sea plan. The initiative’s backers are looking for a plan that addresses air pollution in disadvantaged communities, habitat loss, clean energy development in the Imperial Valley and better water management across the Colorado River basin. That plan should include “sufficient funding commitments from the State of California and the Federal government,” the initiative said in a statement.
It’s not yet clear what the $10 million would pay for. But Kowalski is hopeful the money will contribute to “real progress on the ground” at the Salton Sea, in coordination with state and federal dollars.
“It’s a looming environmental disaster, but it’s a huge opportunity to basically assure sustainable management on the Colorado River system, if we can come together and figure out these issues,” he said.
The White House also said Wednesday that a $7.5 million Salton Sea grant from the Department of Agriculture, which was announced earlier this year, is close to being finalized. That money will go to the Salton Sea Authority, a local agency whose board includes representatives from water providers, county governments and the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians.
Among other uses, the $7.5 million grant could go toward helping farmers adopt organic practices that don’t use pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, said Phil Rosentrater, executive director of the Salton Sea Authority. That would mean fewer chemicals entering the Salton Sea in agricultural runoff, polluting the lake and later being blown from the dry lakebed into the Southern California air. The money could also be used to convert exposed lakebed into cropland, keeping down dust. The goal is to back projects that can simultaneously improve air quality, water quality and wildlife habitat.
“We really want to make sure we achieve as many benefits with a single influx of public money as possible. One thing we don’t have is an excess of money, or an excess of time,” Rosentrater said.
Still, it’s far from clear how much the initiatives being announced Wednesday will help. State officials have said their work-in-progress Salton Sea Management Program could cost as much as $3.5 billion, and it’s not clear where the bulk of that money will come from. Some experts don’t think geothermal can play a major role in Salton Sea restoration, including researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, who estimated last year the industry could generate at most $210 million for restoration efforts by 2030, largely because development is already so expensive.
Recognizing the high costs of building a geothermal plant, the White House will announce $29 million in funding from the Department of Energy for geothermal research projects in Nevada and Utah on Wednesday. That work, in theory, could bring down the costs of development. The department will also host a forum on Salton Sea geothermal development in October, in Sacramento.
White called Wednesday’s announcements “a step in the right direction.”
“Now the challenge is, how do we build on this momentum and get something done,” he said.
Whatever comes next for California’s largest lake, time is short.
For the last dozen years, the Imperial Irrigation District has replenished the Salton Sea with “mitigation water” direct from the Colorado River, which it’s receiving as compensation for agreeing to send 10 trillion gallons of water to the Coachella Valley and San Diego County over 75 years, as part of a huge farm-to-city water transfer deal. But that mitigation water is set to run out Jan. 1, 2018.
That means in just under 500 days, the lake will start shrinking even faster.
“We applaud President Obama’s announcement,” said Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association. “We hope it moves forward action to meaningfully address the environmental and public health crisis looming at the Salton Sea while utilizing its largely untapped geothermal potential.”
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY FEDERAL ENERGY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Request for Information on the Availability of New Geothermal Electricity in the Salton
Sea Area to Serve Regional Federal Load
August 25, 2016
The purpose of this request for information (RFI) is to solicit input from industry on options available to the Federal Government for a potential aggregated power purchase of 100 – 250 MW of newly constructed geothermal electricity generated in the Salton Sea area, which lies within the Riverside and Imperial Counties of California, for delivery over a ten-year or twenty-year contract period to serve regional Federal load.
DATES: Comments and information are requested on or before September 29, 2016.
ADDRESSES: Interested parties may submit comments electronically:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include “August 2016 Geothermal RFI” in the subject of the message.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tracy Niro, U.S. Department of Energy,
Federal Energy Management Program, e-mail: email@example.com.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In order to respond to increasing demand for renewable energy and to help meet Federal agency renewable goals established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, as well as by the President in Executive Order 13693, the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) seeks information on the potential for new geothermal energy projects located in the Salton Sea area to provide 100 – 250 MW of renewable electricity via power purchase contract to serve regional Federal Government load located in one or more of the Arizona counties of: Pima, Pinal, Maricopa, Yuma, La Paz and/or the California counties of: Imperial, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles. Because FEMP is familiar with the solar and wind resources available in the area, this RFI is focused solely on new geothermal electricity potential.
One means of facilitating the development of new renewable resources is through the use of long term power purchase contracts, whereby a third party funds, develops, operates, maintains and owns a renewable energy project, and a Federal agency (or other customer) commits to purchase the energy, capacity and/or renewable energy certificates (RECs) from the project owner. For the purposes of this RFI, new geothermal resources are defined as those which are not in service as of the date of this RFI.
The power purchase contracting vehicle is an attractive solution to help the Federal Government meet its renewable energy goals and FEMP would like to learn more about options for such contracts now and in the immediate future for new geothermal electricity generated in the Salton Sea area.
1) Describe local new geothermal electricity generation options in the Salton Sea area, which is within the Riverside and Imperial Counties of California, to serve from 100 – 250 MW of Federal load in the surrounding region, which includes the following Arizona counties: Pima, Pinal, Maricopa, Yuma, La Paz and/or the California counties of: Imperial, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles counties, via power purchase contract; include the approximate timeframe for power delivery to commence.
2) Describe the optimal delivery point(s) for the electricity and whether deliveries would be around the clock.
3) Describe the optimal contract term for any potential power purchase contract. Some Federal agencies have longer term contracting authorities than others. For example, the Department of Defense has 30-year contracting authority via 10 U.S.C. 2922a, whereas civilian agencies are typically limited to a ten-year contract via 40 U.S.C. 501, or may pursue a ten-year contract with a unilateral ten-year option for the Government to renew.
4) Identify any transmission, congestion, or infrastructure issues that could impact potential projects in the Salton Sea area.
5) For the purposes of this RFI, FEMP is interested in projects with an estimated price per kWh at or below the 2014 average retail price for electricity in California, calculated at 15.15 cents per kWh by the Energy Information Administration.1 Describe what variables or considerations can impact the price and provide options for different types of pricing including: fixed rate, fixed rate with fixed escalation, and base rate with indexed inflation.
6) Specify whether RECs would be included in the sale of electricity and describe the optimal REC ownership arrangement.
7) Provide any additional information that may assist the Federal Government in understanding the options available for an aggregated power purchase contract of 100 – 250 MW of new geothermal electricity generated in the Salton Sea area. Please note that FEMP is not an electricity or utility service procurement agency for the Federal Government; this RFI will be used for information purposes only.
CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED INFORMATION: FEMP advises commenters to avoid including any information in their responses that might be considered business sensitive, proprietary, or otherwise confidential. If, however, a commenter chooses to submit business sensitive, proprietary, or otherwise confidential information, it must be clearly and conspicuously marked as such in the response. In addition, (1) the header and footer of every page that contains confidential, proprietary, or privileged information must be marked as follows: “Contains Confidential, Proprietary, or Privileged Information Exempt from Public Disclosure” and (2) every line and paragraph containing proprietary, privileged, or trade secret information must be clearly marked with double brackets or highlighting. Failure to comply with these marking requirements may result in the disclosure of the unmarked information under the Freedom of Information Act or otherwise. The U.S. Federal Government is not liable for the disclosure or use of unmarked information and may use or disclose such information for any purpose. If a comment contains confidential, proprietary, or privileged information, the commenter must include a cover sheet identifying the specific pages containing confidential, proprietary, or privileged information.
Timothy D. Unruh
Federal Energy Management Program
Energy Department Announces $29 Million Investment in Enhanced Geothermal Systems Efforts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of the Obama Administration’s continued commitment to the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Energy Department today announced $29 million in funding under the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) program for projects awarded to teams at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Utah. The funding will be for each team to fully instrument, characterize and permit candidate sites for an underground laboratory to conduct cutting-edge research on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). The Sandia team will be working on a site in Fallon, Nevada, and the University of Utah team will be working at a site in Milford, Utah.
“Enhanced Geothermal Systems can help us tap into a vast energy resource with the potential to generate enough clean energy to power millions of homes,” said Franklin Orr, Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “In supporting this technology, the FORGE program is advancing American leadership in clean energy innovation and could ultimately help us meet our climate and sustainability goals.”
The Energy Department, with the support of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), awarded funding to these two teams after a competitive first phase of research to evaluate potential EGS underground research sites. The candidate sites announced today in Nevada and Utah will use this new funding to prepare for the competitive third phase of the FORGE effort, which will designate one of the sites as the headquarters for the future underground field lab.
EGS have the potential to unlock access to domestic, geographically diverse and carbon-free sources of clean energy by using heat from the earth to generate renewable electricity in areas without naturally occurring geothermal resources.
“Nevada will be the perfect location for the Department of Energy’s new FORGE laboratory,” said Senator Harry Reid. “The nation’s lab for advancing geothermal energy belongs in Nevada and will further establish Nevada as a leader in renewable energy. Enhanced Geothermal Systems are the next frontier in clean energy, and are an enormous opportunity for the Silver State’s economic growth. I thank President Obama and Secretary Moniz for their ongoing commitment to expanding the scale and benefits of geothermal energy all across the country.”
EGS are the means by which resources are accessed from deep beneath the surface of the earth where there are hot rocks ideal for geothermal wells but little naturally occurring liquid to generate steam. Pumping fluids into the hot rocks creates pathways that carry heat to the earth’s surface through wells where the fluids become steam to drive turbines and generate electricity. Investing in EGS technologies today could eventually lead to more than 100 gigawatts (GW) of economically viable electric generating capacity in the continental United States, representing an increase of two orders of magnitude over present geothermal capacity, which currently stands at 3.5 GW.
For further information, please visit Energy.gov.
Corbetti Geothermal PLC EOI Notice
Corbetti Geothermal PLC is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from interested parties for EPCM services for the first phase of the Corbetti geothermal project in Ethiopia, Africa.
Corbetti Geothermal PLC is developing a geothermal power project in the Corbetti caldera in Ethiopia. The first phase of the project includes plans to install two (2) new wellhead backpressure turbines with total capacity of 10 MW.
To provide steam to the wellhead turbines, Corbetti Geothermal plans to drill five (5) wells on at least two (2) well-pads. The 5 wells are expected to allow for a complete assessment of the geothermal resource. It is however anticipated that only two wells will be needed for the backpressure turbines. Corbetti Geothermal, with the support of third party geothermal experts, will test the wells.
The EPCM services should include not only the wellhead plant but also the substation and connection. The scope of the project will thus include construction of a substation and connection to the EEP system at 132 kV, requiring a transmission line of approximately 10 km of 15 kV line from the wellhead units to the substation.
The EPCM services (Services) required for this project include but are not limited to:
* Engineering: Owners consultant, Mannvit-Verkis, will provide a provisional design for virtually all aspects of the project. The Engineer will confirm the design, modify it as necessary, supplement the design as required, and produce procedures and testing protocols necessary to complete the project. Thus, the Engineer will assume full responsibility for the design.
* Procurement: Procure all equipment, materials and services needed for successful implementation of 10 MW (net) generating capacity with two 5 MW back pressure turbines. It is expected that the Company will be the signatory on the purchase contracts for the high value equipment.
* Construction: Manage and construct all works related to the project from the wellheads to the EEP connection point. Enter into sub-contracts as necessary for this work.
* Commissioning: Undertake all work necessary to commission the project. For the BP turbines, it is expected that the commissioning will be done in cooperation with the BP turbine supplier.
Interested parties are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for EOI information.
Power Africa Launches New Partnership With the Government of Japan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Power Africa announced a new partnership arrangement with the Government of Japan focused on reducing energy poverty and increasing access to sustainable energy in sub-Saharan Africa. The Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the United States and Japan — signed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) — includes commitments to share strengths, expertise and resources in an effort to accelerate access to renewable energy in Africa.
Through Power Africa, USAID and MOFA seek to further align the Power Africa initiative and Japan’s relevant efforts in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process and will provide a foundation for collaboration in the energy sector. Through this MOC, the Government of Japan is committing to bring an additional 1,200 megawatts (MW) of power to sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2018.
TICAD is a unique process that has made remarkable contributions to African development for more than 20 years through the joint efforts of co-organizers, namely the Government of Japan, the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the African Union Commission (AUC). Improvement of access to energy has been one of the key issues, and at TICAD’s fifth summit in 2013, the Government of Japan made a commitment to provide financial support amounting to 200 billion JPY ($2 billion USD) to promote low-carbon energy in Africa over five years.
This partnership arrangement represents the United States and Japan’s shared commitment to contribute to the global effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular to contribute to efforts to achieve SDG 7, which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.
“I am pleased today to sign this Memorandum of Cooperation, on behalf of the United States Government, which represents a new partnership with the Government of Japan,” said Linda Etim, the head of African Affairs for the U.S. Agency for International Development. “Japan is already a strong partner in Africa as evidenced by the TICAD Summit and I am certain this partnership will advance our common commitment to electrifying the continent.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Japan to increase access to renewable energy for people across sub-Saharan Africa,” said Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz. “With our combined resources and expertise, we are better equipped to facilitate the implementation of more low-carbon energy projects and enhance energy efficiency in existing power plants in the years to come.”
“We are glad to enter a new stage for our already strong partnership, and the signing of this MOC sends a strong message to African people that our governments are taking the issue of energy poverty seriously,” said Seiji Okada, Ambassador for TICAD. “I am also pleased to show that TICAD is an open initiative to mobilize various efforts to overcome critical development issues in Africa.”
Additionally, through this partnership, the United States and Japan intend to collaborate on the following issues, in order to accelerate our progress towards our shared goals under Power Africa:
* Leverage Investments in Cleaner Energy, Including Renewable Energy and Natural Gas. Power Africa and MOFA plan to explore the development and implementation of projects, share information on project opportunities, increase transparency, identify constraints to project development, and coordinate on policy dialogues with African governments on key regulatory reforms to attract more energy sector investment.
* Advance Geothermal Sector in East Africa. Recognizing that geothermal is an integral aspect of sub-Saharan Africa’s renewable energy supply, Power Africa and MOFA endeavor to support sub-Saharan African governments in developing their geothermal potential. Support may include co-leading a stakeholder coordination group, facilitating private sector-led investments, working to improve the enabling environment, and conducting strategic assessments.
* Improve Energy Efficiency. Energy efficiency is often a cost-effective and fast way to free up power and can complement projects that generate new electricity. Power Africa and MOFA intend to collaborate in enhancing energy efficiency as a way to make more megawatts available on the grid.
* Support Cross-Border Energy Trade. Power Africa and MOFA plan to build on their existing support for regional power pools to strengthen economic integration, increase power generation, and expand access to power.
Power Africa has leveraged nearly $43 billion in commitments from the public and private sectors, including more than $31 billion in commitments from the private sector.
Our public sector partners, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank Group (WBG), the Governments of Sweden, Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU), have collectively committed nearly $12 billion in support of sustainable energy activities across the region. Power Africa also has strategic partnerships with the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4All), and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
This new partnership builds on Power Africa’s broad coalition of public and private sector partners, and will help accelerate progress towards our shared goal of doubling access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa — by adding at least 30,000 MW of new, cleaner electricity generation capacity and increasing electricity access by at least 60 million new connections by 2030.
ElectraTherm Power+ Generator Exceeds 3,000 Hours in Japan
Fuel-Free, Emission-Free Power from a Geothermal District Heating System
Reno, Nevada – ElectraTherm, a leader in distributed waste heat to power generation, announces the Power+ Generator™ 4400 commissioned in April 2016 has exceeded 3,000 of operational runtime. This is the first Power+ Generator in Japan, located in the city of Beppu, and it utilizes geothermal heat to generate fuel-free, emission-free electricity at the site.BeppuJapan
The Power+ runs off low temperature geothermal steam from a small district heating system. As the Power+ generates power, it also provides cooling with zero environmental impact or imposition on the onsen’s primary function as a community resource. The power generated is sold to the local utility at an attractive feed-in-tariff rate for renewables.
ElectraTherm utilizes Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) and proprietary technologies to generate up to 110kWe of electricity from low temperature water ranging from 77-122°C. At this site, the onsen provides varying flows of geothermal steam at approximately 110°C. Unlike other renewable sources, geothermal heat is baseload, providing a continuous hot water flow with power generation capabilities 24/7. Hot geothermal water is the fuel used to create a high pressure vapor that expands through ElectraTherm’s patented twin screw power block, spinning an electric generator to produce clean electricity while simultaneously cooling the water up to 20°C.
“The US Department of Energy sponsored a program in 2012-2013 for ElectraTherm to develop a ‘micro-geothermal’ power plant that could tolerate remote, unmanned operation and also be able to handle the challenges presented by varying geothermal resources,” said John Fox, CEO of ElectraTherm. “This is the first commercial site in Japan to showcase that investment.”
“We are thrilled with the reliability and proven success of the Power+ Generator,” said Kazunori Ueda, Project Lead and Director of Sales & Marketing, Sankou Denki. “3,000 hours with very high availability speaks to the robust operation of ElectraTherm. Since Japan offers an attractive feed-in-tariff rate for geothermal at 40 Yen/kW (~$.33/kW), we believe there is great potential to repeat this success at the hundreds of similar districting heating systems and onsens (hot springs) throughout Japan.”
ElectraTherm’s Power+ Generators utilize waste heat on applications such as internal combustion engines, biomass boilers, incinerators, geothermal and also flare to power methane utilization at wastewater treatment plants and oil & gas fields. ElectraTherm’s Power+ fleet of 50+ global installations has exceeded 580,000 hours of run time. A list of reference sites is currently available on the website.
Aceh Governor Eyes Geothermal Project in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem
Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah has written to the Environment and Forestry Ministry in Jakarta, asking for part of the core zone of Mount Leuser National Park to be rezoned for geothermal development.
The plan is for a company owned by Turkish venture capitalist Emin Hitay to explore the area for geothermal resources. Hitay intends to invest billions of dollars in geothermal projects across Indonesia.
Abdullah argued that the project would support President Joko Widodo’s goal of adding a 35,000 megawatts of generating capacity to Indonesia’s electrical grid.
Environmentalists object to the plan because they say it will threaten endangered wildlife and harm local livelihoods.
The governor of Indonesia’s Aceh province is moving forward with a plan to rezone part of Mount Leuser National Park for geothermal development, despite opposition from conservationists who say the project threatens key rhino and orangutan populations.
Last week, Governor Zaini Abdullah sent an official letter to the forestry minister in Jakarta asking that a section of the park’s “core zone” be changed to a “utilization zone” so that a Turkish company may develop geothermal there. The utilization zone would still be part of the park.
The company, PT Hitay Panas Energy, is an arm of Hitay Holdings, an investment group founded and chaired by Emin Hitay, one of Turkey’s richest men.
Hitay has some history in Indonesia. He served as the archipelagic country’s honorary consul in Istanbul, and chairs the Turkish-Indonesian Business Council. He also tattooed onto his back a large image of the Garuda Pancasila, Indonesia’s coat of arms, in a profession of affinity for the Southeast Asian nation.
Hitay plans to invest billions of dollars in nine geothermal projects across Indonesia’s main western islands of Sumatra and Java.
Mount Leuser National Park is part of the wider Leuser Ecosystem, a nationally protected area constituting one of Southeast Asia’s last great swaths of intact rainforest. But the Aceh government’s 2013 spatial plan makes no mention of Leuser, and local officials have argued that the province has a right to develop the area. Aceh fought a long separatist war that ended in 2005 and enjoys special autonomy as a result of the peace agreement.
The spatial plan is now the subject of a citizen lawsuit filed by Acehnese activists and indigenous groups who want Jakarta to strike it down. The EU has also approached Governor Abdullah’s administration about revising the plan, but those efforts have yet to bear fruit. Even Hollywood actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has spoken out about the plan, endorsing a Change.org petition for its cancellation after a recent visit to the forests of Aceh.
In his letter to the forestry minister, Governor Abdullah stressed that the “green” geothermal project would support President Joko Widodo’s plan to add 35,000 megawatts of generating capacity to Indonesia’s overstretched power grid by 2019.Conservationists counter that it would harm local livelihoods and the environment.
“The fact is that Mount Leuser National Park has been continuously degraded by illegal logging and illegal plantations,” said Muhammad Nur, head of the Aceh branch of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), a national NGO. “Granting an exploration permit in the core zone will exacerbate the damage, and building a road there will facilitate access for timber thieves.”
The geothermal plan will harm water quality, he added. Walhi has sent the forestry ministry its own letter rejecting the project.
Bustami, a resident of Gayo Lues district, where the project would be located, said there was great potential for development in Gayo Lues that didn’t harm the environment.
“Hydropower has not yet been developed, while there are dozens, even hundreds of points that can be utilized,” he said.
Noviar Andayani, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s country director in Indonesia, said after a presentation delivered by the park’s management authority in June that the area should remain a core zone because of its high biodiversity.
Leonardo DiCaprio, right, posted this photo on his Instagram page after his visit to Leuser last weekend. Farwiza Farhan, left, chairs Forest, Nature and Environment Aceh (HAkA), an NGO, and Rudi Putra, center, is a biologist who received the prestigious Goldman Prize in 2014.Leonardo DiCaprio, right, posted this photo on his Instagram page after a recent visit to Leuser. Farwiza Farhan, left, chairs Forest, Nature and Environment Aceh (HAkA), an NGO, and Rudi Putra, center, is a biologist who received the prestigious Goldman Prize in 2014.
Ian Singleton, director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Project, said that even if the forests next to the geothermal site were left untouched, the 1,000-1,500 Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) living to the west and north of the proposed site would be threatened by it.
“Roads would fragment the animal population there,” he said. “It would be dangerous if this happens.” Only 14,600 Sumatran orangutans, a critically endangered species, are thought to remain.
Widodo Ramono, director of the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI), said the project would likely harm Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) in the area. Only around 100 individuals are thought to remain.
Aceh government spokesperson Frans Delian confirmed on Wednesday that the letter had been sent.
The proposed change would see over 18,000 hectares rezoned, according to the June presentation, delivered to forestry ministry and local officials.
“In the past, the core zone could not be contested. It’s different now – we’re also required to manage the area to produce non-tax revenue,” the park’s chief, Andi Basyrul, said at the presentation in Medan, Sumatra’s largest city.
Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah sent this letter to Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya last week, asking for part of the core zone of Mount Leuser National Park to be rezoned for geothermal development.Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah sent this letter to Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya last week, asking for part of the core zone of Mount Leuser National Park to be rezoned for geothermal development.
U.S. EIA: Geothermal Very Competitive on Levelized Cost of Electricity Basis
In a paper published earlier this month, EIA, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, shared its findings of a research on average values of levelized costs (LCOE) for generating technologies entering in service 2018, 2022 and 2040.
These findings are represented in the National Energy Modelling System (NEMS) for the Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016) Reference case.
Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is often cited as a convenient summary measure of the overall competitiveness of different generating technologies. It represents the per-kWh cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating LCOE include capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, financing costs, and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type.4 The importance of the factors varies among the technologies.
The report highlights the competitiveness of geothermal energy in the U.S. energy market.
For the capacity weighted average LCOE based on 2015 $/ MWh for plants entering into service in 2022, sees geothermal as very competitive. It has the highest capacity factor of 91% and a levelized capital cost of $27.8/ MWh. … the total LCOE including tax credit is $39.5/ MWh, by far the lowest followed by Wind (on shore) with $50.9/ MWh, natural gas with $55.8-56.4/ MWh, solar PV at $58.2/ MWh and hydroelectric at $63.2/ MWh.
The report provides also different scenarios, but all see geothermal as highly competitive on a LCOE basis. The above chart therefore provides only an overview for one scenario. To read the full report see link below.
Geothermal Agency Opens Search for New Chiefs After Shake-up
The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has opened the search for seven senior managers to replace executives kicked out last November mainly over tendering irregularities.
The State-owned firm Wednesday advertised all the positions of general managers – despite having sent home five top managers – signalling a major shake-up at the graft-tainted geothermal producer.
Those purged and arraigned over breach of procurement laws included then acting chief executive Godwin Mwawongo, company secretary Praxidis Namoni Saisi, Peter Ayodo Omenda (research and development), Michael Maingi Mbevi (drilling), Abraham Kipchirchir Saat, Nicholas Karume Weke, and Caleb Indiatsi Mbayi.
Also charged alongside the managers was Bruno Mugambi Linyiru, the Inspector-General in charge of State corporations, who doubled as a member of the firm’s tender committee.
“GDC’s board of directors is seeking to recruit experienced, result oriented individuals with excellent leadership and technical skills,” the parastatal said in a notice.
Those eying the positions need to have an undergraduate degree in the relevant field, hold appropriate professional qualifications such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), be members of a professional body and backed by at least 12-year experience with five years in a senior position.
The GDC has reorganised and renamed the seven general manager offices advertised. These positions are currently held in an acting capacity by Godfrey Shitsama (finance), John Lagat (geothermal resource development), and Irene Onyambu (human resource and administration).
Others in interim capacity are Paul Ngugi (strategy, research and innovation), Cornel Ofwona (drilling and infrastructure), and Christopher Leparan (corporate services).
The tender committee members are accused of inflating prices and irregularly procuring Bonfide Clearing and Forwarding Ltd to provide rig moving services.
Court papers show the GDC awarded the firm a contract to move geothermal rigs and other equipment in 40 lots, with each costing Sh42.7 million – more than double the prevailing market prices.
KenGen is said to have hired the same firm for similar services and paid between Sh13.5 million and Sh24.4 million, according to documents filed in court.
This procurement saga forced GDC’s founding chief executive Silas Simiyu to resign in March 2015.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was sucked into the GDC debacle and mid this year appointed lawyer Gershom Otachi Bw’Omanwa as chairman and 2013 Narok governor candidate Johnson ole Nchoe as CEO.
Geothermal Picks Up Steam With Alberta Proposal to Retrofit Abandoned Oil Wells
It’s been an awfully rough year for Alberta, with the resource-rich province currently grappling with a 31.5 per cent drop in oil prices, 39 per cent increase in unemployment and a quadrupling in the number of abandoned oil and gas wells.
But for many advocates of geothermal energy, that particular trio of stats represents a massive window of opportunity for the province, especially when paired with the government’s recent decision to phase out coal-fired power and generate 30 per cent of its electricity via renewables by 2030.
“The market timing is better than it’s ever been, the economic forces are better than they’ve ever been and I think we’re poised for a true boom,” says Sean Collins, partner at Terrapin Geothermics.
Interest in the idea has been growing in recent months, receiving a major boost in early August with MLA Shaye Anderson’s formal proposal to convert an inactive well to capture direct heat for an 8,000 square foot greenhouse near Leduc.
Currently, the Alberta government is in the process of implementing its Climate Leadership Plan; a spokesperson from the province’s ministry of environment and parks says it will look at exploring the option more, emphasizing it’s a “complex issue that requires input and consultation from multiple agencies and stakeholders” in order to get it right.
Here are a few things that will have to happen for Alberta to take advantage of its massive geothermal potential (which, according to a 2013 study by the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, could be as high as 8,800 megawatts of power given a five per cent recovery rate at a depth of 3.5 kilometres, far surpassing the combined capacity of Alberta’s coal-fired power plants).
Province Needs Geothermal Regulations
Despite years of pressure from the geothermal industry, there’s no regulatory framework in Alberta (or Canada for that matter) that actually allows for the capturing of geothermal energy.
“You can go and try find it: I wish you luck,” quips Craig Dunn, chief geologist at Borealis GeoPower.
Collins says many wells across North America are already pulling 95 to 99 per cent water up and just “happen to scrape a little bit of hydrocarbons out of the top.” But at the moment, that hot water is treated as a waste product: it’s not allowed to be transported via pipeline for direct heating purposes or harnessed to spin a turbine to generate electricity (or heat another fluid with a lower boiling point to spin the turbine in a process called “binary cycle”).
That must change for geothermal to stop serving as what Collins dubs “the forgotten technology in Canada,” which could come in the form of new legislation or amendments to existing rules.
Jonathan Banks – research associate at the University of Alberta specializing in the mapping and commercialization of geothermal potential in the province – says there will also be regulations required in getting electricity into the power grid; a delayed process will likely deter investors as they want to start generating cash flow sooner rather than later.
It’ll take some work. But it’ll eventually lead to test projects to demonstrate the technology and attract public and private funding, then opening up the doors for widespread commercialization.
It’s been an awfully rough year for Alberta, with the resource-rich province currently grappling with a 31.5 per cent drop in oil prices, 39 per cent increase in unemployment and a quadrupling in the…
Mapping of Geothermal Hot Spots Underway
Alison Thompson, chair and co-founder of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA), says there are 440,000 wells scattered across Alberta, with 77,000 listed as inactive or suspended and another 180,000 formally abandoned or “orphaned.”
Many of those wells won’t be suited for geothermal retrofits. Banks stresses that wells are abandoned for many different reasons, including economic undesirability and compromised structural integrity. Drawing up salt water through existing well casings can result in “often aggressive and expensive issues,” Banks says. Sour gas can erode the well casing. Others aren’t close enough to cities and towns to harness the potential for direct heating.
Many maps have already been drawn up due to oil and gas drilling. But more work will have to be done to establish the premium spots for geothermal on a case-by-case basis.
Currently, Banks is working with Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions and five rural municipalities in the northwest of the province to complete targeted reservoir exploration, mapping in 3D the boundaries of the best reservoirs related to the population centre.
When the team started looking, they were hoping to find 10 reservoirs of a certain criteria, with a combined capacity of 100 or 200 megawatts of power. Instead, they found 50 reservoirs. More mapping with likely lead to more such findings, helping to reduce commercial risk and accelerate technological developments as more retrofits are completed.
Retrain Oil and Gas Workers for Geothermal
All that would be required to make a promising pre-existing well operable for geothermal capture, Banks says, would be a deepening of the well by as little as 10 or 20 metres since water reservoirs tend to sit just below oil and gas pools.
Day rates for drillers are at 20 year lows, he adds, making it a highly cost-effective option.
Lliam Hildebrand – founder and executive director of Iron & Earth, an organization of oilsands workers pushing for investments in renewables – suggests that such opportunities would be just the beginning for labourers.
“If we actually started creating some geothermal power projects, our skills as tradespeople – as welders and steel fabricators and electricians and crane operators and pipefitters – are all directly transferable to the industry with very, very little retraining required.”
Hildebrand says a lot of the jobs would be in the manufacturing of actual steel components like the heat exchange, piping and tubing, as well as the electrical work required to hook the generators up to power lines. Rig operators would have to undergo some specific retraining, he says; CanGEA is already hosting workshops for that component of it.
In addition, it will take some retooling and specialized equipment: “What we really need from the government is this type of research and development and innovation grants to help these manufacturers position themselves as providers for these kinds of manufacturing demands,” he says.
Many orphaned wells are capped with cement and remediated by an industry association, rendering them economically useless for the purposes of harnessing geothermal.
Discussions would have to happen between many stakeholders including companies, leaseholders, the provincial government, the Alberta Energy Regulator and Orphan Well Association to figure out the complicated logistics, especially around leasing and liability issues.
Dunn says purchasing an abandoned oil well for a dollar is like buying a car with a body in the back: “It’s a great deal until you have to figure out what to do with the mess.” There are completely viable geothermal developments, he says, but companies take very significant project risk given potential issues around remediation or other lingering environmental concerns.
“My sense is most geothermal companies are going to be really hesitant: no-one’s going to take over the liability for a well, just because there’s a split incentive problem where companies may give you their worst wells that have things you don’t really know of,” Collins says.
The key, he says, is to target people at the point in time where the operation has the budget to do some removal and convince them to convert the well instead of plug it. Nobody’s gone through the specific leasing process on any major scale to know what the best set-up is.
That’s where the government can step in, helping to bring various players together to establish when the best window of opportunity is for companies to step in and do something different with the well.
Government Help Needed to Level Playing Field
Sara Hastings-Simon, director of the Pembina Institute’s clean economy program in Alberta, emphasizes that government intervention like the Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority (AOSTRA) allowed for the development of the oilsands, with direct stimulus spending kicking off solar in the U.S.
“Every new energy resource in the history of Canada has received support to build that industry,” emphasizes Dunn. “That’s true across the board: deep natural gas got subsidies for wildcatting, heavy oil got a massive subsidy with royalties and everything else along the way. This is not an equal playing field when you’re breaking into new energy markets.”
Geothermal should be recognized for the point in commercialization that it’s at, Hastings-Simon says. In other words, it has to be treated differently than solar and wind, which have had respective headstarts (geothermal has been historically disadvantaged due to the fact that companies could make more money focusing on extracting $100/barrel oil).
Direct funding is a must, although Hastings-Simon stresses it must be project-based not company-based.
“Obviously you need to be careful and do it in a smart way so you’re not wasting taxpayer dollars, and you need to make sure you’re not doing it for 50 projects at once,” she says. “You’re recognizing the point at which geothermal changes into being a more commercialized technology and the support then changes form again.”
Government also has the power to reduce upfront costs of capital via loan guarantees and accelerated capital depreciation; Hastings-Simon says that could come via the Climate Leadership Plan’s innovation fund, or tied to economic development and trade (as expertise could eventually be patented and exported).
Creating a Geothermal Buzz
Let’s be honest: geothermal’s an extremely cool technology.
The Alberta government has spent decades and millions of dollars promoting its oil and gas sector. Why not turn those same efforts towards boosting the public’s understanding and enthusiasm for geothermal?
Heck, here are a few random facts that could be used in promotional campaigns:
1) Geothermal heat can be used to melt snow on sidewalks and roads, saving cities millions of dollars in snow clearing costs;
2) Since the wells already exist and have been used reliably for decades, there’s a near-zero chance of seismic activity often associated with fracking and drilling;
3) Geothermal can theoretically be paired with carbon capture and storage as supercritical carbon dioxide can transport heat more efficiently due its density; and
4) Alberta’s cold winters would greatly improve the efficiency of geothermal plants given the temperature gradient between the resource’s depth and ambient environmental conditions.
The technology is also rapidly advancing: Banks says his team is developing a heat engine that can take advantage of lower temperature resources in the province, boosting what might be a few hundred megawatts of power to several gigawatts of power.
All up, geothermal represents a stupidly massive opportunity for Alberta to heat its homes, greenhouses and animals barns, generate electricity to replace coal-fired power plants and put thousands of out-of-work tradespeople back to work.
Dunn is hopeful, suggesting the massive handicap against the industry is “very fixable with the right protocol motivations.”
“It’s a clean, renewable resource that is almost perfectly aligned with our current workforce,” he concludes. “Why would we not at least try?”
Tiffany Lai Conquers a Geothermal Challenge
Tiffany Lai combined two seemingly different interests, earth science and design, and created an infographic that took the top prize in a competition offered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office in partnership with the Center for Advanced Energy Studies and Idaho National Laboratory.
A 2015 graduate of Montville Township High School, Lai is majoring in design at Carnegie Mellon University. She had considered pursuing science after high school, where she was very interested in biology and earth science, but instead opted to focus on something she was more “passionate about.” Lai was president of the Earth Club and was the student representative for Montville’s Environmental Commission.
Design may have won out, but science is not completely out of the picture. The geothermal challenge was very appealing to her.
“It combined two of my passions – design and environmental issues. I had never created an infographic before, let alone participate in a national design contest, so I saw it as a personal challenge and definitely a first,” stated Lai.
Together with her teammates, fellow CMU students Susie Lee and Marisa Lu, the trio set out to answer the competition’s question: What is the future of geothermal and how will it impact you?
The team, To Infinity and Below, did extensive research on the subject and then considered the information that they wanted to use and the story they wanted to tell. Each drew up her own ideas and presented them to the group over a series of meetings. After discussions, decisions, and more research, they put together their infographic.
“My team and I didn’t want to only focus on geothermal energy. We wanted to compare it to other energy sources as well to look at our energy choices realistically,” explained Lai. “So, at the top of the infographic, we depicted two pie charts – one for ‘current’ and one for ‘future.’ They are in the shape of a normal light bulb for ‘current’ and an energy-efficient light bulb for ‘future,’ symbolizing the hope for an energy-efficient future.
“Underneath that, we created a mountain range from the cost graphs of different energy sources, compared to geothermal energy. We wanted to create a landscape, but not sacrifice aesthetics for information, so we compromised and made the mountain range into a graph.
“The bottom of the infographic digs deep into the Earth and is focused mainly on the benefits of geothermal energy and the downsides of conventional energy sources used today. The very bottom is Earth’s core, and poses one last question to make our viewers heavily consider the future. ‘Where do you see our energy future?’
“If I had to summarize it, I would say our infographic’s story is effective because it compares geothermal energy to other energy sources used currently, which may have given us an edge in the competition.”
As for the team’s name, it was created in the third round of the competition which involved a media campaign. They were searching for a geothermal energy pun.
“Someone mentioned ‘to infinity, and below!’ and we really liked the sound of it,” stated Lai. “It really resonated with how geothermal energy is sustainable and nearly unlimited, so we thought it was a perfect pun. From then on, we were known as Infinity and Below.”
The grand prize awards the team with $2,500 and a trip to Sacramento, Calif., to attend the Geothermal Resource Council’s 40th annual meeting, where they will present their infographic.
Of this trip, Lai stated, “My team and I are so excited and honored to attend the Geothermal Resource Council convention in October. I really hope to learn more about geothermal energy and its benefits, as well as interact with those who are knowledgeable about this topic. The convention will have lectures and workshops about different aspects of geothermal energy, so I hope it will be a great opportunity to connect with people, learn, and have fun.”
Polaris Infrastructure Announces Connection of Well SJ 9-4
Polaris Infrastructure Inc. (TSX: PIF) (“Polaris Infrastructure” or the “Company”), a Toronto-based company engaged in the operation, acquisition and development of renewable energy projects in Latin America, is pleased to provide the following update with respect to the San Jacinto drilling campaign.
Following the completion of temporary piping and steamfield infrastructure, new production well SJ 9-4 was successfully connected to the San Jacinto plant on the evening of August 24, 2016 and is contributing incremental power generation of approximately 10 MW. In light of temporary operational throughput constraints, we have not yet been able to open SJ 9-4 to 100% of its capacity. We anticipate further opening the well in a phased approach over the balance of 2016, and expect to have relieved throughput constraints following completion of a planned maintenance program in February of 2017. Bringing the well online now, albeit in a restricted manner, will allow for incremental production and cash flow as well as increasing our knowledge of the attributes and long term potential of SJ 9-4. Given the short period of time that SJ 9-4 has been connected, we cannot yet comment with certainty on the sustained level of power generation that we expect to realize. We anticipate that measurements of SJ 9-4 will be required over the course of several months in order to comfortably conclude with respect to the long-term contribution expected from the well.
“We are pleased to have achieved this important milestone with respect to the San Jacinto drilling program,” said Marc Murnaghan, Chief Executive Officer of Polaris Infrastructure. “Although I must stress the fact that SJ 9-4 has been connected for less than 24 hours and it is premature to conclude with respect to its long-term contribution, the early results are certainly a positive indication. Along with continued modest contribution from SJ 6-3, our first new production well, we anticipate that SJ 9-4 will become a reliable contributor at the San Jacinto project and leave us well-positioned entering 2017.”
European Mexican Research Project Exploring Ultra-deep Geothermal Resources
In a release today, Utrecht University from the Netherlands has provided details about an exciting research project on geothermal energy.
The GEMEX Project is an international collaboration between the EU and Mexico in which Earth scientists from Utrecht University, among others, together with colleagues from Mexico aim to detect heat which is stored deep underground to make easier and cheaper geothermal energy. The Earth’s crust in Mexico is different to that of the Netherlands. In Mexico, it takes a depth of just one to two kilometres to reach about 130 to 300 degrees Celsius, whereas in the Netherlands it takes at least a depth of 4 km to reach that temperature. The Gemex Project allows for relatively shallow boring to develop knowledge for the development of ultra-deep geothermal energy in the Netherlands at a low cost.
Jan-Diederik van Wees, Earth Scientist at TNO and Utrecht University, examines how to assist predictive models for the detection of favourable conditions for ultra-deep geothermal underground sources. It is not only temperature, but also deep-permeability that is of interest, both of which are necessary in order to bring out the heat in the form of water and to inject it again after cooling. The stressed state and the dependent deformation of the crust also plays a major role. Deep groundwater flows move easier along active faults. Knowing where these fractures are allows better access to geothermal energy, and also helps in assessing the risks of seismic activity.
A solid base in Utrecht
Earth scientists at Utrecht University have a solid foundation in tectonics, geophysics and seismology, research fields that are essential for geothermal exploration. They often work with the predictive models of van Wees, which his colleagues use to bore in the right places. The TNO and Utrecht University cooperation has resulted in geothermal exploration in several major international research projects including IMAGE (Integrated Methods for Advanced Geothermal Exploration), GEOCAP (Geocapacity building Netherlands-Indonesia) and now GEMEX. Together, these projects account for more than EUR 3 million ($3.4 million) in Utrecht research funds, of which over EUR 1 million ($1.1 million) is for Utrecht University.
Geothermal heat under the Uithof
There are potentially suitable rocks for the development of ultra-deep geothermal in Utrecht. The opportunity to use this source in the long term is something Utrecht University is looking into with different companies here.
PLN to Buy Half of Pertamina’s Geothermal Unit
State utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara plans to buy 50 percent interest in Pertamina Geothermal Energy, a wholly owned geothermal unit of state energy company Pertamina, by the end of this year.
PLN, the country’s only buyer for all electricity, must be involved in decision making for Indonesia’s largest geothermal company to accelerate development, the government has argued.
“The Energy and Minerral Resources Minister Rini Soemarno wanted this acquisition to be done this year. This is her corporate decision,” said Sofyan Basyir, the president director of PLN.
He did not disclose the price of the acquisition.
Sofyan added that the acquisition would eventually reduce prices PLN needs to pay for Pertamina Geothermal Energy’s steam, and in turn, would reduce overall energy cost.
Some Pertamina Geothermal Energy’s projects in the past was shafted due to PLN’s refusal to commit on buying the former’s steam due to high pricing.
Indonesia has set a target for renewable energy to make up 23 percent of its energy mix by 2025, with geothermal alone to contribute 12 percent to the total mix.
Geothermal Energy: an Expensive but Attractive Option for Latin America
In a world with an increasing need for clean energy alternatives, geothermal power is attracting attention thanks to the benefits it offers when adequately developed. It can generate electricity with less environmental impact and at a lower cost than fossil fuels such as oil and coal. And since it is a renewable energy source, it can help ensure the security of the electric power supply.
Despite these benefits, the difficulties and costs of launching operations are considerable. These can cause delayed or interrupted projects, as have occurred in some parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the study Comparative Analysis of Approaches to Geothermal Resource Risk Mitigation: A Global Survey, by ESMAP, a global fund administered by the World Bank to assist countries in developing clean energy projects.
According to the report, “addressing this challenge is even more relevant given that the majority of sites suitable for development around the world are green fields, i.e., new fields that require surface reconnaissance and exploration drilling.”
The report estimates that global geothermal power generation potential is between 70 to 80 gigawatts (GW). However, after more than 100 years, just 15% of known geothermal reserves around the world are exploited for electricity production, generating just 12 GW.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua have potential for geothermal power generation. Curiously, production in the first two countries is low or non-existent (even though investments began in Chile in the 1960s) while Mexico has four active fields. Brazil has few studies on the exploitation of geothermal energy for electric power generation.
An exploration campaign and initial test drilling program of three to five geothermal wells costs anywhere from $20 to $30 million. This is a modest sum compared with the cost of developing a geothermal project; nevertheless, it is difficult to raise these funds given the risks inherent in these operations.
Just locating and verifying the availability of energy resources can take two to three years. Then another three to five years are needed to carry out additional drilling to guarantee the steam supply and to build the power plant.
The public sector continues to be the largest investor in this type of energy given the perception that it is more capable of assuming risks. In Latin America, there are nine fields that receive government support, and five operating with shared investments (public and private sectors).
More than 3.5GW of installed geothermal capacity worldwide corresponds to government-funded projects. As the report states, the private sector can and should become more involved, for which reason attractive financing mechanisms for companies are needed.
As well as examining public, private and shared investment experiences worldwide, the report introduces other mechanisms, such as the geothermal resource insurance policy (used in Germany and France) and fiscal incentives for industry, which are widely used in Mexico. That country offers a 100% tax deduction on renewable energy investments.
International organizations also play a key role in the development of geothermal energy thanks to the financial resources and technical assistance they can offer, especially to the smaller economies of the Caribbean, which are highly dependent on oil and other fossil fuels.
The World Bank’s ESMAP, for example, leads the Global Geothermal Development Plan to mobilize new funds for initial investment phases, which carry the greatest risk. So far, the plan has raised US $235 million, of which $162.3 million are earmarked for projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
These investments are important for the regional environment and economy since they can reduce some countries’ dependence on oil, a finite source of energy that is subject to constant price fluctuations and has a well-known negative impact on the environment.
Oregon Agency Offers $2M in Renewable Project Incentives
The Oregon Department of Energy is making $2 million in tax credits available for new renewable energy projects.
The new energy conservation incentives specifically back renewably sourced thermal energy projects that use solar, geothermal or biomass directly – as long as that energy is not converted into electricity
The state Department of Energy is offering $2 million in tax credits for power conservation projects.
The state Department of Energy is offering $2 million in tax credits for power… more
Applicants must maintain a business site in Oregon or be an Oregon-based nonprofit organization, tribe or public entity. The incentives cannot exceed 35 percent of a project’s costs.
Project proponents can further request a tax credit of less than 35 percent of costs to make their bids more competitive.
Proponents can claim the tax credit in the first year if a project’s costs do not exceed $20,000.
Exergy Expects to Add an Additional 200 MW Geothermal Capacity in Turkey
Italian Exergy SpA, an ORC-technology supplier to the biomass, waste heat and geothermal sector, has been very active in recent years, with a strong emphasis on supplying geothermal turbines to the growing Turkish geothermal market.
Acting in Turkey through a Turkish subsidiary, the company maintains a production facility near Izmir, procuring almost all of its components for the plants sold in Turkey in the country.
According to Matteo Quaia, Deputy General Manager for Turkey, the company plans to add 100 MW in geothermal power generation capacity in Turkey by the end of 2016 and another 100 MW in 2017.
In a recent interview with Anadolu Agency, he said “Our greatest market and our main focus is the Turkish geothermal market where we encountered great success by providing more than 300 MW of green energy and obtained almost a 50 percent market share. Additionally, we have also supplied several waste heat recovery plants to recover energy out-of-flue gases produced by Turkish glass mills, enabling these facilities to be greener.”
With the tremendous growth of the Turkish geothermal sector from 30 MW in 2008 and 713 MW today (August 2016), it remains a strong market for global and local suppliers to the geothermal energy sector.
With the facilities in Izmir, Exergy can provide “a quick and efficient after-sales service support during the plant’s operation. While successfully establishing it, [Exergy] also looked into the possibility of producing the turbines and its accessories locally. In accordance with local regulations, our customers would highly benefit by installing locally produced components. The result of these investigations was very positive so, after being sure of our ability to provide the highest quality local products to our Turkish customers, we also decided to open a manufacturing facility,” he explained.