In this post:
*Good Things Come in Threes
*IRENA/GGA Working Session at GEA’s Marketing Forum
*FREE Agency Match Making Session
*CA Roundtable Event
*GEA’s Salton Sea Request for Information Comments
*GEA Wants to Say a Special Thanks to its 2016 Members
*Obama’s Climate Legacy on Trial
*Indonesia Struggles to Tap Volcanoes for Geothermal Power
*Geothermal Drilling Project Preparations to Begin Soon in St. Kitts and Nevis
*Indonesia Offers $420m Geothermal Projects in Sumatra and Maluku
*Soil Survey Shows Strong Lithium Results at the Nevada Energy Metals Black Rock Desert Project
*KenGen Bets on Modular Power Plant Technology
*New Zealand Invests in Geothermal Energy Exploration in Dominica
*New Zealand Committed to Development of Indonesia’s Renewable Energy Sector
*BLM Moves Forward with Phase I of Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan
*The Geothermal Community Meets in Strasbourg for the European Geothermal Congress 2016 to Celebrate European Excellency Calls for Clear Structural Signals and Tailored Tools for Further Expansion
*Capitol Drafts Position Paper on Proposed EDC Geothermal Study
*Kenyan Geothermal Gets $60 Million From African Development Bank
*USTDA Supporting Akiira Geothermal Project in Kenya
*KenGen Wins Prestigious Engineering Awards for Geothermal Work in Kenya
*Maibarara Wins 2016 Asia Geothermal Project Award
*Indonesia to Auction 20 MW Gunung Hamiding Geothermal Project
*California Wildfire Forces Evacuation of 300 Homes
GEA’s Salton Sea Request for Information Comments
By Karl Gawell
The federal government announced a commitment to support geothermal production from the Salton Sea at the annual Lake Tahoe Summit on August 31st. An Request for Information (RFI) was issued by the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the Federal Energy Management Plan (FEMP) providing the details available at:
The RFI seeks “to solicit input from industry on options available to the Federal Government for a potential aggregated power purchase of 100-250MW 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”.
GEA filed comments with DOE/FEMP expressing its support for the initiative. GEA’s comments said:
“The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is a trade association composed of over 100 U.S. companies that support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and direct-heat uses. The Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area (SSKGRA) is one of the largest and abundant geothermal resources in the world, and its future is often tied to the course of efforts to restore the environmental and economic health of the region. Expanding geothermal production from the Salton Sea would benefit national, state and local economic and environmental objectives.
By any measure, the Salton Sea has significant geothermal power potential. The Salton Sea, according to the California Energy Commission’s 2004 report, most likely has a field generation capacity of 1750 MW. (http://www.energy.ca.gov/reports/500-04-051.PDF) A more recent 2013 study by EES Consulting concluded that “[t]he total economic and achievable resource potential near the Salton Sea is estimated at 2,000 MW for projects located on [Imperial Irrigation District], federal, and privately owned land.”
The local economic benefit of producing electricity from these resources would be substantial. Imperial County faces chronically high unemployment rates of roughly 25% – not just the highest high unemployment rate in California but frequently the highest rate of any county in the entire nation. Geothermal power plants help grow local employment because they employ about 1.17 persons per MW at each operating power plants. These are permanent jobs that last the entire 30-50 year lifetime of the power plant. In total, adding governmental, administrative, and technical related jobs, the geothermal industry employs about 2.13 persons per MW. In some circumstances, GEA estimates the persons per MW employed is 19 times the reported onsite employment of wind or solar PV project and 5 times reported onsite employment for concentrating solar project.
The typical 20 MW geothermal facility will generate $6.3 to $11 million dollars in property taxes for state and local governments over the lifetime of the facility. Building out the remaining geothermal resources at the Salton Sea could generate $10 to $20 billion dollars in property taxes over the next 30-50 years, which could be allocated to mitigate the environmental challenges of a receding sea.
Existing geothermal plants paid about $26 million in rents and royalties to state, federal and local governments nationwide in 2014 of which three-quarters (about $19.5 million) is returned to benefit state and local county governments. Many geothermal resources in California are located on federal lands. Expanding the use of geothermal resources in the state would grow the rents and royalties governments receive as well.
Of course, while revenues and jobs are important, they represent only some of the benefits geothermal development would bring to the region. As the sea recedes, landscape-level planning from geothermal development can help control particulate matter pollution that would normally be released if development had not occurred on the same parcel of land. Geothermal power has one of the smallest footprints on the environment of any energy power technology, making additional environmental disruption from new development minimal. Furthermore, by displacing fossil fuel technology with near zero Greenhouse Gas emitting geothermal generation, the GEA estimates that achieving the full potential from the Salton Sea could add $100 million annually in public health and environmental benefits.
Geothermal also has operational values that support an efficient and reliable power system. Geothermal power provides high value baseload power that can substitute for coal or nuclear plants megawatt for megawatt. Geothermal power uses transmission lines efficiently and has other energy security and environmental values.
For all of these reasons, we support efforts to expand geothermal production from the Salton Sea geothermal resources.”
Karl Gawell, GEA
GEA Wants to Say a Special Thanks to its 2016 Members
BOARD Level Members
Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Calpine Corporation, Cyrq Energy, Inc., ENEL Green Power Company North America, Inc., Ormat Technologies, Terra-Gen LLC, US Geothermal
EXECUTIVE Level Members
Chadbourne & Parke LLP, EthosEnergy Group, Northern California Power Agency
AltaRock Energy, Inc., Burisma Holdings Limited, Cameron International, Domenic J. Falcone Associates, Expro Group, Fuji Electric Corp. of America, GEFCO, Geothermal Development Associates, Geothermal Resource Group, Inc., GeothermEx, Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy- UNR, Hanjin D&B, Hudson Products Corporation, Hydro Resources, Indar Electric, Industrial Builders, Inc., Kenai Drilling, LTD, Leidos Corporation, Locke Lord LLP, Mitsubishi Power Systems, Inc., Nalco, Paul Graham Drilling & Service Co., Perkins Coie LLP, Phoenix Geophysics, Pioneer Petrotech Services, POWER Engineers, PowerChem Technology, Scientific Drilling International, Sinclair Well Products, Inc., SNC-Lavalin Constructors Inc., SPX Heat Transfer LLC, ThermaPrime Drilling Corporation, Thermochem, Inc., TNG Energy Services, Trisage Consulting, Van Ness Feldman, P.C., Veizades & Associates, Inc., Velan GmbH, Victaulic Corporation, Vooner FloGard Corporation, Wieland Thermal Solutions
SMALL BUSINESS Members
Agua Caliente, AMG National Trust Bank, AMSA, Inc., Ballew Waterfall, C. Steinweg (Houston, TX) Inc., Capuano Engineering Company, Coastal Technologies, Inc., Cooling Tower Depot, Inc., Cornell Energy Institute, Consent Energy, LLC, Controlled Thermal Resources, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences- UNM, Dewhurst Group, DOSECC Exploration Services, LLC, EvapTech, Inc., Geologica Geothermal Group Inc., Geothermal Science Inc., Global Power Solutions, LLC, GreenFire Energy Inc., Horizon Well Logging, Inc,. Industrial Cooling Solutions, Inc., International Cooling Tower USA, Inc., Island Oil Exploration, Jim Ray Co., Inc., John M. Phillips, Kelly Pipe Co., LLC, KMS Technologies, Kodali, Inc., Layman Energy Assocaites, Inc., Mink GeoHydro, Pagosa Verde, LLC, Panorama Environmental, Ram Energy, Inc., Starlight Investments, Torishima Pump Mfg. Co., Ltd
The 2017 membership year is underway with new opportunities! If you are not a GEA Member, join today! The Geothermal Energy Association is the definitive voice of the geothermal industry and works adamantly on the industry’s behalf. New levels and benefits of membership added for the new year.
Obama’s Climate Legacy on Trial
The centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change agenda goes to court on Tuesday, where it will face challenges from 28 states, the coal industry and more than 100 other groups. But in a broad sense, it’s the opening salvo of a fierce legal battle that will decide his legacy on global warming.
Oral arguments in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals are the beginning of the legal challenges, not the end, because the case is expected to go on to the Supreme Court, which stayed Obama’s Clean Power Plan in February.
The power plan, which the Environmental Protection Agency made law a year ago, orders states to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a third by 2030 to fight global warming. It is the centerpiece of Obama’s climate change agenda and the cornerstone of his effort to meet U.S. obligations under the 2015 Paris climate deal to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels worldwide.
Judges this week will be asked to rule that the EPA misapplied its authority to regulate existing power plants by seeking to regulate states, and that it went beyond congressional intent and violated the Constitution.
The constitutional claims may be the ticket to a Supreme Court date next year. It agreed with state and industry challengers on Feb. 9 to halt the EPA rule while awaiting a decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which might take until next year. State attorneys general and the coal industry say the stay proves the justices agree with the merits of the case.
Meanwhile, the EPA and its supporters say the Supreme Court’s action implies nothing about the strength of their arguments. The court stayed the plan knowing it would come back for judgment later, observers say. But first it has to go through the federal appellate court.
“When deciding the legality of EPA’s power plan, the court must address issues ranging from whether EPA has any authority to regulate [carbon dioxide] from coal-fired power plants at all to whether the plan is at its core unconstitutional,” said Laura Sheehan, senior vice president for communications at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
“Regardless of the argument, we remain steadfast in our hope that the court rules against this overreaching plan and puts states’ rights ahead of politicized agendas being promulgated by D.C. bureaucrats,” she said.
Indonesia Struggles to Tap Volcanoes for Geothermal Power
Columns of steam shoot from the ground at an Indonesian power plant sitting in the shadow of an active volcano, as energy is tapped from the red-hot underbelly of the archipelago.
Pipes zigzag up rugged mountainsides covered in tea plantations, carrying steam from below the surface to power enormous, electricity-generating turbines at the Wayang Windu facility on Java island.
Indonesia, a seismically-active island chain studded with scores of volcanoes, holds an estimated 40 per cent of the world’s geothermal energy reserves, but has long lagged behind in its use of the renewable power source.
Now the government is pushing to expand the sector fivefold in the next decade, although the challenges are huge in a country where the burden of red tape remains onerous, big projects are often delayed and targets missed.
“The potential is tremendous,” said Rully Wirawan, field manager at Wayang Windu. “The current government is trying to tackle the challenges so I believe the development of the sector will be better in future.”
Geothermal, a clean energy source which releases negligible amounts of greenhouse gases, unlike burning fossil fuels, is mostly found in seismically-active areas around tectonic plate boundaries.
Heat emanating through the faultlines warms underground reservoirs, and the resulting steam can be channelled to geothermal energy plants.
The majority of Indonesia’s power is generated from its abundant reserves of coal and oil.
It currently has installed capacity to produce about 1,400 megawatts of electricity from geothermal, enough to provide power to just 1.4 million households in the country off 255 million.
That is less than five per cent of geothermal’s estimated potential and behind the world’s two leading producers of the energy source, the US and the Philippines.
But the government is aiming to increase Indonesia’s generating capacity to around 7,200MW by 2025, as part of a broader plan to boost the renewables sector, which would likely make it the world’s top producer of the power source.
A major part of the drive is a law passed two years ago that means geothermal exploration is no longer considered mining activity, as it was previously.
The old definition had held up the industry as mining cannot be carried out in the country’s vast tracts of protected forests, believed to contain about two-thirds of Indonesia’s geothermal reserves.
The government is also seeking to sweeten local administrations – which had sometimes resisted the construction of the steam-belching facilities – by offering them up to one per cent of revenue from any geothermal plant in their area.
Abadi Poernomo, chief of the Indonesian Geothermal Association, which represents companies involved in the sector, is upbeat about future prospects: “A lot of investors from abroad are coming to Indonesia with the intent to develop geothermal.”
Still, the challenges are enormous. While achieving the 2025 target may be possible, it will be extremely difficult, said Daniel Wicaksana, an energy expert at consultancy Frost and Sullivan Indonesia.
One of the biggest problems is the high exploration costs needed at the outset, as checking for potential geothermal reserves is a complex, time-consuming business, that is not always successful.
Building a geothermal plant costs the equivalent of US$4 to US$5 million dollars per megawatt, compared to US$1.5 to US$2 million for a coal-fired power station, according to the association.
Investors have also complained about what they say is the relatively low price offered by the state-run power company to buy electricity from a geothermal facility, which they claim usually doesn’t cover the large initial outlay.
To top it all off, Indonesia’s complicated bureaucracy puts many off – 29 permits are required from different government agencies and ministries for a geothermal plant, and time-consuming negotiations with powerful local administrations can also hamper progress.
“The level of complexity to complete the necessary paperwork, at the local level especially, also adds to the slow development of geothermal,” said Wicaksana.
Green groups have also questioned authorities’ commitment to geothermal in the near term – a plan by the government to ramp up electricity-producing capacity dramatically by 2019 seems more focused on building coal-fired power stations than expanding the use of renewable energy sources.
Wayang Windu, which is jointly managed by independent company Star Energy and state-owned energy giant Pertamina and takes its names from the active volcano near the plant, illustrates some of the challenges.
Exploration first began at the site in 1985 but it was not until 15 years later that the plant began producing electricity commercially, while work on a new unit to boost power generation has been delayed due to negotiations over cost.
Even officials admit achieving the government geothermal target will be tough.
Ego Syahrial, the head of the government’s geology agency, which assesses geothermal energy reserves conceded: “The progress is not very encouraging to be honest.”
Geothermal Drilling Project Preparations to Begin Soon in St. Kitts and Nevis
The Premier of Nevis the Hon. Vance Amory announced on Thursday during the 10th Annual Consultation on the Economy that Nevis Renewable Energy International (NREI) will soon bring drilling rigs into Nevis to begin setting to produce geothermal energy.
Nevis financial institution representatives attended the event at the Nevis Performing Arts Theater (NEPAC).
“The developers that we have contracted to develop the program here in Nevis will have their drill rigs in Nevis at the end of September or at latest the middle of October,” Premier Amory said. “They will then carry out the necessary exploration to complete the production wells.”
The Minister of Tourism Hon. Mark Brantley issued a press release announcing Nevis will “switch on “geothermal by December 2017.”
“That means that when the plant switches on in December 2017, 100 per cent of Nevis’ electricity will be supplied by renewables,” the minister said.
Former Minister of Energy Carlise Powell, in a previous interview with The Observer, doubted Nevis will get geothermal energy before 2018. In addition to being drilled, Powell explained, production wells have to be tested. He noted that besides the drilling, materials to build the geothermal plant must be manufactured and shipped to Nevis in bits and pieces. Powell steered the first geothermal project in Nevis with West Indies Power (WIP).
In the meantime, Premier Amory noted the Concerned Citizens Movement-led Nevis Island Administration is still looking at converting waste to energy in the near future.
“We have seen some a little hiccup in the matter of waste to energy, although there has been some benefit we still think this is an important aspect of our renewable energy or our alternative energy to the use of fossil fuel,” the Premier said.
Premier Amory said that before the tourism season begins in November, a 2.5 megawatt generator will be online “to ensure that during the high season when electricity consumption is at its highest we will not leave our people stranded.”
Indonesia Offers $420m Geothermal Projects in Sumatra and Maluku
Two geothermal working areas in Jambi and North Maluku, worth a total $420 million, will be offered by the government towards reaching renewable energy goals, a ministry representative said.
The government has established 33 projects for investors after passing the geothermal law in 2014 which allows exploitation of forested areas to tap 29,000 megawatts of geothermal energy potential.
The latest two projects are the 110-megawatt Graho Nyabu power plant in Jambi, which covers an area of 109,000 hectares and has an estimated reserve of 200 megawatts, and the 20-megawatt Gunung Hamiding power plant in North Maluku on 42,100 hectares, with an estimated reserve of 265 megawatts.
Yunus Saefulhak, director of geothermal services at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said investors can submit their offers by Oct. 20.
Benchmark prices offered for Graho Nyabu geothermal block is capped at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour and 22.6 cents per kilowatt-hour for Gunung Hamibing, Yunus said.
Two more geothermal projects will be up on offer later this month – the 10-megawatt Gunung Galunggung in West Java and the 20-megawatt Gunung Wilis in East Java, and two more are being prepared for auction – the 20-megawatt Marana in South Sulawesi and the 65-megawatt Gunung Talang-Bukit Kili in West Sumatra.
According to the ministry, 25 more projects with a total capacity of approximately 1,500 megawatts will be auctioned by 2018.
Since the law passed two years ago, the government has only auctioned the 165-megawatt Gunung Lawu on the border of East and Central Java, and the 55-megawatt Way Ratai in Lampung. The first project was won by state-owned energy company Pertamina, while the second by Enel Green Power, an Italian multinational renewable-energy corporation, and a local firm Optima Nusantara Energi.
By 2025, Indonesia wants to reach the capacity of 7,000 megawatts from geothermal power plants. Currently, the capacity is only 1,404 megawatts.
Soil Survey Shows Strong Lithium Results at the Nevada Energy Metals Black Rock Desert Project
Nevada Energy Metals Inc. is pleased to announce that a surface sampling program designed to test for lithium (Li) values in playa evaporates has returned significant geochemical results at the Company’s 100% owned Black Rock Desert Project in Nevada. Geochemical sample points were arranged on a grid pattern of 11 lines spaced 400 meters apart with stations every 200 meters along the lines. One hundred and seventy (170) soil samples were collected. Results ranged from 82.8 to 520 parts per million (ppm) lithium with a median value of 182 ppm. Twelve samples carried over 300 ppm Li.
The Black Rock Desert results are comparable to those obtained at Teels Marsh, Nevada by Dajin Resources Corp. (55 -460 ppm Li) and in clay separates at Clayton Valley, Nevada (300 – 1,100 ppm Li). It is not known what relationship if any exists between lithium values in clay concentrates and those in bulk soil samples.
These results show that dissolved lithium has been transported into this portion of the Black Rock Desert and is available for potential concentration by evaporative brines. The exploration model for the Black Rock Project is a Clayton Valley evaporative brine deposit as described in USGS Open File Report 2013-1006.
Samples were collected by a contract crew and transported to the ALS sample preparation lab in Elko, Nevada. Samples were screened to -80 mesh at the ALS prep lab in Reno, Nevada and analyzed by Aqua Regia leach mass spectrometry at the ALS laboratory in North Vancouver, B.C. Canada. QA/QC standards were inserted into the sample stream with one in twenty samples being a standard. All standards were within 3% of their accepted value of 750 ppm.
As a result of encouraging lithium values at the Black Rock Desert, the company has dispatched a crew to expand its land position by staking additional claims.
About the Blackrock Desert Lithium Project:
The Black Rock Desert Lithium Project consists of 128 placer claims, (2,560 acres/ 1,036 hectares) located in southwest Black Rock Desert, Washoe County, Nevada. The nearest population center is the town of Gerlach, which lies 177 kilometers north of Reno.
The western arm of the Black Rock Desert covers an area of about 2,000 square kilometers and contains 5 of the 30 currently listed Known Geothermal Resource Areas in Nevada. The property covers an area of playa underlain by a moderately deep basin interpreted from gravity and seismic surveys, indicating a maximum thickness of valley-fill deposits of about 1,200 m/3,600 ft. A high salt content prevents any significant vegetation from growing on the playa surface. Locally, the basin is being fed in part by boiling springs and siliceous sinter containing strongly anomalous lithium values (up to 3.5 ppm) that flank the property on the west side (U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Open-File Report 81-918). While these lithium values are well below those of producing lithium brines, they do represent a significant source of metal available for evaporative concentration within the playa basin.
The company plans to carry out additional exploration programs this fall to determine the potential for an economic lithium brine deposit. Future exploration will consist of shallow auger sampling followed by a high resolution geophysical program to define potential drill targets.
KenGen Bets on Modular Power Plant Technology
Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has announced commencement of bids for the construction of modular geothermal power plants at Olkaria. According to KenGen, the construction of the plant will reduce over reliance on hydroelectric power generation. The new system will also cut the costs of generation. Modular power plant will generate power using a well head generator that will tap steam from the geothermal wells. Unlike permanent power plants which take up to 36 months to construct, the new technology, according to KenGen, will only take six months, therefore ensuring a quick return on investment. The use of mobile well heads to generate power was first introduced in the country in 2014 and targeted production of 5MegaWatts (MW) of electricity.
New Zealand Invests in Geothermal Energy Exploration in Dominica
The government of Dominica and the government of New Zealand expanded their cooperation in geothermal energy development with the signing of a NZ$2.05 million (US$1.5 million/EC$4 million) partnership agreement to support the construction of a 7 MW geothermal power plant in Dominica.
The agreement was signed between the ministers of foreign affairs, Francine Baron of Dominica, and Murray McCully of New Zealand.
Since 2014, the government of New Zealand has been providing the government of Dominica with technical assistance for the development of Dominica’s geothermal resources.
The new partnership will expand the technical assistance and be based on an implementation timeframe of 2016 to 2019. It will include:
* Technical advice for the front end engineering and design;
* Project management support to help progress the project through tendering and award of contracts so that construction can commence;
* An environmental and social impact assessment, management plan and management system; and
* A project manager, to be seconded into the Dominica Geothermal Company to coordinate all activities to execute the project for a period of up to 24 months once the EPC contract has been signed, commencing in 2017 and concluding in 2019.
The assistance from New Zealand will provide the government of Dominica with the technical expertise required to realize the construction of the 7 MW geothermal power plant to be commissioned in 2019.
New Zealand Committed to Development of Indonesia’s Renewable Energy Sector
Speaking at the World Renewable Energy Congress in Jakarta, New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay has expressed his country’s commitment towards the development of geothermal energy in Indonesia.
After the first geothermal energy collaboration back in 1982 in Kamojang, West Java, New Zealand is enthusiastic for more renewable energy projects in the country.
“After 35 years, I am pleased that New Zealand is still playing a role in geothermal energy,” McClay said in an interview with the Jakarta Globe on Friday (23/09).
He explained that during his visit two months ago, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced that his country will invest $22 million in Indonesia’s geothermal energy sector over a five-year period.
“This investment will go towards boosting capacity building, training, and allowing access to geothermal energy in Maluku, Eastern Indonesia,” the minister said.
New Zealand’s role also extends to advisory and regulatory positions, and building strengths in the hydro, geothermal and wind energy sectors.
According to McClay, Southeast Asia’s demand for renewables is forecasted to grow by 140 percent, which will require investment of nearly $1 trillion.
However, to prepare for this, he said financial resources and partnerships must involve the international community, and New Zealand is prepared to lend its expertise by offering technologies and realizing renewable energy opportunities in developing countries.
Regarding Indonesia, McClay said he is positive in fostering bilateral relations through this sector.
“President [Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo] has set a target of having 23 percent renewable energy by 2025, and Indonesia has a significant abundance and availability of geothermal energy. New Zealand can be a strong supporter for geothermal energy,” McClay said.
During his speech, McClay also commended Indonesia for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and congratulated the country on this achievement.
“You massively reduced your gasoline and diesel subsidies at the end of 2014, delivering savings up to $15.6 billion – you rightly deserve to be congratulated for this,” he said.
BLM Moves Forward with Phase I of Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan
Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) has now been approved, paving the way for streamlined permitting and environmental review of qualified renewable energy projects on Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-administered lands in the Mojave and Colorado/Sonoran desert regions of Southern California.
As discussed in a previous post, the four lead agencies responsible for preparing the DRECP introduced a phased approach to implementing the DRECP in March 2015. After receiving public comments, BLM released a Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA) and Final Environmental Impact Statement for Phase I-the DRECP’s federal land component-in November 2015. On September 14, 2016, BLM signed the Record of Decision (ROD) approving the LUPA.
The Approved LUPA affects land use planning decisions for 10.8 million acres of the 22 million total acres covered under the DRECP, setting aside these BLM-managed lands for conservation and recreation and identifying priority areas for renewable energy development. Specifically, the Approved LUPA designates 388,000 acres of “Development Focus Areas,” which are lands identified as having high-quality solar, wind, and geothermal energy potential and access to transmission. Projects sited in Development Focus Areas are intended to benefit from streamlined permitting and mitigation process, as discussed in our previous post.
In addition to Development Focus Areas, the Approved LUPA designates:
· 40,000 acres of Variance Process Lands for renewable energy development
· Approximately 6.5 million acres for conservation
· Approximately 3.6 million acres for recreation
· 419,000 acres of General Public Lands, which lack a specific designation
In its press release announcing approval of Phase I, BLM noted that “[t]he lands specifically identified for renewable energy development by the plan have the potential to generate up to 27,000 megawatts of renewable energy-enough to power over eight million homes-that will help meet federal and state renewable energy and climate change goals.” BLM also acknowledged that the approval of Phase I will held the Department of the Interior meet President Obama’s Climate Action Plan goals, which call for the approval of at least 20,000 megawatts of renewal energy capacity on public lands by 2020.
As a next step, the BLM Desert District will lead the implementation of Phase I and apply the land use allocations to future actions. Phase II of the DRECP-focusing on non-federal lands-follows the ROD and will focus on aligning local, state, and federal renewable energy development and conservation plans. The lead agencies have not yet set a timeline for Phase II.
Latham & Watkins Environment, Land and Resources attorneys will be tracking the DRECP’s progress and updates will be announced at the DRECP website.
The Geothermal Community Meets in Strasbourg for the European Geothermal Congress 2016 to Celebrate European Excellency Calls for Clear Structural Signals and Tailored Tools for Further Expansion
More than 800 participants are joining the European Geothermal Congress in Strasbourg this week. The event, organised every three years by the European Geothermal Energy Council, brings together stakeholders from the entire Geothermal community for sessions covering science, markets, and social issues, an exhibition, courses, and side events.
Geothermal in Europe is growing and the sector maintains its technological leadership. Today, 88 power plants with a total installed capacity of 2.28GWe are in operation, with an increasing number of innovative binary turbines. There are also 527 district heating plants with a total capacity of 4.7GWe; new designs and IT techniques will revolutionise the sector, creating modern, adaptable systems for future communities.
Around 1.7 million ground source heat pumps are providing sustainable heating, cooling and hot water to homes and businesses across Europe, making it the leader in this technology. This growth has been supported by both European and national measures for climate, energy and innovation, which have triggered interest and private investment in Geothermal.
Still, the potential for geothermal energy to provide renewable, clean, local, safe, and reliable energy is much larger, but barriers still exist.
Clear and strong signals are needed at a European level. In the legislative framework for the period after 2020, to be unveiled by the commission by the end of the year, investors must be reassured of stability in regulatory and planning systems over the next 15-20 years. New legislation should include requirements for a minimum share of renewables in new buildings, remove incentives for fossil fuel systems, and grant Member States the flexibility to develop their own instruments which will allow the next generation of technologies to develop.
Local, national, and international political and industrial leaders opened the event on Tuesday morning, describing how Europe is leading the world in innovation and scientific excellence. Strasbourg, France, provides an excellent stage for this event; famous since Roman times for its geothermal spas, it is now at the vanguard of geothermal development as the home of the first demonstrated EGS plant at Soultz-sous-Forêts, and the first EGS plant providing heat to industry.
Philippe Richert, President of Region Grand Est described how geothermal development is just beginning in the region, adding “I believe in the future of deep geothermal” whilst Robert Hermann, president of Strasbourg Eurométropole said geothermal is “an incredible opportunity for our region”. Marc Kugler, director general of ÉS elaborated on the groups plans for deep geothermal development and renewables.
Anne Sander MEP noted that “whilst the EU has seen some crises, it continues to progress towards reaching its goals for energy efficiency, less greenhouse gas emissions, and a greater share of renewables”. Paolo Bertuzzi, CEO of Turboden explained how “geothermal is key in ensuring the five energy union objectives are met”.
This week in Strasbourg, the industrial and scientific geothermal communities join together and demonstrate Europe’s ability to use geothermal to provide clean and secure energy. European and national authorities must seize this opportunity to allow the sector to flourish.
The new board of the European Geothermal Energy Council was also elected at the congress, with President Burkhard Sanner standing down. The new board is comprised of
President: Ruggero Bertani (ENEL Green Power)
Vice President: Miklos Antics (GPC IP)
Vice president: Javier Urchueguia (Energesis)
Treasurer: Attila Kujbus (Geothermal Express)
Board Member: Marco Baresi (Turboden)
Board Member: Robert Gavriliuc (Romanian Geoexchange Society)
Board Member: Thor-Erik Musaeus (Rock Energy)
The congress is organised by the European Geothermal Energy Council www.egec.org
Capitol Drafts Position Paper on Proposed EDC Geothermal Study
The Provincial Government of Negros Occidental is drafting a position paper on the proposed study of geothermal producer Energy Development Corp. (EDC) in the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP).
Fifth District Board Member Alain Gatuslao, chairman of the Provincial Board committee on chairman of committee on laws, rules and ordinances, said Wednesday he was tasked to draft the joint statement of the executive and legislative regarding the issue.
Gatuslao said there is already an initial position paper, but he pointed out that the provincial government should answer in terms of policy, and not legal basis.
“If we base our arguments on the law, we couldn’t do anything because the law can be changed anytime. A law can be repealed or amended,” he said.
Gatuslao added that “the fact that they’re confident to explore, they know something that we don’t.”
“The provincial government should come up with a clear policy that this is what we want and that is no exploration and that we’re pro-environment. If you (EDC) wants to come in, we want renewable energy,” he said.
Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson had earlier said the provincial government is opposing any proposed geo-scientific study of EDC in Mount Mandalagan, which is part of the NNNP.
He said they will not allow any new geothermal project in the NNNP, adding that Negros Occidental is heading towards renewable energy.
Kenyan Geothermal Gets $60 Million From African Development Bank
The African Development Bank will lend $60 million to finance a geothermal power project in Kenya.
The funds will go to state-owned Geothermal Development Co. to buy three drilling rigs, according to Gabriel Negatu, regional director at the Abidjan, Ivory Coast-based financial institution.
Kenya “has enormous potential in geothermal power capacity which it has not fully exploited,” Negatu said in an interview in Nairobi.
The country has been tapping geothermal power in the Rift Valley since the 1980s and has the potential to add another 10 gigawatts, according to Geothermal Development. It generated 43 percent of its electricity from the underground steam last year, data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows.
USTDA Supporting Akiira Geothermal Project in Kenya
During the recently held U.S.-Africa Business Forum, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency launched its largest single investment in Kenya’s power sector to date. At a ceremony witnessed by the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, the Honorable William Ruto, and Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz, USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak announced support for six projects that will identify U.S. solutions that can help increase access to affordable, reliable electricity across Kenya and help diversify the country’s energy mix.
As part of the package, USTDA and its Kenyan partners agreed to support one geothermal project in Kenya.
USTDA will partner with Akiira Geothermal Limited to assess the viability of a 70 MW geothermal power plant northwest of Nairobi. Successful implementation of the project would provide clean, base-load renewable power and support Kenya’s participation in the regional power pool. USTDA Director Zak and Mr. Paul Stroud, a Board Member of Akiira Geothermal Limited, signed the grant agreement.
It is not clear how much the grant is that Akiira Geothermal will receive from USTDA.
KenGen Wins Prestigious Engineering Awards for Geothermal Work in Kenya
At the 39th World Energy Engineering Congress, currently taking place in Washington, DC in the U.S., Kenya has won six out of seven awards in the Sub-Saharan category.
The awards are run by The Association of Energy Engineers, a global nonprofit professional association represented in 98 countries, whose objective is to promote the scientific and educational interests in the energy industry and to foster action for sustainable development.
So it is not surprising that KenGen has received awards for their geothermal activities in Kenya.
Kenya has outshone all other African countries and walked away with six awards slotted for the African category. From the over 60 regional awards presented to individuals and organizations around the world, Kenya has taken center stage once again and trounced peers and colleagues around the continent.
It is of importance note the strides that Kenya has made over the years in the energy sector that has seen the country implement very stringent energy regulations and the key role played by both the public and private sector in pursuing and implementing energy sustainability initiatives.
The individual and corporate awardees have been recognized for their dedication and performance in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industry and acknowledged for their individual and collective efforts towards transforming the energy sector.
The impressive list of awards for Sub Saharan Africa saw the following walk away feted and celebrated:.
Sub-Saharan Africa Region
Young Energy Professional of the Year – Chris Mbori
Energy Engineer of the Year – Eustace Murithi Njeru
Corporate Energy Management – Sarova Hotels Ltd
Energy Professional Development – Lawrence Muma Mang’erere
Energy Manager of the Year – Albert Mugo
Innovative Energy Project of the Year – 280 MW Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant
Energy Project of the Year – Standard Bank Global Leadership Centre.
The awards were presented to these energy leaders for outstanding performance as follows:.
Energy Engineer of the Year – Eustace Murithi Njeru – For the critical role he has played in developing the Energy Management Regulations 2012 and implementing them through the Energy Regulatory Commission. So far about 1000 facilities have conducted energy audits and started implementing energy management regulations..
Energy Professional Development – Lawrence Muma Mang’erere – For the important role played in energy training and development and for overseeing the upskilling and knowledge transfer that has seen the development of many energy engineers across East Africa over the last 10 years.
Energy Manager of the Year – Albert Mugo – As the CEO of Kengen, his leadership has seen him steer the organization to implement sustainable energy projects and to develop partnerships to further the energy agenda, with specific focus on the successes recorded in the Geothermal Power Plant projects in Olkaria.
Innovative Energy Project of the Year – 280 MW Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant – The project has been truly innovative because Kengen has managed to reduce the lead times of generation energy from geothermal using a new wellhead generation technology. It has also managed to save a lot of resources using this new technology..
Corporate Energy Management – Sarova Hotels Ltd – Sarova Hotels has distinguished itself over the years for ensuring processes, systems and policies are in place in all their facilities to ensure sustainable energy use. There has been notable continuous effort to ensure energy efficiency in all their hotels..
Energy Project of the Year – Standard Bank Global Leadership Centre – For the green energy features inbuilt into the facility including a building monitoring system, energy efficient lighting, air quality testing, and sustainable land use and ecology.
Young Energy Professional of the Year – Chris Mbori – For providing leadership in the energy sector as the CEO of Eenovators Ltd, that have conducted over 100 Energy Audits in the region, for developing an innovative energy management program – The Eagles Program and for conducting measurement and verification though IPMVP®.
Maibarara Wins 2016 Asia Geothermal Project Award
The 20-megawatt (MW) Maibarara-1 geothermal power facility (Maibarara-1) in Batangas won the Geothermal Power Project of 2016 award at the Asian Power Awards held last September 21, in Seoul, South Korea, the operator of the plant said on Monday.
The Asian Power Awards, now on its 12th year, is considered the Oscars of the power industry in Asia, recognizing ground-breaking projects and trailblazing initiatives in the power sector.
The Maibarara-1 facility in Sto. Tomas, Batangas is owned and operated by Maibarara Geothermal Inc. (MGI), a joint venture among PetroGreen Energy Corporation (PGEC) with 65 percent), Phinma Energy (with 25 percent), and PNOC-Renewables Corporation (10 percent).
PGEC is a subsidiary of publicly-listed PetroEnergy Resources Corporation.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Monday, MGI said the award acknowledges Maibarara-1’s innovative development, effective operations, and dynamism in the field of geothermal energy.
Building on its successful under-budget completion in February 2014 only 2.5 years from financial close, MGI has sustained two years of profitable commercial operations.
“This award shows that Filipino expertise and ingenuity in geothermal energy operations are second to none.
Such international recognition of MGI’s facility in just two years of commercial operations owes to the vision and wisdom of our Board, the dedication and professionalism of our team, and the engagement and cooperation of our stakeholders in regulatory agencies, private industry, and host communities,” MGI president F.G. Delfin Jr. said in a statement.
In 2015, MGI was able to minimize unscheduled shutdowns and to increase load nomination and net generation from the lender-committed 18.5 MWe to 18.8 MWe. This led to increases in availability factor from 95.7 to 98.2 percent, net capacity factor from 89.5 to 91.8 percent, and net income by 28 percent compared to 2014.
In addition, MGI also confirmed a larger geothermal reservoir in Maibarara with the successful step-out drilling and completion of well MB-15D, which has at least ~6 MWe output.
MGI is currently constructing the steamfield and power plant components of Maibarara-2, a 12 MWe expansion within the existing developed site aimed for commercial operations by late 2017.
This additional investment comes after MGI secured a P1.4 billion loan with Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation and signed a long-term energy sales contract with Phinma Energy in January 2016.
MGI has contracted Fuji Corporation of Japan to build and supply the turbine/generator for Maibarara-2, currently the only active construction of a new geothermal power plant in the country.
Indonesia to Auction 20 MW Gunung Hamiding Geothermal Project
The Director General for New, Renewable and Energy Conservation at the Ministry for Energy and Mineral Resources in Indonesia has launched a pre-qualification for the Gunung Hamiding geothermal working area.
The project is located in the North Halmahera Regency in the North Maluku province.
Participants are to have experience in geothermal, upstream oil and gas, mining and minerals or power plant development.
Companies interested in qualification for the auction have time to register throughout September 27 to October 20, 2016. Details can be found on the EBTK website.
The actual announcement and details about the working area can be found in this pdf.
Estimated reserves of the geothermal working area of Gunung Hamiding are 265 MW at an estimated reservoir temperature of 250-300 centigrades.
The working area has a size of 42,100 hectares with a planned plant capacity of 20 MW. The highest reference price is 22.6 cent US$/kWh), Energy Ministry ministerial decree no. 17, 2014, and the expected commercial operation date (COD) target : 2024.
California Wildfire Forces Evacuation of 300 Homes
A fast-moving wildfire prompted the evacuations of 300 homes in the Santa Cruz Mountains, while fire crews continued to battle a blaze burning close to a massive geothermal power producing facility in Sonoma County, officials said Monday.
The blaze that started Monday on the southern edge of Santa Clara County quickly spread to 500 acres, threatening radio and television antennas, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Stephanie Stuehler.
A blaze that erupted amid hot, dry conditions and gusty winds in Sonoma County north of San Francisco forced the temporary evacuation of one of its 14 geothermal plants.
Brett Kerr, a spokesman for Calpine, which operates The Geysers geothermal complex, said evacuated employees were allowed to return to the plant, which started operating later Monday.
All employees were safe and accounted for and the flow of electricity from the facility was not disrupted, he said.
“Our remaining plants at the Geysers continue to operate normally and our team is constantly assessing the situation and will take all steps necessary to ensure the safety of employees and the preservation of our facilities,” Kerr said in an email.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the blaze near the small city Cloverdale has charred about 1,500 acres, or more than 2 square miles of timber and dry brush.
Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said Monday that the fire also burned on plant property, but he did not know how close to the infrastructure.
The Geysers are located in the Mayacamas Mountains and are naturally occurring steam field reservoirs below the earth’s surface. They are harnessed by Calpine to make renewable energy for homes and businesses across Northern California, according to the company web site.
The site says The Geysers, spreading 45 square miles along the Sonoma and Lake County border, is the largest complex of geothermal power plants in the world. Calpine owns and operates the 14 power plants at The Geysers, providing power for the equivalent of 725,000 homes, according to the site.
The Geysers supplies electricity to California’s Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties, plus a portion of the power needs for Marin and Napa counties.
About 90 residents from 36 homes near the fire were under evacuation orders or advisories Monday.
The cause of the fire was under investigation as firefighters battling the blaze Monday in steep terrain braced for another day of temperatures in the high 90s and strong winds. Authorities said the fire was 20 percent contained.