Geothermal Power Markets Showing Strong Growth, International News

In this post:
*Geothermal Power Market Showing Strong Growth, New Report Finds
*Obama Readies Clean Energy ‘End-Game’
*Kuwait, Saudi Investors Evince Interest in Geothermal Projects in Gorontalo
*Kenya: Thermal Energy Production Drops
*New Japanese Geothermal Power Generator Set for Trial Run
*KenGen Starts Geothermal Study to Produce More Untapped Power
*Leaders Urge Cuomo to Support Geothermal Energy
*Alberta Looks at Converting Disused Oil Wells for Geothermal Energy Production
*Researchers Starting Trials on Geothermal Pilot Project in Oita Prefecture, Japan
*Stoke-on-Trent Hires Swedish Experts for Planned Geothermal District Heating Scheme
*Indonesian Government to Develop Geothermal Energy in Flores Island
*Kenya Seeking Further Investment for Geothermal Energy Sector
*Industry Asking for Emerging Geothermal Technologies FIT in Philippines


Satellite map reveals international geothermal potential.  Areas in purple are where geothermalpotential is hottest – places to focus international and national geothermal development efforts on.
Image Credit: ESA/IRENA

Geothermal Power Market Showing Strong Growth, New Report Finds
Geothermal power showing sustained strong growth through 2016 according to a new report by the US Geothermal Energy Association (GEA).  Projects now under development when completed would increase international capacity outside the U.S. by 25% according to GEA.
This report, 2016 International Market Update, builds upon the information released in March by GEA in its US and Global Annual Power Production Report.  The new report finds “Between March and September 2016, a total of 44 new geothermal power projects began development throughout 23 countries, adding 1,562.5 MW of developing capacity.”  This brings the international total of new geothermal power now actively under development to 2,277.5 MW in 23 countries from 72 new projects.
“Developing nations in Central America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific are accelerating their geothermal development through more attractive fiscal incentives andgeothermal-specific legislation,” according to the GEA report.  “The combination of international financial institutions supporting risk-reduction efforts and national policies designed to encouragegeothermal development and recognize its value, like  geothermal feed-in tariffs, appear to be working to spur geothermal growth,” according to Karl Gawell, GEA’s Executive Director.
“Several new countries like Croatia, Iran, and Malaysia are penetrating into the geothermal market with pilot projects in the works over the next five years.  These countries understand that addinggeothermal power to their grid can reduce their dependence on finite energy resources, reduce future economic and geopolitical uncertainty, and benefit the overall health of their environment and the people who inhabit it,” noted Anthony Rocco author of the GEA Update.
According to GEA the projects under development represent an investment of roughly $9 billion in new geothermal power.  The report includes in its estimate only projects outside the U.S. where a private company, government agency, or contractors associated with the site have announced a power capacity figure.  As such, it presents a conservative estimate.  Notably, 70 countries have identified geothermal power potential with 26 countries producing power from their geothermalresources now that would increase to 30 when the projects identified come on-line.
Copies of the GEA International Market Update are available at:
October 23-25 GEA, together with the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) will be hosting the largest annual gathering of geothermal companies and experts in Sacramento, CA.  GEA’s Trade Show Hall will feature roughly 100 diverse exhibitors spanning the range of geothermal interests – from developers and drillers to environmental services firms and government agencies.   New technologies and emerging opportunities in the industry will be on display.
A new exciting feature of the GEA GEOEXPO+ is the industry-tailored Marketing Forum and the organized by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA).  Sessions, led by key players like the IADB,KfW Development Bank and  Global Geothermal Alliance, cover everything from development operations in nations with high geothermal potential to Agency Briefing Sessions with the US DOE GTO, USAID, IADB, USTDA, Ex-Im Bank, World Bank-ESMAP, and OPIC.  Mark your calendars for theExhibitors Leading Innovation Session and the topical USEA-East Africa Geothermal Partnership Event.
Included in your GEA GEOEXPO+ pass this year is the first ever Geothermal Agency Match Making Event coordinated by the GEA. In this unique opportunity, company representatives meet one-on-one with representatives from IADB, USTDA, OPIC, Ex-Im Bank and ITA. Meetings will be arranged prior to the event. RSVP to by Wednesday, October 19th.
Online registration ends Sunday, October 22nd. After this time, only on-site registration will take place. Register today at For more information including questions about registration, the GEA’s Marketing Forum, or the Agency Match Making Event, please contact Rani Chatrath at  To request press credentials, please contact Allie Nelson

Obama Readies Clean Energy ‘End-Game’

The White House is devising an “end-game” strategy to pass a suite of clean energy tax subsidies that were swept to the wayside in last December’s omnibus spending bill deal, said a top White House official.
Brian Deese, one of President Obama’s top advisers, told an energy conference Tuesdaythat the White House is working on a clean energy “end-game” with its allies in Congress to see tax credits for a variety of alternative energy resources passed after the November elections in the lame-duck session of Congress.
“We are quite aware of the incremental extensions that weren’t included last time,” Deese said on a panel during the Tuesday event held by Columbia University. “We have been working closely with our congressional allies and we want to see those get done.”
The tax credits were not attached to last year’s spending bill, although the measure did include a landmark deal extending wind and solar subsidies for five years with an incremental phase out. The orphaned clean energy subsidies that were left out of the deal are for things like hydrogen fuel cells, renewable fuel infrastructure, geothermal and other alternative energy resources.

Kuwait, Saudi Investors Evince Interest in Geothermal Projects in Gorontalo

Kuwaiti investor Rajan Ethirajan of the Al Subol General Trading, along with Arab investor Jiju Thundiyil John, have expressed an interest to invest in the geothermal power plants in Gorontalo.
The head of Gorontalo Regional Development Board (Bappeda), Budianto Sidiki, said onWednesday that they expressed an interest soon after Gorontalos Governor Rusli Habibie detailed the regions potential at the opening of an event titled, Indonesia Middle East Update 2016.
Data with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources shows a significant geothermalpotential in the Bone Bolango sub-district, Gorontalo. It can produce up to 110 megawatt of electricity supply in Gorontalo and 20 megawatt in the Gorontalo sub-district.
“However, the auction process may throw up a little challenge when it comes to administering the potential,” he cautioned.
Much of the hurdle has to do with the central governments regulations, he averred.
He assured that his office will make the best effort to safeguard the interests of these potential investors in Gorontalo.
In terms of regulations and clearance process, he continued, the Governor has guaranteed, through his policies, to make the mechanism easier and investment requirements more concise.
“Although Gorontalo has a surplus availability of power, we would still need the additional supply in the next two to three years,” he stated.

Kenya: Thermal Energy Production Drops

In East Africa, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics’ (KNBS) latest data reporting the decline in electricity generated from thermal energy resources has been welcomed as good news.
According to the Standard Media, the generation capacity has dropped by 10% to 855.5 million kWh by August this year compared to a similar period last year, whereby thermal sources generated 951.9 million kWh.
It is said that the fall has seen the share of thermal sources in the overall energygeneration basket dive from 16% to 13%.
However, this development has been received as good news as thermal energy is the most expensive source of energy, as it is generated through diesel-powered generators.
Diesel-fired electricity is reported to be three times more expensive than geothermalcosting Sh7 per unit ($0.069) and seven times higher than hydropower at Sh3 ($0.029).
Moving away from thermal energy generation
Media further reported that this dip in thermal power generation is a boost to the government, which has been actively advocating for the country to move away from expensive energy to cleaner and cheaper sources.
According to the Standard Media, President Uhuru Kenyatta had recently directed theenergy ministry to review and terminate government contracts with independent power producers that are not cost-effective to Kenyans.
Cheaper energy translates into lower costs of living, helping bring down the inflation rate.

Additional power resources

The KNBS data stated that geothermal remained the top source of energy, accounting for 47% of total production in the period under review.
In addition to the good news from the data was the revelation that indicated hydropower coming in second with a 40% increase. Total power production between January and August grew 6%, from 6,141 kWh in 2015 to 6,540 kWh.
The increase is reported to have been contributed largely by hydro and geothermalsources. Total electricity generation expanded to 853.55 million kWh in August this year from 846.90 million kWh in July.

New Japanese Geothermal Power Generator Set for Trial Run

A Japanese venture firm and researchers at a university in Japan say they have developed a new system that harnesses geothermal power. They say a trial run of the system will start later this week.
Tokyo-based Japan New Energy and Kyoto University jointly created the technology.
Members of the project team say it does not require the usual process of pumping up hot springs or underground steam. The new generator uses river water that’s sent into pipes deep underground where it‘s heated, then brought back up to the surface to generate electricity.
The venture firm says the eco-friendly method will not be subject to legal restrictions imposed on drilling work to pump up hot springs.
The officials say the trial run will start in Oita prefecture, in southwestern Japan. They aim to put it into commercial use in 2 years‘ time.
The president of the venture firm says they want to make use of abundant reserves ofgeothermal energy in the volcanic country to contribute to Japan’s energy sector. He says they also hope to establish the technology internationally.

KenGen Starts Geothermal Study to Produce More Untapped Power

KenGen has begun a geothermal development study with a view to producing more power. MD Albert Mugo said Kenya has the potential to produce 10000MW geothermal energy in 23 sites.
“So far we have only tapped 650MW of geothermal energy and we are working with other partners so we can increase geothermal power,” he said.
Mugo said the cost of geothermal exploration had for years remained the biggest impediment.
“Despite the challenge, we have seen the number of geothermal wells rise from two in the 1970s to 218 currently,” he said.
Mugo defended KenGen operations in Hell’s Gate National Park in Naivasha and said the firm is working with the Kenya Wildlife Service to conserve and protect the ecosystem.
A few months ago, environmentalists said birds in the park were declining at an alarming rate due to the ongoing works. They said the park is supposed to protect the dwindling numbers of wildlife.

Leaders Urge Cuomo to Support Geothermal Energy

It might sound like a complicated, new technology, but Geothermal Energy has been a reliable renewable energy resource for decades.
It‘s been happening for 50 years, the technology keeps getting better, it‘s excellent at this point, but it‘s really well-established,”  NY-GEO executive director Bill Nowak said.
And in fact, the technology itself is pretty simple.
“If one hand is warm and one hand is cold, the heat from the warm hand is going to go toward the cold, and that’s what we do,” said Nowak.
It‘s a renewable energy alternative to using fossil fuels to heat and cool buildings. Which is why on Tuesday, local and state officials called on Gov. Cuomo to pass the GeothermalTax Credit Bill.
“All the focus has been on electricity generation and solar and wind and that’s important, but that’s only 20 percent of the greenhouse gases in the state,” said Nowak. “A third of the greenhouses gases, more like 35 percent, is from heating buildings.”
The emphasis was certainly on the benefits of geothermal energy as it relates to the environment, but some homeowners say those benefits are just the start of it.
It makes sense dollars and cents wise,” said Dan Clausen, a Preble resident who retrofitted his home with geothermal technology. “Even if you don’t care about the environment and you just care about your pocketbook, you’re going to save money over the long term by putting it in.”
The bill would provide tax incentives of 25 percent up to $5,000 for homeowners installing the technology. Geothermal leaders say seeing Cuomo’s recent support of the nuclearenergy industry gives them hope.
“New York State really has its head screwed on straight relative to clean energy,” said Nowak. “It‘s just a question of moving forward inch by inch and convincing them to move in our direction.”
The geothermal industry currently employs more than one thousand people in New York State and without the bill, leaders say those companies may have to downsize.
Cuomo has until the end of the year to sign the bill.

Alberta Looks at Converting Disused Oil Wells for Geothermal Energy Production

The Energy Ministry of the province of Alberta in Canada is looking at ways to rejuvenate its oil and gas business … and it does so by considering geothermal energy as an option, so a recent article on oil publication, Alberta Oil Magazine.
The currently low oil prices have hit Canada’s oil sector very hard, particularly in Alberta where oil is derived from oil sands at a high cost.
Now the province’s energy Minister has tasked his staff to consider options to move forward on climate plans. Converting disused well to be usable for utilising geothermalenergy is a real option. There are though challenges, as simple as regulation. Converting a well used previously for extracting hydrocarbon is currently not as easy, as geothermal as a resource is currently not regulated under legislation in the province.
In the past, big oil firms were able to sell lower-then-expected producing wells to smaller firms, but with current cost structures there simply is no buyer. So the big oil firms see the conversion of oil wells to geothermal systems as a solution.
The company Sundial Energy is- so Alberta Oil – central to a feasibility study into developing Canada’s first geothermal heating project from a producing oil well. Value could be added to an abandoned well, by utilising heat for e.g. a greenhouse. The company has worked on a feasibility study, that indicates that geothermal could generate up to $1 million in annual revenue from heating facilities for year-round tomato production. One Calgary-based oil firm is spearheading efforts to prove the concept on a well in Saskatchewan but does not want to be named.
Alberta has around 78,000 suspended wells and only considering 10% of those wells being used, could still present a real economic option and jobs for an oil sector that is struggling.

Researchers Starting Trials on Geothermal Pilot Project in Oita Prefecture, Japan

A new geothermal pilot plant project in Japan is looking at utilising geothermal energywithout tapping underground reserves. One of the key hurdles for geothermal development in Japan is the fact that local communities and hot spring operators are afraid of development tapping the same resource and effecting their livelihood.
A team of research from company Japan New Energy and Kyoto University are now reporting that they will start a trial run of a system they developed later this week.
The project team has developed an approach that does not require tapping existing underground reservoirs by utilising river water pumped underground to be retrieved later to generate electricity. Essentially this sounds like an EGS project that utilises hot temperatures beneath the surface.
With this approach, the team says it won’t be limited by legal restrictions on utilising water resources that fuel hot springs in the country. The project is located in Oita Prefecture in the Southwest of Japan.
With the pilot project, the team hopes to prove the concept and put it into commercial operation within the next 2 years.
“The president of the venture firm says they want to make use of abundant reserves ofgeothermal energy in the volcanic country to contribute to Japan’s energy sector. He says they also hope to establish the technology internationally.”

Stoke-on-Trent Hires Swedish Experts for Planned Geothermal District Heating Scheme

The city of Stoke-on-Trent in the UK has been working on plans for a geothermal district heating system for quite some time, as we reported before.
With a cost of approximately GBP 52 million (ca. $65 million), the project is pricey. In a move to help cut costs on the project, the city has hired experts from Sweden to help onthe project.
The idea of the project is to derive hot water from a geothermal well with a depth of 4,000 meters (2.5 miles), that is then transferred to a “closed loop of water pipes to provide families with cheap heating.”
The authorities working on the project have now formed a partnership with Oresundskraft, a municipality-owned heating company from Helsingborg, Sweden that has a similar scheme in place.  Under current plans, UK-based GT Energy wants to drill the GBP 18 million ($22 million) well on a site in the city.
With the help of the group from Sweden, the project is hoped to become bigger and more cost effective.

Indonesian Government to Develop Geothermal Energy in Flores Island

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry will develop geothermal energy in Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara.
The ministry’s geothermal director Yunus Saefulhak said Indonesia will cooperate with the the United Kingdom (UK) and the World Bank.
“We will make the road map with the UK,” he told in Jakarta on Tuesday(10/11).
He explained Flores island has many potential geothermal hot spots. The island has at least 1,900 MW of geothermal energy potential.
However, the island only has two geothermal power plants. A 10 MW power plant in Ulumbu, Manggarai and a 2.5 MW power plant in Malaloko, Ende.
“We will cooperate with the World Bank to build a 50 MW power plant in Waisano,” he stated.

Kenya Seeking Further Investment for Geothermal Energy Sector

Kenya is seeking to promote private investment into the geothermal energy sector through review of policies, an official said Thursday.
Principal Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, Joseph Njoroge, told journalists that under the new regulations, private sector will be given land concessions to explore forgeothermal steam.
“The aim is to enable private sector to complement government exploration efforts so as increase amount of geothermal electricity production in the country,” Njoroge said during the Kenya Renewable Energy Conference.
The conference brought together 100 representatives from local and foreign energy firms to discuss investment opportunities in Kenya’s renewable energy sector.
According to the Ministry of Energy, over 90 percent of Kenya’s electricity production comes from renewable sources.
Geothermal (energy) is now a significant source of energy as approximately 50 percent of all electricity produced from renewable energy comes from geothermal sources,” Njoroge said.
He said Kenya had only exploited less than five percent of its geothermal resources partly due to “a deficit in financing of geothermal projects.”
The government plans to cooperate with the private sector to ensure more electricity generation from geothermal energy, the official said.

Industry Asking for Emerging Geothermal Technologies FIT in Philippines

We have reported about the Philippines geothermal energy industry asking for a special feed-in-tariff for emerging geothermal technologies. At the Annual General Meeting of the National Geothermal Association of the Philippines, my fellow IGA Board colleague Fernando S. Penarroyo gave a presentation that he now shared via LinkedIn/ Slideshare.
The Philippine geothermal industry is described as a mature sector operating in a developed private investment market. Geothermal investments in the country will be driven by the combination of a strong clean energy supply imperative, increasingly liberalizedenergy sector, achievable capacity targets and a relatively stable regulatory framework with appropriate pricing or fiscal incentives, and off-take mechanism.
Some of the remaining undeveloped geothermal resources pose special technical challenges, requiring development or adaptation of “emerging technologies” such as binary-cycle generation, ground source heat pumps, and corrosion-resistant alloys.
With an appropriately structured feed-in tariff rate that will provide guaranteed payment to investors through a universal charge, these acidic and lower enthalpy resources can be developed to generate electricity. In order to address the barriers related to costs and resource exploration risks faced by geothermal energy developers, the NationalGeothermal Association of the Philippines calls for the coverage under the FIT program ofgeothermal emerging technologies currently not commercially viable under existing market and pricing structures.

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