Leading Stories, Releases, Solicitations
- Berkeley Lab to Lead Multimillion-Dollar Geothermal Energy Project
- Gosar Public Lands Renewable Energy Bill Passes the House Committee on Natural Resources by a Bipartisan Unanimous Consent
- Senate Committee Votes to Support DOE Geothermal Funding
- California SB 100 Continues Progress
- Bipartisan Support Extends California’s Cap-and-Trade Program
- Lawrence Berkeley Lab Issues State RPS Report — 50% increase in US Renewable Generation by 2030
- Ormat Technologies, Inc. Implements Corporate Governance Changes in Connection With Closing of ORIX Transaction
- TNG completes their 400th GWERT Job
- Tanzania wins US$21.7 million from Climate Investment Funds to advance geothermal exploration and transform its energy sector
GEA has been working on expanding the program for the GEA Geothermal EXPO+ in Salt Lake City by adding a series of panels covering key technology, policy, regulatory and market issues. The panels build upon GEA’s popular National Geothermal Summit Programs held past years. We hope to be able to announce the panels soon. These program sessions will be open to registered attendees of the GRC Annual Meeting or the GEA Geothermal EXPO+. One more reason to plan on participating. For more information go to: http://geothermalexpo.org/ or email Kathy@geo-energy.org.
DON’T FORGET to support the geothermal industry with your GEA Membership! GEA Annual Members Meeting and Board Elections are coming up in Salt Lake City. Renew or Join GEA today, please email Kathy@geo-energy.org.
Leading Stories, Releases, Solicitations
Berkeley Lab to Lead Multimillion-Dollar Geothermal Energy Project
New effort aims to accelerate commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems
Berkeley Lab scientist Tim Kneafsey demonstrates how he places rock samples, from the Brady Geothermal Field in Nevada, into a stress permeability apparatus, which tests how long a fracture can remain open. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)
The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will lead a new $9 million project aimed at removing technical barriers to commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), a clean energy technology with the potential to power 100 million American homes.
Berkeley Lab will partner with seven other DOE national labs and six universities to develop field experiments focused on understanding and modeling rock fractures, an essential element of geothermal systems. Scientists will use the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota to create small-scale fracture networks in crystalline rock 1,500 meters below ground.
“We will be putting instrumentation within tens of meters of the fractures and will be able to detect fracturing at a higher resolution than what has ever been done before,” said Berkeley Lab’s Tim Kneafsey, who leads the project. “The goal is to work towards increasing our understanding of fracturing and fluid flow in EGS, which could provide a significant amount of electricity as a large quantity of accessible hot rock lies untapped across the U.S.”
“Although geothermal energy production is already used effectively, there is a lot we need to learn about how to create and develop an EGS reservoir,” Kneafsey said.
In geothermal systems, heat acquired from water circulating in rock fractures deep in the Earth’s crust is extracted for conversion to electricity. Conventional geothermal technology is possible only in locations with particular geological characteristics, either near active volcanic centers or in places with a very high temperature gradient, such as much of Nevada and parts of the western United States. These locations have the three components essential to extracting geothermal energy—heat, fluid, and permeability, a measure of how easily fluid can circulate through the rock’s fractures, picking up heat as it moves.
With EGS, a fracture network can be enhanced or engineered, thus bypassing the geographic limitations of conventional geothermal energy. EGS could eventually provide more than 100 gigawatts (GW) of economically viable electric generating capacity in the continental United States, a huge increase over the current geothermal capacity of 3.5 GW.
“Although geothermal energy production is already used effectively, there is a lot we need to learn about how to create and develop an EGS reservoir,” Kneafsey said. “This project will seek to understand the relationship between permeability creation and heat extraction in crystalline rocks under certain stress and temperature conditions.”
Dubbed EGS Collab, the project has been awarded $9 million for the first year by DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office. Other national labs partnering in the project include Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, Idaho, Los Alamos, Pacific Northwest, Oak Ridge, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Douglas Blankenship, manager of geothermal research at Sandia National Laboratories, is the co-lead with Kneafsey. Additionally, professors from Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, the Colorado School of Mines, Penn State University, and the University of Oklahoma will also contribute.
Rep. Gosar Public Lands Renewable Energy Bill Passes the House Committee on Natural Resources by a Bipartisan Unanimous Consent
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, released the following statement after two of his energy bills, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act (H.R. 825) and the Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act (H.R.2371), passed the House Committee on Natural Resources by a bipartisan vote of unanimous consent.
“I am an ardent supporter of a true all-of-the-above energy policy. The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act (PLREDA) underscores my commitment to making this a reality. My bill is a bipartisan reform that promotes the smart development of renewable energy by eliminating unnecessary red tape to create a streamlined process that will, in turn, drive investment toward high quality renewable resources,” stated Chairman Paul Gosar. “The revenue sharing mechanism in this bill will help local governments deliver critical services on important projects such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement.”
“The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act offers an innovative approach to advance renewable development while supporting fish and wildlife conservation on our vital public lands, said Steve Moyer, VP of Government Affairs for Trout Unlimited. “It creates a win-win scenario in which states and counties, American energy consumers, and the public lands, all benefit. We thank Representative Gosar for his steadfast leadership on the bill, and we applaud the strong bipartisan list of cosponsors for the bill,” said Moyer.
A Committee staff memo on H.R. 825 explained its approach to streamlined permitting. It said:
H.R. 825 Expedites the Permitting Process and Ensures a Fair Return to States
“The purposes of H.R. 825 are two-fold: first, to provide certainty to the right-of-way process currently faced by renewable developers on federal land; and second, to establish a fair revenue structure that benefits the states and counties affected by renewable development.
“H.R. 825 achieves certainty for developers by limiting the environmental review required by NEPA through the use of programmatic environmental impact statements (PEIS), which exist for each type of renewable generation. This bill would require the Department of the Interior to review and modify each PEIS, and grant interested developers the ability to rely on the respective PEIS. As such, developers would not need to initiate environmental review for projects that would be covered by such PEIS.
“H.R. 825 also imposes a new revenue structure to ensure a fair return to the States and counties affected by renewable energy development. Bonus bids, rentals, fees, or other payments returned to the treasury under a right-of-way, permit or lease will be disbursed in the following manner: 25% to the affected state, 25% to the affected counties, 25% to the treasury, and 25% to a new Fund – the “Renewable Energy Resource Conservation Fund”, which the bill establishes to mitigate the impacts of renewable development.”
From: Majority Committee Staff Analysis, July 24, 2017
In addition to GEA, endorsements of H.R. 825 include: Western Governors’ Association, National Association of Counties, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, American Sportfishing Association, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Dallas Safari Club, Mule Deer Foundation, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Trout Unlimited and countless other organizations.
Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced S.282 as a Senate companion to this legation.
Senate Committee Votes to Support DOE Geothermal Funding
The full Senate Appropriations Committee voted to report its FY2018 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which includes funding for the DOE Geothermal research efforts and it gave geothermal a big boost. Unlike the House, which cut geothermal substantially, the Committee bill funds geothermal at a level of $67.5 million. The Committee Report directing DOE use of these funds says:
The Committee recommends $67,500,000 for Geothermal Technologies. Within available funds, $43,000,000 shall be for Enhanced Geothermal Systems, $14,000,000 shall be for Hydrothermal, $8,000,000 for Low-Temperature and Coproduced Resources, and $2,500,000 for Systems Analysis.
To facilitate necessary technology development and expand understanding of subsurface dynamics, the Committee recommends $30,000,000 for the continuation of activities of the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy [FORGE], with activities to include ongoing novel subsurface characterization, fullscale well drilling, and technology research and development to accelerate the commercial pathway to large-scale enhanced geothermal systems power generation.
The Committee recognizes that enhanced geothermal systems are versatile, inherently modular, and scalable from residential utilization to district heating opportunities and large power parks that can provide base-load capacity. The Committee encourages the Department to support enhanced geothermal system applications for industrial and residential uses.
The Committee directs the Department to continue its efforts to identify prospective geothermal resources in areas with no obvious surface expressions.”
In their press release about the bill, Committee Democrats said: “The bill provides $1.937 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, $153 million below fiscal year 2017 and $1.3 billion more than the President’s request. The bill prioritizes funding for advancing technology development for water and geothermal power generation; for increasing the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes and residential and commercial buildings; and for providing funds to lower the energy bills of low-income Americans.”
California SB 100 Continues Progress
SB 100, which would accelerate California’s 50% renewable portfolio standard by four years, from December 30, 2030 to December 31, 2026, add a 60% target by December 31, 2030 and set an aspirational goal of a 100% renewable portfolio standard by December 31, 2045, moved forward after hearings July 12 and 13. The bill was amended to remove language that appeared to erect a barrier to out-of-state renewable energy, which GEA and others opposed.
The CA Legislature is not on summer break and will return August 21. When they return, legislators will have four weeks to complete their work on this and other measures before adjourning at midnight on September 15, 2017.
Bipartisan Support Extends California’s Cap-and-Trade Program
On July 17, California’s landmark cap-and-trade program was extended to 2030 thanks to bipartisan support from lawmakers and a “broad consensus” in the state toward addressing climate change. The five-year-old initiative, in which companies are offered economic incentives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, was backed by both environmental advocacy organizations and business groups. Despite concerns from conservatives about higher gas taxes and activists who felt the regulations did not go far enough, the bill was passed with the supermajority Governor Jerry Brown (D) had desired to protect the program from legal challenges. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said the bill shows “free market policies to clean up our environment” can co-exist alongside the “fight for a booming economy.” Although many national Republicans opposed the program, Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes remarked, “California Republicans are different than national Republicans. Many of us believe that climate change is real, and that it’s a responsibility we have to work to address it.”
Lawrence Berkeley Lab Issues State RPS Report — 50% increase in US Renewable Generation by 2030
Berkeley Lab’s annual status report on U.S. renewables portfolio standards (RPS) provides an overview of key trends associated with U.S. state RPS policies. The report, published in slide-deck form, describes recent legislative revisions, key policy design features, compliance with interim targets, past and projected impacts on renewables development, and compliance costs.
The 2017 edition of the report presents historical data through year-end 2016 and projections through 2030. Key trends from this edition of the report include the following:
- Evolution of state RPS programs: Significant RPS-related policy revisions since the start of 2016 include increased RPS targets in DC, MD, MI, NY, RI, and OR; requirements for new wind and solar projects and other major reforms to the RPS procurement process in IL; and a new offshore wind carve-out and solar procurement program in MA.
- Historical impacts on renewables development: Roughly half of all growth in U.S. renewable electricity (RE) generation and capacity since 2000 is associated with state RPS requirements. Nationally, the role of RPS policies has diminished over time, representing 44% of all U.S. RE capacity additions in 2016. However, within particular regions, RPS policies continue to play a central role in supporting RE growth, constituting 70-90% of 2016 RE capacity additions in the West, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast.
- Future RPS demand and incremental needs: Meeting RPS demand growth will require roughly a 50% increase in U.S. RE generation by 2030, equating to 55 GW of new RE capacity. To meet future RPS demand, total U.S. RE generation will need to reach 13% of electricity sales by 2030 (compared to 10% today), though other drivers will also continue to influence RE growth.
- RPS target achievement to-date: States have generally met their interim RPS targets in recent years, with only a few exceptions reflecting unique state-specific policy designs.
- REC pricing trends: Prices for renewable energy certificates (RECs) used to meet general RPS obligations fell in most markets in 2016, as surplus RPS supplies emerged in many regions. Price trends for solar RECs were more varied, with a particularly pronounced drop in MD.
- RPS compliance costs and cost caps: RPS compliance costs totaled $3.0 billion in 2015 (the most-recent year for which relatively complete data are available), which equates to 1.6% of average retail electricity bills in RPS states. Though total U.S. RPS compliance costs rose from 2014, future cost growth in most RPS states will be capped by cost containment mechanisms.
Ormat Technologies, Inc. Implements Corporate Governance Changes in Connection With Closing of ORIX Transaction
Reno, Nevada, July 26, 2017 — Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) announced today that, in connection with the closing of the previously reported acquisition by ORIX Corporation of an approximately 22.1% ownership stake in Ormat from certain selling shareholders, Ormat has implemented certain corporate governance changes in accordance with the terms of the Governance Agreement entered into by Ormat and ORIX in connection with such acquisition by ORIX. Ormat also announced that the previously reported Commercial Cooperation Agreement entered into by Ormat and ORIX is now effective.
Pursuant to the Governance Agreement and Ormat’s Fourth Amended and Restated By-Laws, the number of directors serving on Ormat’s Board of Directors was increased from eight directors to nine directors. Acting upon the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the Board of Directors, the Board of Directors appointed Mr. Byron Wong as a director to fill the newly created directorship on the Board of Directors resulting from the increase in the size of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has determined that Mr. Wong is independent in accordance with the New York Stock Exchange listing standards and the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ormat also announced today that each of Mr. Robert E. Joyal and Mr. Ami Boehm have resigned as directors of Ormat, and Mr. Gillon Beck has resigned as a director of Ormat and from his position as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Joyal and Mr. Boehm have served as directors on Ormat’s Board of Directors since May 2012, and Mr. Beck has served as a director on Ormat’s Board of Directors since May 2012 and as the Chairman of Ormat’s Board of Directors from May 2012 to June 2014, and again since November 2015.
“We would like to thank Gillon Beck for his leadership over the past five years. Gillon has had a significant role in establishing a strong and cohesive Board that oversaw the company’s efforts to enhance efficiencies as part of its long-term growth strategy. We would also like to thank Ami Boehm and Robert E. Joyal for their dedication and significant contributions during their tenure as Directors on the Board.” said Isaac Angel, Ormat’s CEO.
Acting upon the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the Board of Directors, the Board of Directors appointed Mr. Yuichi Nishigori, Mr. Stan Koyanagi and Mr. Todd Freeland to the Board of Directors to fill the vacancies on the Board of Directors resulting from the resignation of Mr. Joyal, Mr. Boehm and Mr. Beck, respectively. Mr. Freeland has also been appointed as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors. The director resignations and appointments occurred pursuant to the Governance Agreement and Ormat’s Fourth Amended and Restated By-Laws in connection with, and subject to, the closing of the acquisition by ORIX of its ownership stake in Ormat and the transactions contemplated by the related agreements entered into by Ormat and ORIX, including the Governance Agreement.
Mr. Byron Wong has been involved as a private energy consultant following his retirement from Chevron Corporation at the end of 2012 after more than 31 years with Chevron, its affiliates and predecessor companies. While at Chevron, Mr. Wong was Senior Vice President – Commercial Development (Asia) for Chevron Global Power Company, managing a team of professionals in identifying and developing opportunities for independent power projects to monetize Chevron’s gas in-region, and also participating as a member of a decision review board for overseeing Chevron’s geothermal development opportunities in Indonesia and the Philippines. Mr. Wong also sat on the board of three joint venture companies in Singapore, Thailand and South Korea. Prior to the merger with Chevron, Mr. Wong established and staffed the initial Asian office location for Texaco Power and Gasification in Singapore in 1999. Before moving to Singapore, Mr. Wong was based in London with Texaco Europe, first as the Director of New Business Development (Downstream) for Central/Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union, with primary responsibility for developing Texaco’s downstream entry into this region; then second, as Vice President of Upstream Corporate Development for Europe, Eurasia, Middle East and North Africa, focusing on opportunities for upstream oil and gas mergers, divestments and acquisitions. Mr. Wong received his MBA in Finance from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1977, and his BA in Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1974.
Mr. Yuichi Nishigori has a wealth of experience and advanced knowledge relating to diversified business activities through his business execution experience in the field of project development and investment. He currently serves as Head of Energy and Eco Services Business Headquarters of ORIX Corporation and has been appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of ORIX since 2015. In addition, he also serves on the board of directors of Ubiteq, Inc. (traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange) and other non-public companies in multiple countries. Prior to joining ORIX in 2003, Mr. Nishigori began his investment and finance career at The Industrial Bank of Japan, Limited (presently Mizuho Bank) in 1980 and engaged in structured finance and various other corporate finance business in Asia and the U.S. Mr. Nishigori has a Bachelor’s Degree of Law from University of Tokyo (1980) and a Master’s Degree of Law from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley (1983).
Mr. Stan H. Koyanagi has represented public and private companies as a California-licensed lawyer for over 30 years, advising on corporate transactional, regulatory, compliance and governance matters. He started his legal career in private practice in 1985 and became a partner at the international law firm of Graham & James LLP (now Squire Patton Boggs LLP) in 1993 before serving in senior legal positions at ORIX USA Corporation, the US holding company of ORIX Corporation, and KB HOME, an NYSE-listed homebuilder. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of ORIX Corporation and promoted to the position of Corporate Senior Vice President and Global General Counsel of ORIX Corporation in June 2017. Mr. Koyanagi received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern California in 1982 and a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford University in 1985.
Mr. Todd C. Freeland has over 30 years of experience leading a diverse range of businesses and investments in over 50 countries across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, in industries that include energy, infrastructure, financial services, communications, media, and technology. He currently serves as Co-Head of Energy and Eco Services Business Headquarters at ORIX Corporation, where he is helping to lead the firm’s global expansion into sectors including renewable energy, resource and waste management, and other energy supply, conservation and storage activities. Prior to joining ORIX, Mr. Freeland served as the Director General of Private Sector Operations at the Asian Development Bank, where he was responsible for leading ADB’s banking and investment activities throughout Asia, deploying over $2 billion of capital annually in companies and transactions that promote environmentally sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Prior to the Asian Development Bank, Mr. Freeland was a senior executive at several leading financial services firms, including BMO Financial Group and Goldman Sachs & Co. A U.S. national, Mr. Freeland holds a Master’s degree in International Finance and Marketing from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, where he was an Austin Scholar. He received his Bachelor’s degree with Distinction in Economics from the University of North Carolina.
“We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Freeland, Mr. Wong, Mr. Koyanagi and Mr. Nishigori to Ormat’s Board. The new members of the Board bring with them a set of skills and a range of experiences to support Ormat in executing its strategy as well as in seizing new opportunities. With the new Directors and existing Board members working closely with Ormat’s excellent management team, I am confident that Ormat will continue to succeed in achieving its business goals. I would also like to thank all of Ormat’s employees, and especially the management team led by Isaac Angel, the CEO, for their relentless dedication and commitment to excellence; I have been honored to work with all of the employees and management for the past years and strongly believe that the Company will continue its growth together with ORIX as a strategic investor.” commented Gillon Beck, Ormat’s outgoing Chairman.
TNG completes their 400th GWERT Job
TNG completes their 400th GWERT Job after 19 years in business, operating in five countries, and countless man hours. A successful GWERT (Geothermal Wellhead Equipment Repair Tool) job consists of the setting of a packer down hole which enables the TNG crew to safely repair surface casing, and/or replace wellheads and master valve assemblies.
The 400th GWERT Job set more than one milestone for TNG. The same job was the first of it’s kind in Japan. TNG and GERD’s partnership has opened the doors to offer safe, cost-effective valve repair and replacement services in Japan. Our first job in Japan (400th overall) set the stage for additional work in country in the near future.
Tanzania wins US$21.7 million from Climate Investment Funds to advance geothermal exploration and transform its energy sector
The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) has approved US $21.7 million for the United Republic of Tanzania to finance its Geothermal Energy Development Project.
The project serves as a significant step in advancing the country’s plans to transform its national economy bolstered by an affordable and baseload sustainable energy technology. It will develop the Ngozi geothermal steam field in southwestern Tanzania and ultimately showcase the technology’s broader potential in the country’s energy transformation.
The project is funded under the CIF’s Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) and will receive US $ 5 million as loan and US$16.73 million in grant resources to be implemented by AfDB.
Tanzania has made significant economic and social progress over the past 20 years and is today one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s best economic performers. However, the country still wrestles with poverty and an under-developed energy sector, with half of its electricity being generated by fossil-based technologies and half from hydro.
The country has committed to transforming its energy sector through a more diversified mix of technologies tapping into its renewable resources. Geothermal energy is particularly a promising technology for the country, which has around 15 geothermal sites with an untapped estimated potential of 650 megawatts (MW). A sixth of this potential can be developed in the Ngozi site.
“Today, we are assisting in the first step in the transformation of Tanzania’s energy sector, a transformation that is being built on a sustainable energy source,” said Leandro Azevedo, AfDB’s Senior Climate Finance Officer and CIF Coordinator.
“Developing geothermal capacity in Tanzania is an essential part of that transformation and we hope that this project’s success will lead downstream to the installation of a 100 MW power plant and help create the conditions for the development of other geothermal sites in the country,” he added.
The project involves conducting exploratory test drilling and installing the required steam gathering infrastructure in the Ngozi geothermal site. This SREP highly concessional finance will be instrumental in mitigating the high-risk nature of geothermal prospection and field development. Ultimately, the project is also expected to have transformational effects not only on Tanzania and its energy sector but also more broadly in the African Rift Valley Region.
Once fully operational, the project is expected to come with the following benefits to the country: improved power supply, increased energy security, increased public and private investment, and benefits to local households and businesses
The project’s 100 MW generation will be added to the country’s energy mix adding up to 823 GWh per year to the grid. Electricity from these fields will increase the country’s energy security and reduce its dependence on electricity imported from Uganda, Zambia and Kenya. In addition, a more diversified energy mix will strengthen the power sector’s resilience to future shocks. The project will also contribute downstream to capital mobilization from both public and private investors by creating an enabling environment for unlocking both public and private funds. The total contribution expected from private sector is estimated at US $300 million. Households and businesses will benefit from the supply of clean and reliable green energy, thereby creating urgently needed jobs.
About the Climate Investment Funds (CIF)
Established in 2008, as one of the largest fast-tracked climate financing instruments in the world, the US$ 8.3 billion CIF provides developing countries with grants, concessional loans, risk mitigation instruments, and equity that leverage significant financing from the private sector, Multilateral Development Banks and other sources. Five MDBs – the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, and World Bank Group – act as implementing entities of CIF-funded projects and programs.
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