Two new, improved geothermal websites launched
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Program website has been updated and redesigned, as required by the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Communication and Outreach Office. The redesigned website contains information about the new program organization and structure, the GeoPowering the West (GPW) initiative, and a geothermal resource map. It also provides helpful information for consumers, students, and educators, and links to program review and presentation material from the last five years.
New DOE Geothermal Technologies Program website
The Geothermal-biz.com website, created and maintained by geothermal-biz.com with support from DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program under GPW, also received a recent facelift. In addition to a unique Flash introduction, the redesigned website contains easier navigation and several new pages including a Calendar of Events, Current Solicitations, For Sale, and Why Geothermal?.
New Geothermal-biz.com website
Western governors working for renewables
Governors from five Western states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Wyoming), along with Mexican and Canadian leaders, met in Albuquerque, New Mexico on 14-16 April for the North American Energy Summit. The leaders discussed how to meet future energy needs in a region rich with natural resources, including geothermal power.
Co-Lead Governors for energy, Governors Bill Richardson (NM) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA), released a letter calling for the development of at least 30,000 MW of clean energy in the West by 2015.
William Keese, California Energy Commission (CEC) Chairman, issued a progress report on the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS), a system to track and verify renewable energy generation in the region. "Recommendations will be ready for review by Western Governors’ Association (WGA), the Energy Commission, and Western states in June," he said.
For more information, see the 2004 North American Energy Summit and WREGIS websites.
Susan Norwood: Baghdad Journal
Susan Norwood, DOE GeoPowering the West Project Manager, is serving a six-month detail to the Defense Department to support the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad, Iraq.
16 April 2004
I haven't been keeping up with my journals as work is demanding an ever-increasing amount of my waking hours ...Trying to find time for meals, workouts, and other necessities for staying healthy and sane does not help.
We're currently in a "lock-down" state – no runs to BIAP (Baghdad International Airport), no incoming mail, no travel into the red zone, and movement inside the green zone is discouraged. So we basically walk from trailer to palace to trailer.
Susan makes new friends
The uncertainty of the upcoming transition is also taking a toll on spirits. With little more than 10 weeks to go, many people will be sent home and some of us asked to stay as the CPA dissolves and an embassy takes its place. The embassy will be supported by an entity known as the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office where about 150 American civilians will continue the efforts to rebuild this fledgling democracy. There will also continue to be a Project Management Office to manage the contracts for the $18 billion for infrastructure development.
"Waiting for rockets"
|Not to paint an entirely gloomy picture, there are enjoyable moments, like our nightly trailer porch parties. With a seven-foot wall of sandbags little more than an arm's length from the row of trailers, we line up with our friends and neighbors in chairs like sparrows on a telephone line and discuss the war, our families, which restaurants we'll visit first when returning home.
|We have some really good laughs, the kind that make it difficult to catch your breath. Those are great. I think these are friends we will have for a lifetime, inshala.
Despite all that seems worrisome right now, we do have hope the future.
- Energy Bill Update -
The $13-billion tax provisions of the energy bill, including the Section 45 Production Tax Credit, have been added to the Jumpstart Our Business Strength (JOBS) Act (Senate 1637) which is before the Senate. The bill appears to have strong bipartisan support. For more information, email Karl Gawell, Executive Director, Geothermal Energy Association, at Karl@geo-energy.org.
- Congresswoman Juanita
Millender-McDonald (D-CA) introduced new
alternative energy legislation on 31 March. The Geothermal Energy Initiative Act of 2004 (H.R. 4094) would authorize a new assessment of the country's geothermal resources and expanding geothermal
energy investment by offering tax incentives to
develop these resources. The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means and Agriculture Committees, and the House
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. For more information.
- On 1 April, the Senate passed
legislation to increase the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 7(a) loan program’s lending authority by more than $3 billion, lift the
current $750,000 cap on 7(a) loans, and ensure continuing operations for
other key SBA programs. The new bill will allow the 7(a) program to reach up to 90,000 small businesses in fiscal year
2004, creating or retaining up to 500,000 jobs for hard-working Americans. President Bush signed H.R. 4062 into law on 5 April. For more information.
- PacifiCorp has received proposals for 54 projects totaling 5,600 MW of renewable power in response to its 2003
"Renewable Resource Request for Proposals." Eight-five percent of the proposals received are for wind projects; the balance are for geothermal and hydro projects.
Bidders were required to submit pricing with and without an extension of the federal production tax credit. PacifiCorp wants to add 1,100 MW of renewables in six states over the next seven years. The firm will announce the bid winners in late June.
- DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released its annual ranking of leading utility "green pricing" programs on 8 March. Under green pricing, consumers can choose to help support additional electricity production from renewable resources. The top three utilities in terms of renewable energy sales were Austin (TX) Energy, Portland General Electric, and Sacramento Municipal Utility District. The top three utilities ranked by customer participation were Lenox (IA) Municipal Utilities, City of Palo Alto (CA) Utilities, and Moorhead (MN) Public Service. More than 500 utilities in 33 states offer green pricing programs. For more information.
- Consumers in the Pacific Northwest have a new, reliable way to distinguish cleaner, high quality options when shopping for renewable energy. The Center for Resource Solutions has established "Green-e" certification standards for utility green pricing programs in the Pacific Northwest based on the regional standards developed previously by the Renewable Northwest Project. Renewable electricity products sold in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington are now eligible for "Green-e" certification. For more information.
- NREL received a Distinguished Service Award from The Wirth Chair in Environmental and Community Development Policy on 18 March for 27 years of leadership in developing renewable energy and energy efficiency science and technologies. Operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle, NREL staff are engaged in numerous and wide-ranging areas of world-class scientific investigation, including geothermal energy. For more information.
- Founded in 1984, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmentally sustainable societies.
EESI issues briefings and publications, and holds events in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy, global climate change, agriculture, biofuels, smart-growth, and clean bus technologies.
- The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has created EnergyNet, an energy network aimed at advancing clean energy solutions. The free resource will help you stay informed and take action on renewable energy and energy efficiency issues. When you sign up, the UCS will send you one to three email updates monthly about renewable energy developments in the United States and around the world.
further information on geothermal activities in Alaska, contact:
Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority/
Alaska Energy Authority
Tel: (907) 269-4643
further information on the Arizona Geothermal Work Group (AzGeo),
The Ormond Group
Tel: (480) 491-3305
- The Arizona Geothermal Work Group (AzGeo) met in Flagstaff on 22-23 March for their bi-annual meeting and to tour the San Francisco Volcanic Field. Topics covered at the meeting included the outlook for extension of the federal production tax credit to geothermal energy, a review of a regulatory guide developed by Washington State University for Arizona, discussion of the state's effort to modify its renewable portfolio standard, and member updates.
San Francisco Peak is in a volcanic area near the south edge of the Colorado Plateau, and one of two areas in Arizona whose geothermal resource is being evaluated to generate electricity. The next AzGeo meeting will be in the metropolitan area in Fall 2004. For more information, email Amanda Ormond at email@example.com.
- On 10 February, the Arizona
Corporation Commission (ACC) voted to raise the
Environmental Portfolio Standard (EPS) to 1.1% by 2007. From 2004 through 2012, the EPS must be 60% solar electric. The ACC is holding a series of public workshops around the state
to gather public comments on the EPS and to examine new options for
advancing renewable energy implementation. This process
should lead to rulemaking this year. The EPS does not include geothermal as a qualifying technology. For more information: EPS Developments website, ACC News Release.
- Salt River Project (SRP) has signed a five-year agreement to purchase 25 MW of power and geothermal renewable-energy credits from TransAlta Energy Marketing. The renewable-energy credits are generated by geothermal power plants operated by CalEnergy in California's Imperial Valley, and the latest addition to SRP's EarthWise Energy Program. SRP customers can elect to pay a small premium on their monthly electric bill to support the continued development of clean energy. For more information.
further information on geothermal activities in California,
Geothermal Program Manager
- On 20 April, the Colorado House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 168. SB 168 calls for the state's two investor-owned utilities to provide 500 MW of power from
renewable energy sources by 2006, 900 MW by 2010, and 1,800 MW by 2020. Rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities are specifically excluded. The bill uses the same legislative language contained in HB 1273 which
was withdrawn from Senate consideration last month by its sponsor.
SB 168 now goes to the Colorado Senate for a concurrence vote before
the legislature adjourns on 5 May. The Colorado General Assembly has not passed renewable-energy bills in three consecutive legislative sessions.
- If SB 168 fails to pass, proponents of a statewide ballot initiative will circulate petitions to put a renewable portfolio standard initiative on the November ballot. Unlike SB 168, however, these initiatives do not generally exempt large rural electric cooperatives or municipal utilities. Though the language of each draft ballot initiative varies, most of the proposals require large utilities to attain 3% of their retail electricity sales from 2007 to 2010 from renewable sources, 6% from 2011 to 2014, and 10% after 2015. Ten draft ballot initiatives have been submitted for formal review; one will be selected to be the final ballot initiative. Backers of the initiative must collect 67,820 signatures by 2 August to get it on the November ballot (Source: Colorado Coalition for New Energy Technologies). For more information.
- A hot water South Fork lake with temperatures of up to 395°F could be the site of Colorado's first geothermal power plant. The Headwaters Electric Power
Authority (HEPA) wants the right to develop geothermal
resources and filed an application to form a district in the area. The state denied the application, stating that the
geothermal resource must be established and that there be substantial
information to support it before a district can be formed. Additional information was requested from HEPA (Source: "Geothermal Project in South Fork, Colo., May Lose Steam" by Erin Smith, The Pueblo Chieftain, 12 March 2004).
further information on geothermal activities in Hawai'i, contact:
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
Energy, Resources, and Technology Division
Tel: (808) 586-2353
- On 22 April, Constellation Energy signed an agreement to sell to Ormat Nevada Inc.,
of Ormat Technologies, Inc.,
the Puna Geothermal Venture in Pahoa. Ormat Nevada will acquire the 30-MWe geothermal power plant and associated assets for $71 million. The closing is subject to standard closing conditions, including approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.
Within 18 months of the deal's close, Ormat plans to invest $22 million to
increase the plant's capacity by 6.5 MWe by 2006, increasing annual revenues to $24 million, up from $2 million (Source: "Ormat buys Hawaiian plant for $71m" by
Zev Stu, The Jerusalem Post, 25 April 2004). For more information.
- Governor Linda
Lingle took the initiative to push for a state
Renewable Portfolio Standard in her State
of the State address on 26 January 2004. The last version of Senate Bill 2474, to encourage the development and increased use of renewable energy resources in Hawai'i, is House Draft 2 (see committee report HSCR 1283). The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) testified in support of the bill. The Public Utilities Commission, Hawaiian Electric Company, Maui Electric Company, Hawai'i Electric Light Company, and Hawai'i Business Roundtable supported the intent of the bill but could not support the current form. The Chamber of Commerce of Hawai'i opposed the bill.
- SB 487, which would provide a tax credit for 20% of geothermal-to-hydrogen systems, was modified. The new bill, SB 2080, calls for tax credits for all hydrogen systems. It was passed by the Senate but not heard by the House.
|For further information on the
Idaho Geothermal Energy
Working Group, contact:
Idaho Department of Water Resources
News from the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR):
- The 18 March mini-workshop and meeting of the Idaho Geothermal Energy Working Group (IGEWG) was an unequivocal success. Almost 50 people participated, including many that had never attended an IGEWG meeting before. Key speakers were Dr. Roy Mink, Director of DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program, who gave an overall update of the GeoPowering the West initiative; and Dr. John Lund, Director of the Geo-Heat Center, who spoke on geothermal energy development worldwide. The agenda also included legislative, policy, and industry updates as well as discussions of state and local geothermal projects. For more information, email Gerry Galinato at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The University of Idaho has completed an economic impact study of four geothermal areas in the state. The report, "Estimated Impacts of Proposed Idaho Geothermal Energy Projects," will be available on the Idaho geothermal website, and was partially funded by the Energy Division's Geothermal Development Program.
- A new three-panel, full-color tabletop geothermal display has been completed and is available for loan at no charge. It was developed in conjunction with the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute. For more information, email Gerry Galinato at email@example.com.
- Several energy-related bills were introduced into this year’s legislative session related to the development of geothermal electric generation projects:
- House Bill 760, as amended, would have granted a capital investment tax credit for purchasing equipment for renewable energy generation. HB 761, as amended, would have allowed an income tax credit for renewable energy power generation. Both were passed by the Idaho Legislature but vetoed by Governor Dirk Kempthorne.
- HB 827, which would have allowed a sales tax exemption for alternative energy equipment purchases and supplies, did not get out of committee.
- Senate Bill 1296 amended the Idaho Code so that the IDWR Director cannot issue a geothermal permit if any well to be operated under that permit would decrease groundwater, unless the applicant has already obtained a permit to appropriate groundwater. Governor Kempthorne signed the bill on 16 March. It becomes effective 1 July 2004.
- U.S. Geothermal Inc. began a production well test program of five existing wells at the Raft River Geothermal Project in mid-April. The wells will be flow tested to determine their electrical production capacity. Data from the program will be incorporated into the design of a binary cycle power plant.
Lang Exploratory Drilling is the drilling contractor; GeothermEx, the geothermal engineering contractor. The flow test program is being done under a $396,000-DOE Geothermal Resource Exploration and Definition (GRED) Grant which covers 80% of expenses.
Negotiations are underway with Idaho Power Company for a 10-MWe, 20-year power purchase agreement under the PURPA regulations in Idaho. For more information.
- Idaho Red Claw Farms is working with U.S. Geothermal to use some of the spent water to raise fresh water lobsters. Additional uses might be raising tadpoles and frogs and supporting hydroponics. Kevin Rafferty, a geothermal consultant, has been retained to conduct a reconnaissance feasibility study.
- The six-story Idaho Water Center, under construction down the street from the Ada County Administration building, will be completed this summer. It will be heated by geothermal water from the City of Boise's geothermal district heating system. The Ada County building also uses geothermal water for space heating.
- The College of Southern Idaho (CSI) in Twin Falls is looking at additional uses for its geothermal resource. The campus is heated by geothermal; CSI wants to get additional uses from the spent water. Possible new uses include an anaerobic digester, aquaculture, and greenhousing. The college also plans to add a geothermal resource use to its Green Energy Park, which currently has solar PV panels and a small wind turbine. The park is used for renewable energy classes and open for public tours. Kevin Rafferty is conducting the reconnaissance feasibility study.
- A 40-foot exploration well is being drilled in Cascade to confirm the results of a test well drilled recently; it encountered hot water at a very shallow depth. The Idaho Energy Division is working with the city to conduct a pump test.
Westar Energy Inc., the largest electric utility in Kansas, announced on 12 February that it is seeking to buy power from new renewable energy power plants totaling as much as 200 MW in capacity. Westar wants to buy power from power plants that use wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, or hydroelectric energy. The utility prefers to buy power from facilities that have an installed capacity of at least 50 MW. The announcement of short list companies and contract negotiations are scheduled for 10 May. For more information.
further information on geothermal activities in Nevada, contact:
Manager - Oil, Gas, and Geothermal
Nevada Division of Minerals
- A follow-up to the meeting held at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state
headquarters in January will take place in May. An agenda is being developed.
- Sierra Pacific received a wide range of projects in response to its 2003
Renewable Resources Request for Proposals (RFP). Existing geothermal projects from earlier RFPs include
ORMAT's 30-MWe and Earth Power's 20-MWe projects. Advanced Thermal Systems, LLC's 40-MWe project has been terminated. Colin Duncan of Sierra Pacific estimates that the utility will need an additional 30
MWe of non-solar renewable resources by 2007 (Source: Nevada Geothermal Update, February 2004).
- Five geothermal temperature gradient wells were drilled near the Florida Canyon mine in Humboldt County to test the resource potential of the Humboldt House Geothermal Area (HHGA), 50 kilometers northwest of Lovelock. Geochemical and petrographic studies are being conducted on the core by the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy at the University of Nevada, Reno. Results of these geochemical and petrographic studies will be used to determine the source of the geothermal fluids at HHGA and the relative timing of the fluid movement with respect to the geologic history of the area. Well logs, a summary of drilling activity, a map, and initial thermal profiles can be found on the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology website.
- Geoff Blewitt of the University of Nevada, Reno's Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy reported on the first assessment of data quality from a 30-station continuous GPS station network. The network was installed to determine millimeter-level strain changes in the Earth's crust that might be used to target new geothermal resources. It went online in late January 2004. The goal is to use two to three years of data to create a strain tensor map to identify areas undergoing active trans-tensional tectonics. Initial results show that the network is exceeding the required level of data precision. For more information, contact Dr. Geoff Blewitt, Research Professor, University of Nevada, at Tel: (775) 784-6691 extension 171, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Several new Geothermal Leases have been filed with the Nevada Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The following information is provided courtesy of the "Nevada Oil
Reporter." For more information on BLM leases in Nevada, see the website: http://www.blm.gov/lr2000 (Source: Nevada Geothermal Update,
February, March 2004).
BLM Lease Applications, Pending:
Fly Ranch, Washoe County
Tipton Ranch, Humboldt County
|Western Geothermal Partners
Silverpeak, Esmeralda County
Recent Geothermal BLM Leases Issued:
|Nevada Geothermal Specialists
Salt Wells (issued 11/03)
|Western Geothermal Partners
Gerlach (issued 12/03)
|Western Geothermal Partners
Salt Wells (issued 12/03)
Competitive Sale Geothermal Lease Applications Dropped:
|NGP Power Corp.
|NGP Power Corp.
For further information on the New Mexico Geothermal Working Group,
Brian K. Johnson
Geothermal Program Manager
Minerals and Natural
New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural
Tel: (505) 476-3313
- The New Mexico Geothermal Energy Working Group will meet 11-12
May in Santa Fe. The Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) session will
occur 11 May; the Geothermal Direct Use and Power Generation session
will occur 12 May. On 11 May, planned activities are presentations
on commercial GHP projects, and formation of a strategic planning
subcommittee and an initial meeting to discuss a GHP technology approach
for New Mexico. On 12 May, presentations will be given on the geothermal
processes, the Jemez Pueblo geothermal development, and GeoPowering
the West. A DOE-supported strategic planning meeting will be held
to address barriers and solutions for geothermal development in New
Mexico. For more information, contact Brian Johnson, Working Group
Coordinator, at Tel: (505) 476-3313 or email at BKJohnson@state.nm.us.
- On 14 April, Governor
Bill Richardson signed Executive
Order 04-019, declaring New Mexico the "Clean Energy State"
with "the potential to sharply and profitably increase its production
of solar, biomass, and geothermal power." The
executive order calls for the creation of a Clean Energy Development
Council which will present the governor by 15 December 2004 a set
of recommendations regarding clean energy policy measures to be presented
to the 2005 Legislature.
Richardson signed the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), Senate
Bill 43, Renewable Energy Act, into law on 3 March. The RPS requires
investor-owned utilities to draw on renewable energy resources (including
geothermal) for 5% of the electricity they sell beginning
in 2006. The level will increase 1% each year until 2011 when it reaches
10%. The law allows the New Mexico Public Service Commission to set
a "reasonable cost threshold" for renewable energy. The
governor also signed House
Bill 251 which creates a clean energy fund to support a variety
of clean energy projects and development programs through small economic
For more information.
- Fraser Goff of Los Alamos National Laboratory made a presentation
on the Valles Caldera on 5 March at the Audubon Center in Santa Fe.
Caldera Coalition sponsored the presentation. The New Mexico Oil
Conservation Commission denied GeoProducts' drilling application for
the area on 12 February, citing that Forest Service authorization
must occur before an application can be approved. The Valles Caldera
geothermal resource has a flow-tested power generation potential of
at least 20 MWe.
For further information on geothermal activities in Oregon,
Oregon Office of Energy
Tel: (503) 378-8278
- The first draft of the Renewable Energy Action Plan, as well as 41 pages of comments (7 on geothermal) received through 11 March, are available on the Oregon Department of Energy website. The Plan's goal is to
encourage production of energy from renewable sources, demonstrate a variety of
technologies, and remove barriers. Several meetings were held to give stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the Plan in March and April. Send additional comments to email@example.com. For more information, contact Carel DeWinkel at (503) 378-6099 or Mark Kendall at (503) 378-6043.
- Accelerating the acceptance of renewable energy can reduce Texas dependence on fossil fuels. Renewable energy is derived from the earth's natural resources: sunshine, wind, the heat of the earth (geothermal), the growth of plants and animals (biomass) and movement of the seas and rivers (hydro power). Over the past several years, the State Energy Conservation Office's Renewable Energy Demonstration Program (REDP) has funded renewable demonstration projects in Texas, and cosponsored conferences, workshops, and other educational efforts.
For further information on the Utah Geothermal Working Group,
Senior Geologist, Utah Geological Survey
- April is Earthquake Awareness Month in Utah. A magnitude 6.5 or greater earthquake occurs about every 120 years in the Wasatch Front area, and every 50 years in all of Utah. The Utah Geological Survey (UGS) is working to better understand earthquake hazards, show them on hazard maps, and use the information to reduce risks. UGS sponsored the Earthquake Conference in Salt Lake City on 26 February.
For further information on geothermal activities in Washington,
Geothermal, Hydrothermal & Integrated Energy
Washington State University
Tel: (360) 956-2016
- Two renewable energy bills failed to pass in the 2004 legislative session which ended 17 February. The
House Technology, Telecommunications and Energy Committee and the Appropriations Committee approved House Bill 2333, which required renewable standards based on retail loads but the revised bill did not make it to a full House vote. HB 2477, which based the renewables targets on load growth, never made it to a committee vote. For more information.
- Governor Gary Locke signed HB 3141 into law on 31 March. HB 3141
mitigates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by requiring new fossil fuel power plants and old plants that increase
their CO2 emissions by 15%, to offset
20% of the CO2 they create. Plants can either directly or indirectly invest in CO2 mitigation
projects including energy efficiency measures, clean and efficient transportation measures, qualified alternative energy resources, demand side management of electricity consumption, and carbon sequestration programs. The new standards are the strongest in nation for new power plants. For more information: Governor Locke news release.
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