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spacerApril 2005, Issue No. 16

Federal Update
Susan Norwood bids farewell to GeoPowering the West
$11.4 million in renewable energy grants available from USDA
Save the date - 2005 GeoPowering the West State Summit
Geothermal Calendar of Events
Current Solicitations
National News
State Roundup

American Samoa

South Dakota

Capitol Building
Federal Update

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, by a vote of 249-183 on 21 April 2005.

H.R. 6 includes the John Rishel Geothermal Steam Act Amendments of 2005 which amends the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 to revamp guidelines governing leasing and permitting for geothermal development of public and National Forest System lands, including those withdrawn for military purposes.

H.R. 6 does not extend or modify the Section 45 Production Tax Credit. Reportedly, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) would like to see Section 45 dealt with either in the Budget Reconciliation Bill or a yearend tax extender package. He also reportedly supports taking action on all parts of Section 45 together, rather than singling out any one technology.

In the Senate, according to reports, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee is looking to vote on energy legislation in Committee the week of 16 May. The Finance Committee may mark-up companion energy tax legislation late that week or the following week, with the full Senate taking up the entire energy bill shortly thereafter.

National Renewable Portfolio Standard

Two bills to establish a national renewable portfolio standard were introduced in the House and Senate on 17 February 2005.

H.R. 983
would establish a Federal renewable energy portfolio standard for certain retail electric utilities, and for other purposes. Beginning in 2008, 1% of a retail electric supplier’s base amount would have to be generated from renewable energy resources. The percentage would increase by 1% every year to 20% by 2027. A retail electric supplier could also satisfy the requirements through renewable energy credits. The bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality.

On the Senate side, S. 427 would amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to provide for a Federal renewable portfolio standard. The bill calls for 5% of non-hydropower (excluding incremental hydropower) electricity be generated by renewable energy sources in 2006-2009, 10% in 2010-2014, 15% in 2015-2019, and 20% in 2020 and thereafter. The bill is currently in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

NEPA Task Force

House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) announced the formation of a Task Force on Improving the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) led by Representative Cathy McMorris (R-WA). The Task Force's goal is to ensure that the original intent of NEPA—that federal decisions are made in an appropriate, environmentally sound manner, rather than being focused by litigation—will become the way the statute will be implemented going forward. The NEPA Task Force will hold a number of field meetings across the country to hear testimony on a range of issues. The Task Force held a field hearing on The Role of NEPA in the States of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska in Spokane, WA on 23 April 2005

Other Bills

  • H.R. 174 — Geothermal Energy Initiative Act of 2005. Calls for a new resource assessment, more access to federal land, improved leasing and permitting, and reimbursement for required environmental analyses.

  • H.R. 622 / S. 326 — Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI) Reform Act. Amends the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to modify renewable energy production incentive payment guidelines. Redefines a qualified renewable energy facility. Extends through FY2015 the deadline for first use of a facility eligible for incentive payments.

  • H.R. 1127 — Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI) Reform and Reauthorization Act. Makes equal incentives available from the Department of Energy (solar, wind, geothermal), Department of Agriculture (biomass), and Environmental Protection Agency (landfill gas).

  • S. 269 — Small Business and Farm Energy Emergency Relief Act of 2005. Section 3 makes loans available to small business to convert from heating fuel to alternative energy sources that may include biowaste, geothermal energy, solar energy, wind
    energy, and fuel cells.

To search for specific bills.


The House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a Congressional briefing on 15 April 2005 on renewable energy policy issues facing the Congress including the Administration’s FY 2006 budget request for renewable energy R&D investments and technology deployment initiatives. The briefing was the second of a two-part series.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on ways to encourage the diversification of power generation resources and the cost and benefits of a federal renewable portfolio standard (RPS) program on 8 March 2005. Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) said "I think a portfolio standard should go beyond wind, solar, and geothermal energy to include renewable energy like hydropower and clean alternatives such as coal gasification, clean coal, nuclear energy, and, finally, credits for achieving new levels of efficiency and conservation."

The Bush Administration opposes a national RPS, asserting that it could lead to higher energy bills and opposition to renewable energy in areas where they are less abundant and harder to cultivate or distribute. For more information.

After touring Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio on 9 March 2005, President Bush called for Congress to act on the Energy Bill, stating that "To create more energy choices, Congress should provide tax credits for renewable power sources such as wind and solar and landfill gas." He did not mention geothermal. For more information.

  • On 29 April 2005, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) announced that the Senate and House have approved a federal budget for FY 2006 that will allow the Senate to proceed with drafting a much-needed energy policy bill, advances most of President Bush’s budgetary initiatives, and addresses congressional concerns. The budget makes room for $11 billion for tax incentives to develop and enhance energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and others. The inclusion of these funds lays the groundwork for Domenici to proceed with crafting a bipartisan national energy policy bill this spring. For more information.

  • In a recent letter, 32 member-groups of the Sustainable Energy Coalition urged Congress to restore funding the White House is proposing to cut in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) FY 2006 energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) programs. The letter was sent to the Members of the Senate and House of Representatives serving on the respective Energy and Water Subcommittees of the congressional Appropriations Committees. The letter argues that "at a time when the price of gasoline is exceeding $2 per gallon, a barrel of oil is over $50, and natural gas is more than $6/mmBtu, cut-backs in DOE's core EE/RE programs are truly penny-wise and pound-foolish."

  • Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Gale Norton announced steps to give local, state, counties, and tribal governments and other agencies a stronger, more active role in determining how public lands should be managed. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized a rule that establishes uniform eligibility criteria for federal and state agencies, and tribal and local governments to apply for and become cooperating agencies regarding land-use decisions. In addition, an amendment has been proposed to the Departmental Manual requiring all DOI bureaus to invite qualified government entities to participate as cooperating agencies when the bureau is developing environmental impact statements under NEPA. For more information: Federal Register, Volume 70, Number 52; pages 13203-13206, 18 March 2005.

For more information: GEA Update, 25 April 2005.

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Susan Norwood bids farewell to GeoPowering the West

Susan Norwood left the position as DOE GeoPowering the West (GPW) National Coordinator at the end of March 2005. She has been reassigned to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). In her farewell letter, she wrote:

Susan Norwood
Susan Norwood in Baghdad learning
how to salute "Iraqi style"

"Although there is still much to be accomplished with GeoPowering the West, I have been here since its beginnings—almost five years—and it is simply time to move on and accept new challenges. This was not an easy decision to make. I have really enjoyed working with the geothermal community and especially the GeoPowering the West team. We have assembled an exceptional group of people from the national laboratories and regional DOE offices, and I am honored to have led their efforts in expanding the use of geothermal energy."

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$11.4 million in renewable energy grants available from USDA

On 28 March 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Business Programs published a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the FY 2005 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program . Up to $22.8 million in competitive grant funds are available for FY 2005 to purchase renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements for agricultural producers and rural small businesses.

Of the $22.8 million, $11.4 million is immediately available for grants. The remaining $11.4 million will be set aside through 31 August 2005 for guaranteed loans, and administered under a final rule to be published in the Federal Register later this fiscal year.

Grant requests must not exceed 25% of the eligible project costs.

Grant applications must be completed and submitted to the appropriate USDA State Rural Development Office postmarked no later than 90 days after the date of the published notice, or by 28 June 2005.

For more information .

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Save the date - 2005 GeoPowering the West State Summit

The DOE GPW Program will hold its fourth annual State Summit on Thursday, 29 September 2005 in Reno, Nevada, following the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting.

The success of the past three years shows in GPW's extensive network of state-level energy and resource officials and the geothermal program. This year, summit participants will be updated on State Energy Program (SEP) funded activities, geothermal working groups and accomplishment, policies, tribal issues, and financing. The summit will also focus on the states' input and ideas in developing next year's State Energy Program (SEP) Geothermal solicitation.

For more information, contact Curtis Framel, DOE, Western Regional Office, at Tel: (206) 553-7841, or email at

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National News
  • The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) released a Guide to Geothermal Energy and the Environment on 21 April 2005. The new and extensive Guide updates information on geothermal energy, particularly electric power production, for a wide range of environmental issues, providing pictures, graphs, and charts to help place the potential benefits of expanded geothermal energy use in perspective. The document was produced with extensive expert input and review, and represents the most accurate and up-to-date examination available.

  • The new Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) Public Outreach Committee is compiling a generic information packet on geothermal energy. As a first step, the committee is looking for samples of what materials are currently available. Please send 10 copies of relevant non-company specific materials that you or your organization publishes or acquires to Marilyn Nemzer by 6 May 2005. For more information: Marilyn L. Nemzer, at Tel: (415) 435-4574, or email at

  • The March 2005 (Volume 26, Number 1) issue of the Geo-Heat Center Quarterly Bulletin is available. The issue contains the following articles: Geo-Heat Center's 30th Anniversary, Greenhouse Heating with Geothermal Heat Pump Systems, Aquaculture and Geothermal Heat Pump systems, Residential Swimming Pool Heating with Geothermal Heat Pump Systems, Fish Rearing Ponds Cascaded from Binary Power Generation, Design and Installation of a New Downhole Heat Exchanger for Direct-Use Space Heating, A Brief History of DHE Materials, and Geothermal Websites.

  • The American Public Power Association (APPA) published an article on geothermal energy in the March-April 2005 issue of Public POWER whose circulation is about 2,000 of the nation's public power utility general managers and executives. Entitled "Steamy, Affordable Power From The Earth," the article was written by Marie LaRiviere, an intern at APPA funded by GPW. The author notes that geothermal power is becoming more attractive to public power utilities due to price instability in oil, coal, and natural gas markets.

  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released its annual ranking of leading utility green power programs on 14 April 2005. Under these voluntary programs, consumers can choose to help support additional electricity production from renewable resources from nearly 600 utilities in 34 states. Ranked by sales, the green power program of Austin (TX) Energy is first in the nation, followed by Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and Xcel Energy. Of the top 10, Portland General Electric and Roseville Electric obtain power from geothermal energy. For more information.

  • On 17 March 2005, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced a nationwide sign-up for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) that will be available to approximately 235,000 farmers and ranchers in 220 watersheds. Sign-up runs from 28 March to 27 May 2005, and includes a renewable energy component. Eligible producers will receive compensation for converting to renewable energy fuels, and for implementing energy production, including geothermal production. Payments range from $20,000 to $45,000 a year, based on the level of conservation achieved. Congress funded the fiscal year 2005 CSP budget at $202 million. CSP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to promote the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes on Tribal and private working lands. For more information.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utility Service (RUS) provides Rural Electrification Loans to rural projects generating power from renewable sources. Some $200 million of Treasury loans are available through the end of the current federal fiscal year . Eligible facilities include distribution, subtransmission, headquarters (service and warehouse) and renewable generation facilities, e.g., electric cooperatives and public utility districts. RUS cannot provide capital to individuals. Interest rates are determined largely by the term of the loan, which is based upon the project's useful life, up to 35 years. Applications should be submitted no later than early July. For more information, contact Dan Bowers at Tel: (208) 321-8095.

  • Patriot Wind would like to buy renewable energy credits (RECs) from geothermal electric power projects which have come online since 1999. The company will also consider buying RECs from projects that are due to come online in the near future. For more information, contact Eric Johnson at (303) 444-1122 or

  • According to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2005 (AEO2005), extension of the federal production tax credit "could be expected to reduce the levelized cost of prime geothermal sites from 4.4 to 3.6¢/kWh" by 2010. With the PTC extension, green power from geothermal energy could increase to 5.3 GW from 4.6 GW by 2025. AEO2005 projects significant increases in electricity generation from both geothermal and wind power, estimating an increase in geothermal output from 13 billion kWh in 2003 to 33 billion kWh in 2025. The analysis also concluded that in some regions and years, new geothermal plants may be competitive with new coal-fired plants, but that the former's development is limited by resource availability. The AEO2005 presents midterm forecasts of energy supply, demand, and prices through 2025 based on EIA’s National Energy Modeling System.

  • The American Bar Association (ABA) Renewable Energy Resources Committee is holding a series of multi-site seminar-teleconferences on various aspects of renewable energy development. On 16 March 2005, the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) sponsored the seminar-teleconference entitled "Financing Renewables: the Green Challenge" (for presentation materials). On 13 April 2005, a teleconference-seminar was held on "Renewables Technology Be Used to Help Meet the Mandates of Kyoto? Case studies: US Multi-Nationals and Sovereign Signatories of the Treaty" (for presentation materials).

    Future ABA Monthly Brown Bag Seminars and Teleconferences include:
  • According to a study, Renewable Energy: The Bottom Line, released in March 2005 by Global Energy Decisions, the 52,000 MWe required by state renewable mandates will need $53.4 billion in new investment. The study found that wind, geothermal, and landfill gas are the only renewable technologies that are economically viable as central generation, or grid-based technologies, based on their fixed and financing costs. It predicts that wind will be the predominant renewable source, accounting for 40,000 MWe of the total 52,000 MWe. For more information.

  • After record-high voting support from shareholders wanting more climate risk disclosure, Anadarko Petroleum, Apache Corp., ChevronTexaco, Marathon Oil, Tesoro Corp, and Unocal have taken far-reaching actions to disclose their potential financial exposure from climate change. In addition to acknowledging more publicly that global warming is a serious issue that requires action, the companies are pursuing or have agreed to pursue a wide range of actions that investors believe will reduce companies’ exposure to climate risk and better position them competitively in the years ahead. These agreements encompass a range of items, e.g., increasing investments in low- and no-carbon energy technologies, including renewables and carbon sequestration (Source: "U.S. Oil/Gas Companies Take Action to Reduce Climate Change Risks; Agreements Prompt Shareholders to Withdraw Resolutions," CSRwire, 18 March 2005).

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State Roundup


For further information on geothermal activities in Alaska, contact:

Bernie Smith
Project Manager
Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority/
Alaska Energy Authority
Tel: (907) 269-4643

  • The next Alaska GPW Meeting is being planned for 21-22 June 2005 in Nome. For more information, contact Bernie Smith, Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority/Alaska Energy Authority at Tel: (907) 269-4643, or email at

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American Samoa

No news.

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For further information on the Arizona Geothermal
Working Group (AzGeo), contact

Amanda Ormond
The Ormond Group
Tel: (480) 491-3305

  • Arizona Public Service Company (APS) issued a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) on 31 March 2005. APS is seeking competitive proposals for renewable resources, including geothermal, totaling at least 100 MWe and at least 250,000 MWh per year, for not less than five years beginning in 2006. Renewable resources must be no more costly, on a levelized cost per MWh basis, than 125% of the reasonably estimated market price of conventional resource alternatives. A pre-bid conference for interested parties was held on 13 April 2005. The RFP will be issued before 15 May 2005. For more information.

  • On 11 February 2005, Governor Janet Napolitano issued Executive Order 2005-05 requiring new state buildings to meet the Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard, meet state energy efficiency standards, and supply 10% of their energy needs from renewable sources. The order allows new buildings to either generate their own renewable power or buy renewable energy credits.

    On 24 March 2005, Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross announced Resolution 6644, which requires all new public buildings to be certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Resolution is the first city-wide resolution in the country to require LEED Gold. For more information.

    For an Introductory PowerPoint Presentation on LEED (1.4MB).

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For further information on geothermal activities in California, contact:

Elaine Sison-Lebrilla
Geothermal Program Manager
California Energy Commission

Tel: (916) 654-5129

  • The California Geothermal Energy Collaborative (CGEC) will convene the
    2005 California Geothermal Summit on 9 June 2005 at the California Energy Commission (CEC) in Sacramento. The one-day forum will feature keynote speakers from government and industry, as well as geothermal status updates from the CGEC, U.S. Department of Energy, and the Western Governors' Association.

    A series of breakout sessions will examine California's RPS goals, Outreach Activities, Geothermal Resources and New Projects, Interagency Coordination, Tribal Geothermal Resources, and Transmission Issues. Participants will help determine current issues for each topic, and identify barriers facing expanded geothermal energy use in the state.

    Registration materials will be emailed to interested geothermal stakeholders in early May. For more information, contact CGEC Administrative Manager Judy Fischette by email at:

  • The CEC 2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report Committee conducted a workshop to identify existing and future transmission constraints that may limit the potential development of geothermal resources in California and neighboring areas on 11 April 2005 in Sacramento. Available workshop documents, reports, and presentations may be found on the CEC website.

  • The Santa Rosa-Geysers Recharge Project (SRGRP) is a public-private collaboration composed of 40 miles of pipeline and four pump stations that transport tertiary-treated waste water from the City of Santa Rosa's treatment plant to The Geysers geothermal field for reservoir recharge. The project began delivering water in significant quantities in November 2003, and has operated reliably ever since, except in the wake of a wildfire of September 2004 when deliveries ceased for 20 days.

    By the end of March 2005, the system had distributed over 5.5 billion gallons via Calpine's pipeline system into some 12 recharge wells. Total fieldwide recharge for 2004 averaged 33.3 million gallons per day (mgd), of which 10.5 million mgd was SRGRP water. The 33.3 mgd set a new record for Geysers recharge, barely exceeding the previous record of 32.1 mgd set in 1998 when unusually wet weather conditions provided an abundance of freshwater and plant condensate. Tracer studies and monitoring of steam production and chemistry all indicate that SRGRP is helping to sustain generation capacity as expected. Over the next few years the net benefit (relative to expected decline without the SRGRP project) should reach a maximum of about 85 MWe.

  • The Geysers Geothermal Association (GGA) Barbeque will take place on 21 June 2005 at the Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center in Middletown at 11:30 a.m. The event is open to non-GGA members at a cost of $20.00. An individual membership to the GGA is $10.00. Please RSVP by 15 June 2005 to Charlene Wardlow at Tel: (707) 431-6079, or email at

  • The Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians will host Indian Energy Solutions 2005 on 21-22 June 2005 at the Morongo Casino~Resort~Spa in Cabazon, the first time the event is sponsored by a Tribe on Tribal lands. CERT's black tie gala fundraising event, the American Spirit Award Dinner, will be held on 21 June. For more information.

  • Vulcan Power Company signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Southern California Edison (SCE) to supply geothermal power from its 40,000-acre geothermal properties in Nevada near the California border. Vulcan is to supply up to 120 MWe, beginning with 30 MWe. The Vulcan PPA is one of six that SCE has submitted for review to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in response to the utility's second major renewable solicitation. The CPUC is expected to approve the PPAs by 12 May 2005. Vulcan's Green Borders Geothermal, LLC plant is estimated to be online by 31 March 2008. For more information.

  • In preparation for issuing its 2005 renewable Request for Proposals (RFP), SCE filed draft copies of proposed solicitation materials with the CPUC on 16 April 2005, seeking approval to commence the RFP this summer. Copies of the solicitation documents, including a pro-forma power purchase agreement, are available on SCE's website. SCE invites interested parties to submit inquiries and provide general information about possible bids in advance of the solicitation to facilitate preliminary transmission cost analysis. For more information.

  • The California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), a new $30 million public benefit investment fund created as part of the Pacific Gas and Electric’s bankruptcy settlement, is working with venture capital firms Nth Power, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and VantagePoint Venture Partners to make equity investments in clean energy companies, including renewables. CalCEF has allocated $8.5 million to each of the three funds for a total of $25.5 million. For more information.

  • On 4 April 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced an agreement between Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada to form a partnership to develop the "Frontier Line," an electric transmission line. The Frontier Line Project will be constructed through each state over the next five years and deliver up to 12,000 MWe of renewable and conventional energy. The agreement calls for half of the power transmitted over the new line to be from renewable energy sources. According to a detailed analysis conducted by the Rocky Mountain Area Transmission Study, the line's estimated annual benefit to mountain states in the West is $926 million to $1.7 billion. For more information.

  • San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) plans to file an application for a new 500 kV transmission line to run across San Diego county. Electricity generators argue that the high voltage line is needed to justify expanding geothermal and solar energy generation projects in Imperial County. The proposed line would begin north of El Centro, pass through East County, and follow Interstate 15 into Riverside County where it would connect to an existing high-voltage transmission network. The proposal to build a new high-voltage line across the county is included in the California Independent System Operator's Southwest Transmission Expansion Plan (STEP), with a target in-service date of 2011 (Source: "New electric transmission lines discussed" by Edmond Jacoby, North County Times, 15 March 2005).

  • In late March 2005, Pasadena Water and Power (PWP) partnered with municipal utilities in Anaheim, Banning, and Glendale to buy 20 MWe of geothermal energy for the next 25 years. The power will come from two new projects in Imperial County run by Ormat Technologies, Inc. The geothermal contract is expected to increase the cost of power to customers by about 0.4¢/kWh. Ormat is expected to begin pumping power to Pasadena within a few months. Currently, 100% of PWP's green power comes from wind sources (Source: "Pasadena power bills to reflect renewable-energy move" by Gene Maddaus, Pasadena Star, 30 March 2005).

  • Palo Alto-based Bar-Gadda, LLC has developed a new technology to produce hydrogen from water or geothermal steam which is economically competitive with fossil derived fuels such as oil or natural gas. The patent-pending technology employs Radiant Energy Transfer (RET) which uses the unique properties of water to efficiently split water to hydrogen and oxygen. Thermal efficiencies greater than 90% and hydrogen yields greater than 86% have been achieved. The cost of hydrogen using this technology varies from 35¢ to $1.25 per equivalent gallon of gasoline making it highly competitive to fossil fuel prices. For more information.

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For further information on geothermal activities in Colorado, contact:

Ed Lewis
Deputy Director, Management and Conservation
Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation
Tel: (303) 894-2383

No news.

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For further information on geothermal activities in Hawai'i, contact:

Priscilla C. Thompson
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
Energy, Resources, and Technology Division
Tel: (808) 586-2353

  • The first public information meeting on Geothermal Direct Use (GDU) was held on 21 April 2005 on the Big Island. Ray Carr, the Hawai'i County Energy Coordinator, opened the meeting with a brief description of GDU. He mentioned the two grants received from DOE to fund a study of the potential for GDU in the Kapoho area of lower Puna, and introduced members of the GDU Working group.

    Attendees were invited to discuss various aspects of the program with members of the GDU Working Group staffing four tables covering (1) Geology and hydrology of lower Puna, (2) Puna Geothermal Venture’s perspective of Direct Use, (3) Overview of Direct Use and potential applications, and (4) County permitting of geothermal and the Geothermal Asset and Geothermal Royalty Funds administered by Hawai'i County. For more information, contact Priscilla C. Thompson at Tel: (808) 586-2353, or email at

  • Renewable Hawai'i, Inc. (RHI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), is soliciting proposals for renewable energy projects through a second release of its Renewable Energy Request for Project Proposals (RE RFPP 2).

    Renewable Hawai'i is seeking opportunities for limited passive investment in qualified (>1 MWe), commercially viable, technically feasible renewable energy projects located on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, or the Big Island of Hawai'i. The objective is to proactively stimulate the development of cost-effective and operationally positive renewable energy generation in the State of Hawai'i.

    RHI will give a higher priority to projects which supply firm power. Eligible projects must be online by 31 December 2010.

    Project proposals are due 30 June 2005. For more information .

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For further information on the Idaho Geothermal Energy
Working Group, contact

Gerry Galinato
Energy Division,
Idaho Department of Water Resources
Tel: (208) 287-4897
  • The Idaho Geothermal Energy Working Group met on 14 April 2005 at the Idaho Water Center in Boise. A strong turnout of over 35 people showed that the level of interest for direct use and power generation using Idaho’s geothermal resources is still growing. Topics such as power generation in south-central and eastern Idaho, supplying geothermal heat to Boise State University, and the Federal Energy Bill were among many items that were discussed.

    A one-day event called "Geothermal Power Generation Workshop" was held in Boise on 13 April 2005. Over 50 people attended to hear a variety of technical presentations, discuss the accomplishments achieved recently in the geothermal power generation industry, and identify the barriers that currently hinder additional advances. The event was hosted by the Idaho Energy Division and the Idaho Geothermal Energy Working Group.

    For additional information about geothermal activities in Idaho, contact Ken Neely at or Dayna Ball at

  • Governor Dirk Kempthorne signed House Bill 110 into law on 12 April 2005. HB 110 provides sales and use tax exemptions for purchases of machinery and equipment used to generate at least 5 MWe using fuel cells, low impact hydro, wind, geothermal, cogeneration, sun, or landfill gas as the principal source of power. The exemption will be in effect until 1 July 2011.

    The governor also signed Senate Bill 1192, which amends existing law to authorize the Idaho Energy Resources Authority to undertake any renewable energy generation project for the benefit of one or more independent power producer and issue its bonds to finance their costs, on 6 April 2005. The 58th session of the Idaho Legislature adjourned on 6 April 2005.

  • On 7 April 2005, the Cassia County Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved U.S. Geothermal's (USGEO) application for a Conditional Use Permit for the Raft River Geothermal Power Project. The permit covers the first two plant sites planned for 20 MWe of power generation. In addition, Bonneville Power Administration Transmission Business Line (BPA-TBL) notified USGEO that the System Impact Study for 30 MWe of long term, firm transmission from the nearby Bridge substation at Raft River to the point-of-delivery at Minidoka substation is complete. USGEO requested a contract for the first 12 MW of transmission capacity for the Phase One power plant on 7 March; it is expected from BPA-TBL within the next 45-60 days. For more information.

    USGEO is evaluating the possibility of using an ammonia adsorption technology for power generation. If this, or another non-conventional method, is selected, the company will be able to use the $2.2 million grant for generating power using an innovative engineering approach received from DOE in January 2005.

  • Idaho Redclaw Farms, LLC, has moved their brood stock of fresh water lobsters into one of the large facility buildings on the USGEO Raft River site. Currently, the operation uses a small amount of geothermal water that is bled from one of the future power production wells to keep the stock warm and growing. In the future, heat is to be extracted from the water downstream of the power generation operation. Owner Neil Smeltzer is looking for investors to help him move forward with plans to go commercial with his specialized food product.

  • During the week of 14-18 March 2005, public information workshops were held in Boise, Twin Falls, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Salmon, Coeur d’Alene, and McCall to help participants better understand how they can apply for Farm Bill renewable energy grants. Geothermal, solar, and wind were presented as renewable energy options that qualify for grants in rural communities. About 200 people attended the seven meetings with the highest attendance being in Twin Falls.

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No news.

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For further information on geothermal activities in Montana, contact:

Kathi Montgomery
Air, Energy and Pollution Prevention Bureau
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Tel: (406) 841-5243

  • The Montana State Legislature sent two bills related to geothermal energy to Governor Brian Schweitzer for his signature. Senate Bill 415, the "Montana Renewable Power Production and Rural Economic Development Act," would require regulated utilities and competitive electricity suppliers to procure eligible renewables, including geothermal, for 5% of their retail sales by 2008, 10% by 2010, and 15% by 2015. Cooperative utilities would be exempt. SB 415 was sent to the governor on 22 April. SB 340 amends existing law to permit a person constructing a new residence who completes installation of a geothermal system to claim a tax credit of up to $1,500. SB 340 was transmitted to the governor on 18 April.

    The governor has signed other bills related to renewable energy including SB 365, which extends the current Universal System Benefits program through 2009; SB 50, which extends the state's alternative energy revolving loan program to local government, universities and nonprofits, increases the loan ceiling to $40,000, and extends the repayment term to 10 years; and SB 83, which extends the state's renewable resource grants and loans program to include renewable energy sources. He has not signed Senate Joint Resolution 17, a joint resolution of the Senate and House of Montana encouraging renewable energy development, and urging the U.S. Congress to support the Renewable Energy Production Incentive Program and Production Tax Credit Program. The Montana State Legislature's 2005 Regular Session ended on 21 April 2005.

  • Governor Schweitzer will convene an energy summit this September in Billings to bring in world-class specialists in various kinds of energy, e.g., coal, natural gas, wind, solar, hydrogen, tar sand, and others. In his inaugural address, the governor said, "The rest of the nation will find that we are the center of the energy for the future of this country. Our grand wind and our solar power, our rivers, not to mention our coal, our natural gas and our oil, and our ethanol. The future energy of the State of Montana is the future energy of this country" (Source: "Governor's summit would blaze energy trail" by Charles S. Johnson, The Billings Gazette, 6 January 2005).

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No news.

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For further information on geothermal activities in Nevada, contact:

Christy Morris
Program Manager - Oil, Gas, and Geothermal
Nevada Division of Minerals
Tel: (775) 684-7045

  • Sierra Pacific Power Co. has signed a 20-year contract to purchase geothermal power from Beowawe Power LLC in central Nevada. Operated by Caithness Operating Co., the Beowawe plant will supply Sierra Pacific 17.7 MWe starting 1 January 2006. In commercial operation since December 1985, the Beowawe Geothermal Plant is currently under contract to another utility. According to Roberto Denis, Senior Vice President of Generation and Energy Supply for Sierra Pacific, another 30 MWe of power from geothermal sources, up from the current 95 MWe, will be on line within the next year and a half (Source: "Sierra Pacific signs deal with Beowawe Power," Reno Gazette-Journal, 29 March 2005).

  • Ormat Nevada, Inc., a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, Inc., (NYSE:ORA), broke ground on 15 March 2005 on the first geothermal electric generating plant to be built at Steamboat since 1991. The Galena Geothermal Project will increase Steamboat's installed capacity to 44 MWe. Dan Schochet, Vice President of Ormat said, "This is the first project to begin construction since the Nevada Legislature passed laws requiring utilities to supply a portion of their power from renewable energy resources." The electricity produced at the plant is already under contract to Sierra Pacific Power Company. For more information.

  • Ormat Nevada, Inc. filed an application to construct a new geothermal power plant adjacent to the existing one at Desert Peak, near Brady’s Hot Springs. The facility will consist of two binary power plants of 15 and 11 MWe. Nevada Power Company will purchase the power. A Nevada Public Utilities Commission hearing on the application was held on 13 April 2005 (Source: Nevada Oil Reporter; March 2005).

  • In March 2005, Emtec Inc. sold its 5.49% working interest in the Roosevelt Hot Spring geothermal power unit to Energy Minerals Inc., a Nevada corporation, for $150,000 in cash. Said John Howlett, Emtec CEO, "These geothermal assets have comprised a relatively small amount of our overall business. This sale will permit us to focus 100 percent of our energies on our information technology business." For more information.

  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved the 20-MWe Salt Wells Geothermal Power Plant Project on 28 February 2005. Nevada Geothermal Specialists plans to drill the first production well this spring, and have the first of two 10-MWe plants online by the end of this year. Company officials said the second plant will likely be constructed a year or two later. The entire project will consist of up to four production wells, reaching down an average of 500 feet and drawing more than 2,000 gallons of hot water per minute, as well as injection wells. A nearly six-mile power line will be built to connect the new power plants to Sierra Pacific Power's electric grid (Source: "BLM approves Salt Wells geothermal power plants" by Cory McConnell, Lahontan Valley News, 1 March 2005).

  • In January, 2005, the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) issued a request for proposals for research covering geothermal resource exploration and assessment, reservoir management , and evaluation of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). Researchers from UNR and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) submitted 21 proposals. Proposals were externally peer reviewed, and awards announced to the investigators on 29 March 2005. Seven proposals were selected for funding; many others were worthy but not awarded due to limited funding. The selected proposals will be posted on the Center's website.

  • AMP Resources, LLC recently purchased the Salt Wells geothermal assets from Nevada Geothermal Specialists, LLC in Churchill County, Nevada. The Project Area is permitted for 6 production wells, 4 injection wells, and 10 observations wells. The proposed development includes construction of a geothermal power facility with two 10 MWe binary cycle power plants and a 230kV transmission line. Construction for the first plant will begin in 2005. AMP also purchased the existing Stillwater Power Plant in Churchill County, effective December 2004 (Source: Nevada Geothermal Update, January 2005). AMP Resources began drilling test wells in early April 2005.

  • Earth Power Resources received approval for a zoning change and conditional use permit from the Elko County Planning Commission for the Hot Sulphur Springs geothermal power project in Independence Valley, near Tuscarora, Elko County. Sierra Pacific awarded a power purchase contract to Earth Power for this project. Problems with permitting and cultural resources have caused delays (Source: Nevada Oil Reporter; March 2005).

  • The Elko BLM office noted public interest in a non-competitive lease sale for parcels in the area of Ruby Valley/Ruby Lake, Sulfur Hot Springs in Elko County. BLM stated that the analysis is on hold "pending completion of [the Environmental Assessment] EA on the district-wide geothermal leasing program, scheduled for release by spring 2005" (Source: Nevada Oil Reporter; March 2005).

  • The following information is provided courtesy of the Nevada Oil Reporter. For more information on BLM leases in Nevada, see the website: (Source: Nevada Geothermal Update, January, February 2005).

    Non-Competitive Geothermal BLM Lease Applications, Pending:
    Barrick Goldstrike Mines
    Tuscarora Mts, Eureka County (2)
    Vulcan Power Co.
    Near Salt Wells, Churchill Co. (7)
    Miller, Dusty LLC
    Near Wedell Springs, Gabbs
    Valley, Mineral County (2)
    Near Black Warrior Peak
    Washoe County (1)
    Recent Geothermal BLM Leases Issued:
    Competitive Sale Geothermal Lease Applications Dropped:

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New Mexico

For further information on the New Mexico Geothermal Energy
Working Group, contact

Brian K. Johnson
Geothermal Program Manager
Minerals and Natural Resources Department
New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources
Tel: (505) 476-3313

  • The New Mexico Geothermal Energy Working Group (NMGEWG) will meet on 10-11 May 2005 at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. The annual meeting will include a Geothermal Agribusiness Workshop, Geothermal Heat Pump meeting, Geothermal Direct Use and Power Generation meeting, and a Geothermal Direct Use Tour. For more information: Agenda - 10 May 2005, Agenda - 11 May 2005. Please RSVP by email to Joy Pugh, .

  • On 7 April 2005, GeoProducts of New Mexico filed suit in U.S. District Court to force the Valles Caldera National Preserve Trust to let the company use wells it considers integral to its plan to develop the geothermal energy source. GeoProducts asserts that it can use about 30 geothermal wells drilled over the past three decades to access its share of the mineral rights below the federal preserve.

    The Valles Caldera Trust contends that those facilities, abandoned by Unocal years ago, have reverted to the surface estate and belong to the trust. GeoProducts holds the lease on about 12.5% of the mineral rights beneath the caldera. Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced legislation to resolve the conflict late last year that was approved by the Senate but never went to a vote in the House (Source: "Caldera Case Now in Fed Court" by Adam Rankin, Albuquerque Journal, 8 April 2005).

  • Governor Bill Richardson signed House Bill 32, the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Bonding Act, on 5 April 2005. HB 32 establishes up to $20 million in bonds to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in public buildings. Projects financed with the bonds will be paid back to the bonding authority using the savings on energy bills. The bonds will be applied to state buildings and school district buildings, and the projects will include most energy efficiency measures and any type of renewable energy system, as well as energy recovery and combined heat and power systems. The bill—the first state-level measure of its kind in the nation—follows the lead of a similar bonding authority established in San Francisco, California, in 2001 (Source: "New Mexico Bills to Encourage Efficiency and Renewable Energy," EERE Network News, 13 April 2005).

  • Sandia National Laboratories researchers Joe Henfling, Randy Normann, and David Chavira have developed sensors that can be placed in hotter and higher-pressure underground environments than previous instruments, allowing geologists to make more precise measurements of subterranean conditions before and after large earthquakes occur. The researchers hope that the new sensors will provide geologists with a better understanding of earthquake-related phenomena and possibly provide more sensitive measurements of warning signs for large earthquakes such as the devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake that took place near Sumatra on 26 December 2004.

    At New Mexico Tech in Socorro, geophysicist Harold Tobin is also considering a deeper and hotter regime for the placement of Sandia's geothermal tools. "We are still in the planning stages, but in about a year and a half we are going to start a big drilling project to bore into a tectonic feature similar to the one where the Sumatra earthquake occurred," says Tobin. The site is off the coast of Japan in the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone where some of the largest earthquakes have occurred.

    According to Normann, the secret to Sandia's success in designing robust high-temperature tools is in part a material called Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI), which isolates the transistors from one another and greatly reduces thermally generated current leaks that occur on normal silicon-designed components. For more information.

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North Dakota

No news.

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  • According to the Oklahoma Wind Power Assessment Committee's Interim Report No. 1 submitted to the Oklahoma State Legislature on 5 April 2005, wind, biomass and hydro are "viable renewable energy options" for the state. The report found that "There is little potential for hydrothermal resource development in Oklahoma. Heat pumps are effective in Oklahoma, however, as they are in most parts of the US. Because of its limited potential in Oklahoma, except in the area of heat pumps, which already has a well developed infrastructure in the State, the Committee decided not to pursue further investigation of the geothermal power generation resource."

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For further information on geothermal activities in Oregon, contact:

Carel C. DeWinkel
Conservation Division,
Oregon Department of Energy
Tel: (503) 378-6099

  • The Oregon Geothermal Energy Working Group, GPW, and the Geothermal Resources Council are sponsoring a Geothermal Power Generation Workshop on 11 May 2005 in Salem. The Geothermal Workshop is designed for electric utility resource personnel and focuses on the key benefits and risks of including geothermal power in a utility's resource portfolio. Pre-registration is required. Contact: Guy Nelson, (541) 994-4670, or email at Agenda.

  • On 13 April 2005, Governor Ted Kulongoski announced five new initiatives to curb global warming in Oregon as part of a regional strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Northwest. One of the five initiatives calls for launching an aggressive campaign to increase renewable energy pursuant to the state's Renewable Energy Action Plan. The initiatives are based on the recommendations of The Governor’s Advisory Group on Global Warming, which developed a report called the Oregon Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions. The Governor also announced his continued commitment to work with his fellow governors in the broader West Coast Governors Global Warming Initiative. For more information.

  • The Oregon Department of Energy released its final Renewable Energy Action Plan on 12 April 2005. The final plan calls for 20 MW or more of geothermal electric generation to be in development by the end of 2006. It also calls for establishing a fund to collect information on the geochemistry of wells and springs, and make those data publicly available, to assist the geothermal industry, state and federal agencies and research institutions in geothermal resource target evaluation in Oregon, In addition, it calls for a Renewable Energy Working Group to consider working with the federal government and others to provide a forgivable loan or grant program for drilling exploratory holes.

  • The 73rd Oregon Legislative Assembly began its 2005 Regular Session on 10 January 2005. The session will last approximately six months. The following bills related to geothermal energy have been introduced to date:

    • Senate Bill 84 Directs the Oregon Public Utility Commission to extend net metering requirements for generators producing more than 25 kW if they're customers of a public utility.

    • SB 346 – Allows propagation, cultivation, maintenance, and harvesting of aquatic species for uses other than food or game in exclusive farm use zones.

    • SB 834 Establishes the Community Renewable Energy Project Fund, authorizing the issuance of up to $1 million in lottery bonds to finance it. Entities eligible for the state's current small-scale local energy project loans may also apply to the Project Fund. The bill also directs the Oregon Department of Energy to establish a program to fund feasibility studies for small-scale local and community renewable energy projects.

    • House Bill 3040 – Creates the Renewable Energy Resources Account to continuously appropriate moneys in account to State Department of Energy to fund development of renewable energy resources.

    • HB 3328 Requires the Oregon Department of Energy to prepare a plan for submission to the 74th Legislative Assembly for making state-owned or state-funded buildings and school district buildings more energy efficient and installing renewable energy systems. Directs the department to encourage public bodies to apply for funding to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Requires contractors and subcontractors working on certain energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to utilize apprenticeship programs and develop relationships with apprenticeship preparation programs.

    • HB 3455 – Expands business energy tax credit to include renewable energy
      equipment manufacturing facilities. Applies energy tax credit changes to tax years beginning on or after 1 January 2006.

    For the current status of each bill.

  • Thanks to SB 1149, effective 1 March 2002, and the Oregon Department of Energy's Business Energy Tax Credit Pass-through Option, Henley High School in Klamath Falls was able to convert its boiler to use geothermal energy for heating. The Klamath Falls School District used SB 1149 funds to pay for part of the $96,000 project, installing a separate geothermal heat exchanger for the domestic hot water system, two high efficiency domestic water heaters, and high efficiency water circulation pumps and direct digital control system to monitor performance and maximize the use of the geothermal resource to heat the facility.

    Project costs were further reduced when Nike, Inc. agreed to be the school’s partner. The energy project was eligible for a Business Energy Tax Credit from the Oregon Department of Energy. A private business or individual can partner with a school (or other public entity, non-profit organization, or business) and accept the 35% tax credit eligibility for energy projects in exchange for a 25.5% cash payment. Nike provided the school district $24,528 for the project.

    Completed in May 2004, the Henley High project saves an estimated 40,000 therms of natural gas annually or approximately $32,400 per year. As gas prices rise, the savings will also increase. For more information.

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South Dakota

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For further information on geothermal activities in Texas, contact:

David Blackwell
Southern Methodist University
Tel: (214) 768-2745

Maria Richards
Southern Methodist University
Tel: (214) 768-2749

  • The Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab website now includes a contact form for those interested in being on the Texas network and mailing list. Currently there are over 250 names on the list. The website has also been updated with an annotated list of links for state, national, and international geothermal websites. Please let Maria Richards know of websites links to include on the list.

  • On 29 March 2005, David Blackwell, Maria Richards, Steven Bergman, and Tom Brikowski met with Pam Groce, and Russell Smith at the University of Texas-Dallas. Russell Smith, Executive Director of Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association, has worked in the renewable energy field in Texas for over 25 years, and is a wealth of information about Texas for the new GPW Texas working group. Pam Groce is the State of Texas SECO Renewable Energy Program Coordinator working with the GPW Texas program. The discussion covered the history of geothermal in Texas, renewable energy resources successes, and target audiences for geothermal outreach and networking.

  • David Blackwell, Maria Richards, and Steven Bergman attended the Global Energy Partnering Conference presented by the Maguire Energy Institute in Dallas on 4 March 2005. The meeting discussed the future of oil and gas resources, and potential new resources that are up and coming, primarily fusion. Leaders in oil and gas and government representatives were primary attendees of the meeting. Some of the highlighted speakers were U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison; U.S. Congressman Joe Barton; Guy Caruso, Energy Information Administration (EIA); John Walker, Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America; Victor Carrillo, Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, and Dr. Harrison Schmitt, University of Wisconsin College of Engineering.

  • Texas is expected to meet its 2009 Renewable Portfolio Standard of 2,000 MWe three years early. Developers have added 1,190 MWe since the law was passed; projects adding 486 MWe are either under construction or have been officially announced. Transmission agreements have been finalized for another 720 MWe. Developers are expected to push hard to get new projects online by 31 December 2005 when federal renewable energy tax incentives end. Renewable energy in Texas comes from several sources, including wind, landfill gas, hydro, biomass, and solar. Wind power currently accounts for 96% of renewable generating capacity added since 1999. For more information.

  • The Texas Renewable Energy Trade Association has recommended that the Texas legislature adopt a goal of 10,000 MWe of renewable energy generation by 2015, with 500 MWe of that to come from smaller-scale distributed renewable energy. But infrastructure and transmission issues limit the amount of renewable electricity that can feasibly be added to the Texas grid (Source: "US Renewable Energy Options Spreading Nationally," Commodities Now Online, 31 March 2005).

  • Texas Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay proposed legislation on 16 February 2005 to increase the amount of energy provided by renewable resources in Texas. SB 533 would increase the state's reliance on sources of renewable energy, such as wind, hydroelectric, and solar power over the next 20 years. The bill follows the recommendations made by the Texas Energy Planning Council, a 22-member panel that has studied the feasibility of renewable resource energy production in the state. The council recommends that the state generate 5,000 MWe of renewable energy by 2015, and 10,000 MWe by 2025. For more information.

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For further information on the Utah Geothermal Working Group, contact:

Bob Blackett
Senior Geologist, Utah Geological Survey
Tel: (435) 865-8139

  • A series of free workshops is being held 11-13 May 2005 in various cities across the state to help attendees learn how to apply for USDA funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The workshops in Moab, Richfield, and Salt Lake City will explain the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grant Program, present project case studies of successful 2004 Farm Bill Awards, review the specifics of Section 9006, and answer project-specific questions. There will be breakout sessions for geothermal at the Richfield and Salt Lake workshops. For more information.

  • Willowstick Technologies LLC, located in Draper, has developed a patented geophysical technology, known as AquaTrack™ that efficiently maps, tracks, and monitors subsurface water, and is particularly effective in mapping geothermal water resources. The non-invasive technique can accurately delineate areas of high and low water concentrations as well as the preferential flow paths of the water within the subsurface. It is very cost effective compared to traditional geophysical technologies used for locating groundwater. For more information.

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For further information on geothermal activities in Washington, contact:

Gordon Bloomquist
Geothermal, Hydrothermal and Integrated Energy Systems
Washington State University
Tel: (360) 956-2016

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For further information on geothermal activities in Wyoming, contact:

Ed Werner
Business Development Director,
Converse Area New Development Organization
Tel: (307) 358-2000

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The Geothermal newsletter is produced for the U.S. Department of Energy, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Geothermal Technologies Program under Contract No. DE-FG03-01SF22365. Neither the U.S. Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the U.S. Government or any agency thereof.

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