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spacerAugust 2005, Issue No. 18

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GRC Annual MeetingRegister Today!

President Bush signs long-awaited Energy Bill

Don't miss the Geothermal Resources Council 2005 Annual Meeting & Geothermal Energy Association Trade Show!
Eleven western states have up to 25,000 MW of untapped geothermal power generation potential
Geothermal Calendar of Events
Current Solicitations
National News
State Roundup

Alaska
American Samoa
Arizona
California
Colorado
Hawai'i
Idaho

Oregon
South Dakota
Texas
Utah
Washington
Wyoming


President Bush signs long-awaited Energy Bill

On 8 August 2005, President Bush signed the long-awaited Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R. 6) in a ceremony at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The president remarked, "The bill extends tax credits for wind, biomass, landfill gas and other renewable electricity sources. The bill offers new incentives to promote clean, renewable geothermal energy."

"This new energy bill will revolutionize geothermal energy use in the U.S.," stated Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA). "It will encourage new geothermal power plants helping to ease the West' power crisis, and stimulate new geothermal direct use projects that will help communities and business grow while reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels."

The 1,725-page, $14.6-billion bill contains several provisions regarding geothermal energy and its development.

Production Tax Credit

The Energy Bill includes geothermal energy in the Section 45 Production Tax Credit (PTC) for the full 1.9¢/kWh credit amount, and increases the credit period from 5 to 10 years. New power plants must be placed in service by 1 January 2008 to qualify for the PTC.

John Rishel Geothermal Steam Act Amendments of 2005

The John Rishel Geothermal Steam Act Amendments of 2005 are the first major overhaul of the Geothermal Steam Act since 1970.

According to Gawell, "the bill streamlines some of the most bureaucratic aspects of the law, provides clear direction for the agencies to make geothermal a priority, gives local governments more funding to mitigate impacts, and ensures that the federal agencies will have the resources needed to implement the new law and quickly work-off a 30-year backlog of unfinished studies and ignored lease applications. The GEA has produced a summary of the Energy Bill's new geothermal leasing provisions.

Highlights:

  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must hold competitive lease sales at least every two years.
  • BLM may lease multiple leases as a block if information indicates they could be produced as a unit.
  • The Department of the Interior (DOI) shall establish a schedule of fees in lieu of royalty for direct use applications.
  • State, tribal or local governments shall be charged only a nominal fee for use of the resources.
  • New leases shall provide for a royalty between 1% to 2.5% of gross proceeds from the sale of electricity during the first ten years, and between 2% and 5% thereafter.
  • Royalties will be shared 25% for the Federal government, 50% for the state, and 25% for the county in which the producing lease is located.
  • The Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture shall submit a memorandum of understanding to Congress within 180 days which sets forth administrative procedures for lease processing, a five-year program for leasing on National Forest lands, and a program to reduce the backlog of lease applications by 90% within five years.
  • The Secretary of Interior acting through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is directed to update the 1978 Geothermal Resource Assessment and submit it to Congress within three years.
  • Subject to the availability of appropriations, an Intermountain West Geothermal Consortium will be established through the Idaho National Laboratory and managed by Boise State University.

Research and Resource Assessment

The Energy Bill includes provisions directing the Department of Energy’s (DOE) future geothermal energy research efforts to work towards several important goals, and to conduct a near-term assessment of resource potential for all renewable technologies, including geothermal, publishing annual reports.

Clean Energy Bonds

Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) are created to provide incentives for building qualified energy projects to cooperatives, other not-for-profit electric companies, and Indian Tribal governments. CREBs are issued by qualified issuers if, in addition to other requirements, 95% of proceeds are used to finance capital expenditures incurred for facilities qualifying for tax credit under Section 45. The provision is effective for bonds issued after 31 December 2005 and before 31 December 2007, and is limited to a total of $800 million.

National renewable portfolio standard

While a national renewable portfolio standard was dropped in conference, the act requires the Federal Government to buy at least 7.5% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2013.

Hydraulic Fracturing

The Energy Bill amends the Safe Drinking Water Act's (42 U.S.C. 300h(d)) definition of "underground injection" to exclude "the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuel) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities."

For more information on these and other legislative issues related to geothermal development, see the GEA Update.

The Washington State University Extension Energy Library has developed a document with links to the full text of and current information about the new federal energy legislation. The webpage will be updated as new information becomes available.

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Don't miss the Geothermal Resources Council 2005 Annual Meeting & Geothermal Energy Association Trade Show!

Join hundreds of your peers from the global geothermal community at the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) 2005 Annual Meeting 25-29 September at the Reno Hilton Nevada Conference Center in Reno, Nevada.

This year's theme is "Geothermal Energy: The World’s Buried Treasure." With its expansive Technical Program, the GRC 2005 Annual Meeting will also provide a unique opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their projects, equipment, supplies and services at the GEA Trade Show.

The GRC 2005 Annual Meeting will feature distinguished Keynote Speakers at its Opening Session, as well as Technical and Poster sessions covering a broad range of timely geothermal resource exploration, characterization, development, and utilization topics. This year's event will also offer Technical Workshops; Field Trips to nearby geothermal areas and projects; the GRC Annual Banquet; Membership Meeting and Awards Luncheon; and the GRC Annual Golf Tournament.

Introduction to Geothermal Energy

In addition, the Annual Meeting will once again include a free "Introduction to Geothermal Energy" workshop presented by the Geothermal Education Office on 27 September. Sponsored by ORMAT Technologies, Inc. and DOE’s GeoPowering the West (GPW) Program, the non-technical program will feature slide presentations by seasoned geothermal speakers covering geology, exploration, drilling, generation of electricity, and direct-use technologies.

Also on 27 September will be the first meeting of the Utility Geothermal Working Group (UGWP). If you are a utility representative attending the conference, please email Randy Manion or Guy Nelson for the Tuesday morning meeting location and time.

The 2005 Annual GPW State Working Group Meeting will follow the GRC Annual Meeting on 28-29 September. The invitation-only meeting is for existing state GPW leaders, states which are interested in forming geothermal working groups, state energy offices and natural resource divisions, and GPW partner organizations.

For more information on the GRC Annual Meeting.

For more information on the GEA Trade Show.

For more information on the free "Introduction to Geothermal Energy" workshop.

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Eleven western states have up to 25,000 MW of untapped geothermal power generation potential

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has compiled data on the western United States' untapped geothermal power potential. Extracted from public reports and studies, the data show almost 100 undeveloped geothermal power sites with a total production potential approaching 25,000 MW of electrical generating capacity—enough to meet more than 70% of California's electricity needs. The data demonstrate significant geothermal potential from identified but undeveloped hydrothermal sites in 11 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai'i, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

GEA assembled the estimates for the Western Governors' Association's (WGA) ongoing assessment of the ability of geothermal and other clean energy resources to meet the substantial growth projected in the region's electric power demand. The estimates exclude substantial undiscovered geothermal resources which are expected to exist.

The data will be available on the GEA website, and may also be obtained in spread sheet format by emailing GEA at research@geo-energy.org.

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National News
  • According to DOE Secretary Sam Bodman, alternative energy sources show great promise in reducing the U.S. dependency on foreign oil. "Critics say renewables will never amount to more than a small percentage of our energy mix. I have served in this job for six months now and I am not sure if that's true," Bodman told the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. Reducing dependency on foreign oil is critical in order to secure economic and national security, Bodman said (Source: GEA Update, 27 July 2005).

  • Howard Gruenspecht, Deputy Administrator, Energy Information Administration (EIA), in a hearing on the Section 45 PTC on 24 May 2005, said that new geothermal plants in 2010 will have the second lowest average levelized generation costs after pulverized coal plants—4.4¢/kWh compared to 4.3¢/kWh. In comparison, natural gas combined-cycle is 4.7¢/kWh; wind is 4.8¢/kWh; nuclear is 6.0¢/kWh; and solar thermal is 12.6¢/kWh. Despite their low levelized costs, however, Gruenspecht said that more geothermal plants are not built because there are only a few sites with costs as attractive as those cited, and they tend to be located in remote areas in the far western region of the country. Once those low cost sites are developed, he said, the remaining sites are much more expensive. For more information.

  • DOE will soon begin accepting Phase I grant applications from qualified small businesses for the FY 2006 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. A detailed Funding Opportunity Announcement (Opportunity Number DE-FG01-05ER05-28) describing research areas in which applications are sought—which includes Renewable Energy Sources—will be available 21 September 2005, at http://e-center.doe.gov. Small businesses with strong research capabilities in science or engineering in any of the research areas sought are encouraged to apply. The deadline for submission of grant applications is 2 December 2005. For more information.

  • The Geothermal-biz.com website launched a new Geothermal Leasing webpage in July 2005. The first step in any geothermal development—be it for direct use or power generation—is to gain access to the land on which the resource is located, either through ownership or leasing. The Geothermal Leasing webpage presents a brief introduction to geothermal leasing on federal and state land in the 19 GPW states as well as links to useful publications. Geothermal-biz.com is produced for DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program.

    • To develop a site for power generation or direct use, geothermal developers must be concerned with many state-level policies and regulations. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has issued a new report, "Geothermal Energy State Policy Options," which discusses these issues. Written by M. Brown, R. Gordon, Bloomquist, and J. DeCesaro, the report is available for purchase from NCSL's online Bookstore.
    NCSL report

  • Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has several State Geothermal Resource Maps and Temperature at Depth Maps for the Continental United States available for download in PDF, JPG, E00, and Metadata formats. The Temperature at Depth Maps, produced by the INL Geothermal Technologies Program with data current as of 12 April 2005 from the Southern Methodist University Geothermal Laboratory, show estimated temperatures in degrees centigrade at various depths. For more information.

  • Abstracts are sought for a geothermal session at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting scheduled for 5-9 December 2005 in San Francisco, California. Chaired by Stephen L Karner of the Idaho National Laboratory and Nicholas C Davatzes of USGS, the session entitled "Geothermal Systems: Fantastic natural laboratories and valuable energy resource," (T21) will focus on the coupled chemo-thermo-hydro-mechanical processes associated with deformation and fluid flow at the scale of individual geothermal systems. Abstracts must be submitted by 8 September 2005.

  • In mid-July 2005, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a proposed set of regulatory changes that would enable the agency to recover more of its costs in processing documents related to mineral operations on public lands (19 July 2005 Federal Register). “Our proposal is aimed at setting fair fees so our agency can recover reasonable costs resulting from the processing of minerals-related permit applications,” said Thomas Lonnie, BLM Assistant Director for Minerals, Realty and Resource Protection. The new regulations would apply to geothermal permits to drill (GPDs) and geophysical exploration permits, which currently have no fees. First-year fees would be $1,600 for GPDs and $500 for geophysical exploration permits. Subsequent year fees would increase by $500 until the full fee of $3,500 for GPDs and $2,500 for geophysical exploration permits is reached. The 30-day public comment period closed on 18 August 2005. For more information.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on 15 July 2005 $11.4 million to guarantee loans to farmers, ranchers, and small rural businesses for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects under the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program. The USDA estimates that the funds could guarantee up to $200 million in loans. Eligible renewable energy projects are those that produce energy or hydrogen from biomass, geothermal, solar, or wind energy sources. The loans can cover up to 50% of project costs, range from $5,000 to $10 million, and extend up to 20 years. Any funds not obligated under the guarantee loan program by 31 August 2005 will be reallocated to the competitive grant program. Guidelines were published in the Federal Register on 18 July 2005 For more information.

  • The USDA is holding a series of public Farm Bill Forums across the country to obtain input from America's farmers, ranchers, and rural residents on the development of the 2007 Farm Bill. USDA is assessing the performance of current programs, including the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program . Comments must be submitted by 30 December 2005. For more information.

  • On 1 July 2005, KLD Research & Analytics, Inc. an independent investment research and index provider, launched the KLD Global Climate 100 SM Index, the first global index focused on solutions to climate change. The Global Climate 100 Index is made up of companies that KLD expects will provide near-term solutions to global warming while offsetting the longer-term impacts of climate change through renewable energy, alternative fuels, clean technology and efficiency. Geothermal developer, Ormat Technologies, Inc., is one of the Index's 100 publicly traded companies. For more information.

  • Version 3 of the Ground-Source Heat Pump Project Model is now available. The free RETScreen Ground-Source Heat Pump Project software can be used to easily evaluate the energy production or savings, life-cycle costs, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction for the heating and cooling of residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings. The model can be used to evaluate both retrofit and new construction projects using horizontal and vertical closed-loop ground-coupled or groundwater heat pumps. The software was developed by the RETScreen International Clean Energy Decision Support Centre which seeks to build the capacity of planners, decision-makers and industry to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. For more information.

  • According to an annual poll conducted by the Yale Center of Environmental Law and Policy's Environmental Attitudes and Behavior (EAB) Project, 93% of Americans want government to develop new energy technologies. The Yale University research survey of 1,000 adults nationwide shows that Americans overwhelmingly believe that the United States is too dependent on imported oil. Eighty-six percent (86%) want increased funding for renewable energy research. The survey found broad support for a new emphasis on finding alternative energy sources across all regions of the country and in every demographic group. For more information.

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State Roundup

Alaska

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
Email: BSmith@aidea.org

No news.

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American Samoa

No news.

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Arizona

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

Amanda Ormond
The Ormond Group
Tel: (480) 491-3305
Email: asormond@msn.com

  • The Arizona Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG) met for the first time on 14 July 2005. Created by executive order by Governor Janet Napolitano in February 2005, the CCAG’s objectives are to establish a baseline inventory and forecast of greenhouse gas emissions in Arizona, and produce an action plan with recommendations for reducing those emissions. The CCAG is composed of stakeholders from various sectors—electric power generation, fossil fuel industry, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, forestry, construction and building, tourism and recreation, heath care, non-governmental organizations, Indian tribes, state and local government, and the general public. The next CCAG meeting is scheduled for 29 September 2005 in Tempe.

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California

For further information on geothermal activities in California, contact:

Elaine Sison-Lebrilla
Geothermal Program Manager
California Energy Commission

Tel: (916) 654-5129
Email: esisonle@energy.state.ca.us

  • The California Energy Commission's (CEC) Geothermal Program has up to $3.9 million available from the Geothermal Resources Development Account (GRDA) to fund projects related to geothermal development, planning, or mitigation. Both grants and loans are available; there are no predetermined limits on the project funding requests. A match contribution is required and will be scored as one of the evaluation criteria. Mandatory pre-applications were due 30 August 2005; final applications are due 31 October 2005. For more information.

  • Through the Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) Program (Solicitation 05-02), the CEC is offering grant funding to projects that determine the feasibility of energy research and development connected to the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program. The PIER Program works to provide benefit to California electric ratepayers by funding energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects that are not adequately provided for by competitive and regulated energy markets. Up to $75,000 is available per grant project. While not required, cost sharing is encouraged and considered in the evaluation process. Proposed research must be relevant to California’s electric market. Grant applications are due 30 September 2005. For more information.

  • The CEC has issued a new consumer education fact sheet on geothermal electricity.

  • The Salton Sea area could annually produce up to 2,000 MW of geothermal power, the equivalent of 10 nuclear power plants according to Vince Signorotti, vice president of CalEnergy Corporation. Despite this, the Energy Bill's extension of the PTC is needed for CalEnergy to move forward with plans to build the 215-MW Salton Sea Unit 6 geothermal power plant. The company has a signed long-term electricity sales contract with Imperial Irrigation District. Rosa Maria Gonzales of IID Energy said the fact that geothermal energy doesn't produce much air pollution is important, especially in the Imperial Valley, which has notoriously dirty air (Source: "Local geothermal region could have power of 10 nuclear plants" by Doug Abrahms and Benjamin Spillman, The Desert Sun, 2 August 2005).

  • Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is seeking 700,000 to 1,400,000 MWh per year of Eligible Renewable Resources, including geothermal. PG&E is seeking Agreements with a delivery term of 10 to 20 years beginning in 2006 or later. Participants offering RPS eligible resources may also propose to develop, permit, and construct a new RPS eligible renewable generating facility (preferably small hydro and central station solar technologies) for purchase by PG&E upon commercial operation of the facility. Offers are due 15 September 2005. For more information.

  • On 15 August 2005, Encore Clean Energy, Inc. and ThermaSource, Inc. signed a Letter of Intent to form a new joint geothermal energy development company to design, build, own, and operate "micro-geothermal" renewable energy generating ventures in California. The venture plans to utilize Encore's proprietary MPG™ heat-to-electricity conversion technology currently under development. As the new venture's first planned project, an Encore MPG™ unit will be custom-engineered and tested on a well in The Geysers geothermal field.

  • Throughout early August, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held scoping meetings in El Centro, San Diego, Long Beach, and Anaheim. The purpose of the meetings was to gather public comments regarding preparation of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the proposed leasing of approximately 16,640 acres of BLM-managed public lands for geothermal exploration and development in the Truckhaven and Superstition Mountain areas located in Western Imperial County. BLM has received 11 geothermal lease applications for public lands within the Truckhaven and Superstition Mountains area in western Imperial County.

    The principal issues identified for consideration in the EIS include Native American concerns, cumulative impacts considering existing, proposed, and potential geothermal projects in the area; potential impacts on cultural resources, potential effects on wildlife, potential land use conflicts including recreation; potential visual impacts, and potential impacts on surface water and groundwater resources. The EIS also will address issues such as geology, geothermal resources, vegetation, threatened or endangered species, air quality, noise, transportation, human health and safety, and socioeconomic's as well as any issues raised during the scoping process.

    For more information contact John Dalton, BLM Truckhaven and Superstition Mountain Geothermal Leasing Coordinator, at (951) 697-5311 or by email at John_Dalton@ca.blm.gov.

  • The California Department of Conservation presented Outstanding Field Lease and Facility Maintenance Awards to two geothermal operators. The awards recognize lease maintenance efforts that enhance safety and environmental protection above and beyond what is required. For the fourth consecutive year, Geysers Power Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Calpine Corporation, was recognized for its leases in The Geysers Geothermal field. For the sixth consecutive year, Mammoth Pacific, LP, a partnership between Constellation Power and Ormat, was recognized for its leases in the Casa Diablo Geothermal field.

  • Litigation delaying Calpine Corporation's geothermal energy project at Glass Mountain near Medicine Lake in Siskiyou County should be resolved by the end of this year, said Calpine Corporation vice president Rick Thomas in a meeting with the Siskiyou County Supervisors on 9 August 2005. Calpine continues to do field work at the two Glass Mountain sites, and looks for full operation in 2006. Under the new Energy Bill, Siskiyou County will receive 45% of the royalties from the projects (Source: "Calpine's geothermal projects move forward," Siskiyou Daily News, 18 August 2005).

  • The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a 20-year contract between Southern California Edison (SCE) and Vulcan Power Company on 30 June 2005. Under the contract, Vulcan Power will initially supply 30 MW to SCE from a geothermal facility in western Nevada. The potential of the site is estimated at 120 MW. The geothermal contract was one of six new long-term contracts approved between SCE and renewable energy projects. For more information.

  • The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) Board of Directors joined the California Solar Energy Industries Association, Independent Energy Producers, and others in opposing a ballot initiative which seeks to re-regulate California utilities. Known as The Repeal of Electricity Deregulation and Blackout Prevention Act," Proposition 80 would repeal key provisions of Assembly Bill 1890 which deregulated the state's electricity market, restore authority to regulate rates to the CPUC, and require that 20% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2010. The California Supreme Court restored the energy initiative to the 8 November 2005 Special Statewide Election Ballot on 27 July. For more information.

  • On 4 August 2005, Santa Monica-based Global Green USA released "Healthier, Wealthier and Wiser: Global Green USA’s Green School Report" describing "green" educational facilities' many financial, health, academic, and environmental benefits. The report outlines green schools' numerous advantages including: (1) Improved learning - Students progressed 20%-26% faster in classrooms with most daylight; (2) Increased Attendance - Better indoor air quality leads to fewer absences from illness; (3) Lower Operating Costs - Districts can save 20%-40% on utility costs for new schools; and (4) Reduced Energy Dependence - With on-site solar power, schools can further reduce their electricity costs and reduce dependence on the energy grid.

  • According to a Preliminary Stakeholder Evaluation of the California Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) prepared for the CEC, regulatory delays have slowed the RPS's implementation. In addition, important elements of the state's policy remain unresolved, such as the application of the RPS to energy service providers and community choice aggregators. The report highlights areas of policy improvement that stakeholders believe are necessary for the state to achieve its aggressive commitment to renewable energy. Recommendations to improve the implementation process include adding RPS-dedicated staff at the CPUC and CEC, and increasing the CPUC's focus and leadership on the RPS. The June 2005 report (CEC-300-2005-011) was prepared by the KEMA-XENERGY Team.

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Colorado

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
Email: ed.lewis@state.co.us

  • The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is holding several hearings on proposed rules to implement the state's new renewable energy standards. Amendment 37 requires Colorado's largest utilities to obtain 10% of their power from renewable sources by 2015. Utility firms Xcel Energy and Aquila Inc. are seeking minimal regulation and maximum flexibility in complying with Amendment 37's mandates while renewable-energy advocates and environmental advocates prefer specific requirements for implementation. For more information.

  • The city of Aspen has launched the Global Warming Alliance, instituting a "fee" on new homes and renovation projects that exceed local energy standards. Homeowners can either pay the fee, which goes into a city fund for renewable energy projects, or offset their excess global warming pollution by investing in their own renewable energy system. Almost two-thirds of Aspen’s energy is renewable, 38% is generated locally. For more information.

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Hawai'i

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
Email: PThompso@dbedt.hawaii.gov

  • Ormat Technologies, Inc. subsidiary, Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV), has completed the well clean-out procedure of new production well, Well KS-6. The clean-out procedure, which is part of normal geothermal drilling operations, is necessary to remove drilling debris from the well-bore before the new well can be put into production. Actual drilling of Well KS-6 began at the end of June; the target depth of approximately 6,500 feet was reached on 12 August 2005. Initial findings indicate that Well KS-6 will support the 30 MW sustainable production of the plant. Drilling the final well under PGV's current program will begin shortly with final completion slated for mid-November. For more information.

  • The USDA Forest Service Forest Legacy Program (FLP) may purchase the 25,000-acre Wao Kele 'o Puna forest for $3.4 million. FLP encourages the protection of privately owned forest lands. Currently owned by Campbell Estate, Wao Kele 'o Puna was at the center of protests in the late 1980s plans to develop the site's geothermal resources to generate electricity. The tract is one of the last large intact lowland forests in Hawai'i, according to the Trust for Public Land, which is helping to coordinate the acquisition (Source: "25,000 acres on Big Isle set for preservation," The Honolulu Advertiser, 3 August 2005).

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Idaho

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

Gerry Galinato
Energy Division,
Idaho Department of Water Resources
Tel: (208) 287-4897
Email: Gerry.Galinato@idwr.idaho.gov
  • U.S. Geothermal Inc. made the final payment on the 560-acre property on 9 August 2005, becoming sole holder of surface and geothermal energy rights and associated physical assets of the Raft River geothermal project. Earlier in the month, the company announced that it and Ormat will negotiate an engineering, procurement and construction agreement for the fixed price, turnkey supply, and construction of a 13 MW power plant. U.S. Geothermal is in discussions with CH2M Hill to assume responsibility for all other aspects of the project.

    Since the 13-MW plant will use organic rankine cycle power generation technology, rather than ammonia adsorption, U.S. Geothermal will be unable to accept a $2.2-million grant from DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program. It was determined that the advanced ammonia adsorption technology would not result in the anticipated increased efficiency and reduced capital cost.

  • The Idaho Department of Water Resources Energy Division is sponsoring a Geothermal Heat Pump Systems Seminar on 13-14 September 2005 in Boise. Taught by Andrew Chaisson of the Oregon Institute of Technology's Geo-Heat Center, the free seminar will address heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; closed- and open-loop systems; renewable energy screening software; and case studies. Space is limited. Please register by 7 September 2005. For more information, contact: Dayna Ball at Tel: (208) 287- 4891, or email at Dayna.Ball@idwr.idaho.gov.

    • Governor Dirk Kempthorne has proclaimed the week of 12 September 2005 "Alternative Energy Week" in Boise. Many events are scheduled on alternative fuels and renewable energy, including geothermal.
    Alternative Energy Festival logo

    The second annual Alternative Energy Festival at the Discovery Center Idaho will feature booths and exhibits of renewable energy resources including an exhibit on the state's geothermal resources set-up by the Idaho Energy Division.


    • The 2005 Idaho National Laboratory Science and Engineering Expo on 22-24 September in Idaho Falls, will spotlight the "World Year of Physics."

    The Idaho Department of Water Resources’ hydrology section and Energy Division, and the Idaho Water Resource Research Institute will have a geothermal energy resources display at the expo.
    INL Science and Engineering Expo logo

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Kansas

No news.

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Montana

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
Email: kmontgomery@state.mt.us

No news.

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Nebraska

No news.

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Nevada

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
Email:clmorris@govmail.state.nv.us

  • Effective 29 August 2005, Rebecca Wagner became Governor Kenny Guinn's energy advisor and director of Nevada's Office of Energy. Wagner has been at the Public Utilities Commission as a Public Information Officer since December 2003, and was Public Relations Manager for Ormat for the previous seven years. Her predecessor is Richard "Dick" Burdette, Jr. who passed away suddenly on 27 April 2005. For more information.

  • Under the new royalty terms of the Geothermal Steam Act Amendments of 2005, Churchill County will receive about $1.5 million a year, a "big deal" for a small county like Churchill, said County Commissioner Norman Frey. Under the new law, the county will receive 25% of geothermal royalties. Churchill County is home to at least six geothermal plants (Source: "Energy bill change helps counties with geothermal wells" by Doug Abrahms, Reno Gazette-Journal, 30 July 2005).

  • The Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy (GBCGE) was active in three geothermal meetings in July 2005. On 21-22 July, the Nevada Southwest Energy Program (NSWEP) held its peer review at the recently completed University of Reno, Redfield campus—the only college campus in the world completely powered by geothermal energy. Approximately 40 people participated in the introduction of the NSWEP-supported Renewable Energy Center at Redfield, and the subsequent project reviews.

    On 25 July, the GBCGE organized and co-hosted a workshop with the GEA. Approximately 25 individuals participated in the Power Supply Curve Workshop at the University of Nevada, Reno. Using participant input, GEA staff prepared a power supply curve for presentation to the Western Governor’s Association in early August.

    On 26-28 July, the GBCGE hosted the DOE Exploration peer review at which 21 projects conducted by universities, national laboratories and the USGS were presented and reviewed.

  • The Nevada Division of Minerals publishes the Nevada Geothermal Update with support from the DOE GPW Program. The update is an excellent synopsis of Nevadan geothermal projects, as well as state and national news relevant to geothermal development. For more information and past issues.

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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
Email: bkjohnson@state.nm.us

  • The New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) is in the final stages of establishing a contract with McNeil Technologies, Inc. to manage a DOE Geothermal Development Education and Outreach project. A kickoff meeting was held by the project team—McNeil, Washington State University, Witcher and Associates, and EMNRD—in late August in Albuquerque. The $126,000-project includes feasibility studies of geothermal district heating and cooling (DHC) systems for areas in Las Cruces and Albuquerque, as well as workshops and meetings with local government officials to promote the concept to include geothermal DHC infrastructure with planned residential and commercial land development.

    EMNRD is also involved in several other exciting geothermal outreach projects, at various stages of progress, with major support from DOE including the New Mexico Geothermal Information Clearinghouse, New Mexico Geothermal Strategic Planning,
    New Mexico Geothermal Direct-Use Development, New Mexico Ground-Source Heat Pump Case Studies, and New Mexico Geothermal District Heating and Cooling.

For more information, contact Brian Johnson, EMNRD Geothermal Energy Program Manager, at (505) 476-3313, or brian.k.johnson@state.nm.us.

  • Houston, Texas-based Power Tube, Inc. is looking at locations near Roswell to locate a permanent test facility which could employ 300 to 350 people. Power Tube, Inc. has developed Argus, a tube-like device that uses the heat of the earth to create energy. The company has been working with Albuquerque-based engineering and manufacturing firm Team Specialty Products for the past five years to solve some of Argus' technical issues and help with prototype assembly. It estimates that $10 million in additional investment is needed for final development of a commercial model (Source: "Power Tube plant could generate 300 New Mexico jobs" by Clay Holtzman, New Mexico Business Weekly, 11 July 2005).

  • The U.S. Senate approved legislation to acquire the remaining mineral rights at the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Authored by Senator Pete Domenici and cosponsored by Senator Jeff Bingaman, the Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2005 (S.212) would require USDA to negotiate a price for buying the Valles Caldera Preserve's remaining mineral interests. The bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health on 1 August 2005.

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North Dakota

No news.

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Oklahoma


Oregon

For further information on geothermal activities in Oregon, contact:

Carel C. DeWinkel
Conservation Division,
Oregon Department of Energy
Tel: (503) 378-6099
Email: carel.dewinkel@state.or.us

  • On 9 August 2005, Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. (NGP) announced the acquisition of geothermal leases for 6,500 acres of private land covering the "Crump Geyser" and an extensive hot spring system in southern Oregon.

    A 1,680-foot well drilled by Magma Power company at Crump Geyser in 1959 spontaneously erupted a few days after it was abandoned. The well flowed 500 gallons/minute of boiling water 200 feet into the air continuously for six months before reverting to a spectacular geyser erupting at regular intervals. The well was plugged in the 1960s; boiling water still bubbles to the surface.

    Geothermal assessments by DOE and BLM have ranked the Crump Geyser Known Geothermal Resource Area as highly favorable for power generation development. Geothermometry has indicated source water temperatures of 185°C; resource potential is estimated at 85 MW. For more information.

  • The Oregon Department of Energy has expanded its Small-Scale Energy Loan Program (SELP) to include projects outside of the state. The program offers low-interest loans to projects that produce energy from renewable resources including geothermal. Loans are available to individuals, businesses, schools, cities, counties, special districts, state and federal agencies, public corporations, cooperatives, tribes, and nonprofit organizations. In June 2005, Senate Bill 735 expanded the program to allow projects proposed by intergovernmental entities and projects outside of Oregon as long as they provide substantial benefits within Oregon.

  • The Oregon Public Utility Commission has established state requirements for purchase of renewable power generated by qualified community-sized projects. The ruling establishes standard power contracts for projects up to 10 MW and provides for contracts up to 20 years. Supporters said the ruling will help establish the power market necessary to allow for growth in new business development in rural Oregon through clean energy projects (Source: Harvesting Clean Energy eNews Bulletin - June/July 2005).

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South Dakota

No news.

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Texas

For further information on geothermal activities in Texas, contact:

David Blackwell
Southern Methodist University
Tel: (214) 768-2745
Email: blackwel@smu.edu


Maria Richards
Southern Methodist University
Tel: (214) 768-2749
Email: mrichard@smu.edu

  • On 1 August 2005, Governor Rick Perry signed a bill to increase the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard. Senate Bill 20, passed during the First Called Session, gives Texas the second-highest renewable energy standard in the nation. It boosts the total installed renewable capacity to 5,880 MW by 2015, and 10,000 MW by 2025. The bill also requires that 500 MW be produced by renewable sources other than wind, and directs the Public Utility Commission to identify competitive renewable zones that would be used to facilitate the construction of transmission infrastructure and promote the development of other renewable energy resources. The new law, which does not specifically mention geothermal, is effective 1 September 2005.

  • On 8 September 2005, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Center for Energy and Economic Diversification (UTPB/CEED) will host a meeting for oil and gas (O&G) service companies that operate in the Permian Basin of West Texas. Planned speakers include the geothermal team at CEED, Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab, SECO, and West Texas-based start-up geothermal companies that are targeting their technologies for deep sedimentary targets in the region. For more information, contact Dr. Richard Erdlac, UTPB/CEED, at Tel: (432) 552-2442, or email at: erdlac_r@utpb.edu.

  • The first Texas Geothermal Working Group meeting will be held on 7 November 2005 at the Ellison Miles Geotechnical Institute, Brookhaven College in Dallas. The meeting will include an overview of Texas geothermal, what currently is known and future potential, and detailed round-table discussions about specific aspects of geothermal related to business, legislation, research, networking, etc. For more information, contact Maria Richards at Tel: (214) 768-2749, or email at: mrichard@smu.edu.

  • Maria Richards will represent the SMU Geothermal Lab and the Texas Geothermal Working Group at the Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair in Fredericksburg on 23-25 September 2005. If you have Texas Geothermal materials that you would like Maria to hand out, please contact her. And do stop by and introduce yourself if you attend the event!

  • The Texas Geothermal Survey of Interest found an impressive amount of geothermal expertise in Texas. The majority of respondents have worked in the field for over 10 years; some for over 25 years. Texans have traveled around the world doing geothermal exploration, working with geothermal power plants, and installing heat pump. Please download the survey and send it in if you are interested in Texas geothermal energy.

  • A $40,000-grant between UTPB/CEED and the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) was finalized with a start date of 15 August 2005. The funds will provide SECO with information about West Texas geothermal energy potential and help in dissemination of this information to both the public and industry.

  • An article titled "Geothermal Electric Power Possible from Mid-continent and Gulf Coast Hydrocarbon Fields" by Jason McKenna and David Blackwell will appear in the September issue of Oil and Gas Journal. The article discusses geothermal development using existing processed water to generate geothermal reservoirs capable of sustained electrical power production from hydrocarbon fields. From the current processed water and known temperatures, it is estimated that the seven Gulf States have approximately 1,000 to 5,000 MW of potential geothermal power.

  • The Geothermal Map of North America, 2004 was chosen for inclusion in ESRI’s 2005 Map Book, Volume 20. The ESRI Map Book acknowledges the important and innovative accomplishments of GIS users around the world. The map is available through the AAPG as item number 423.

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Utah

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

Bob Blackett
Senior Geologist, Utah Geological Survey
Tel: (435) 865-8139
Email: robertblackett@utah.gov

  • GPW held its fourth Geothermal Power Generation Workshop in Salt Lake City on 17 August 2005. The 55 attendees learned about geothermal power generation technologies and the steps necessary to get a geothermal project developed and on line, and became more familiar with power purchase agreement terms and conditions. They also were able to understand the difference between the cost and value of having geothermal in a utility resource portfolio, including comparison with other resource options, price stability, risk mitigation, distribution benefits, portfolio diversity, green tags, tradable offsets, fuel price projections, and customer and public acceptance.


    Daniel Schochet of ORMAT International, Inc.
    talks to the utility representatives.


  • A natural progression of GPW's many successful utility outreach efforts, including the recent four workshops, includes the launching of the Utility Geothermal Working Group (UGWP). The UGWP will promote the development of cost effective and reliable geothermal power generation in the western U.S. Its secondary objectives include promoting direct use and ground source heat pump applications. The first UGWG meeting will take place at the GRC 2005 Annual Meeting in Reno on 27 September 2005. If you are a utility representative attending the conference, please email Randy Manion or Guy Nelson for the Tuesday morning meeting location and time.

  • "Geothermal Technologies Program: Utah" is a fact sheet published by the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in June 2005. The two-page fact sheet describes current and proposed geothermal projects in the state, the history of using hot springs beginning with Native American tribes, and GPW.

  • Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., has appointed a new Energy Advisor for the state, Dr. Laura S. Nelson. As Energy Director, Dr. Nelson will assist in the development of public policy of energy for the State of Utah and work closely with the newly formed Governor’s Energy Advisory Council. Dr. Nelson received her Bachelor’s Degree and Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Currently, she is a Policy Strategist with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. She has also held positions as Utility Regulation Consultant with LSN Consulting in Idaho; Technical Consultant with the Utah Division of Public Utilities, and Utility Economist with the Utah Committee of Consumer Service.

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Washington

For further information on geothermal activities in Washington, contact:

Gordon Bloomquist
Geothermal, Hydrothermal and Integrated Energy Systems
Washington State University
Tel: (360) 956-2016
Email: bloomquistr@energy.wsu.edu

No news.

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Wyoming

For further information on geothermal activities in Wyoming, contact:

Ed Werner
Business Development Director,
Converse Area New Development Organization
Tel: (307) 358-2000
Email: ewerner@candowyoming.com

  • On 11-12 September 2005, the Converse Area New Development Organization (CANDO), DOE, and the Wyoming Business Council are presenting a Renewable Energy Conference for Wyoming. This year's program will be even more down to earth with a planned emphasis on installed projects. Attendees will hear from folks that have already moved ahead of the herd and installed systems of their own. The agenda will cover everything from large scale commercial wind farms to off-grid wind and solar energy installations. There will also be presentations on geothermal and biomass applications. Vendors and manufacturers are encouraged to attend and demonstrate their products. For more information.

The Geothermal biz.com 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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