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spacerAugust 2006, Issue No. 24

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Geothermal missing from new
Department of Energy Strategic Plan

Comments due 7 September 2006

Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman has released
for comment a draft Department of Energy Strategic Plan.

The Energy Department's mission is:
"Discovering the solutions to power and secure America's future."

Yet, while biomass, wind, and solar energy are mentioned in the plan,
geothermal is not.

Public comments on the draft plan are due 7 September 2006.

To submit comments

Or send an email to StrategicPlan@hq.doe.gov.

GRC 2006 Annual Meeting
GPW logo
Geothermal Energy Association

10-13 September 2006
Town & Country Resort
San Diego, CA

12 September 2006
Town & Country Resort
San Diego, CA

Geothermal Energy Association
2006 Trade Show


10-13 September 2006
Town & Country Resort
San Diego, CA.
Federal Update
BLM and MMS issue new regs to promote geothermal on federal lands
Geothermal Resources Council names new head
Meet the Intermountain West Geothermal Consortium

Geothermal Calendar of Events

Current Solicitations
National News
State Roundup

Alaska
Arizona
California
Colorado
Hawai'i
Idaho

Oregon
South Dakota
Texas
Utah
Washington
Wyoming


Capitol Building
Federal Update
  • Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman has released for comment a draft Department of Energy Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan is DOE's "roadmap to address the energy, environmental, and nuclear security challenges before us." DOE's mission is: Discovering the solutions to power and secure America's future. Yet, while biomass, wind, and solar energy are mentioned in the plan, geothermal is not. Public comments on the draft strategic plan are due 7 September 2006. To submit comments, or send an email to StrategicPlan@hq.doe.gov.

  • The House Resources Task Force on Updating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) presented its final report, to Representative Cathy McMorris, Task Force Chairwoman, on 31 July 2006. "Recommendations to Improve and Update the National Environmental Policy Act," contains 20 recommendations divided into nine groups . The report concludes that "Ultimately, legislation should be prepared and introduced that will facilitate implementation of the recommendations presented in this report. Taking concrete actions are necessary to ensure NEPA continues to be a viable tool for informed federal decisionmaking."

  • At a standing-room only hearing on 11 July 2006 of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on the implementation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) on geothermal energy and other renewable energy production on Federal lands in the Western states, Interior Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett testified that the Department of the Interior (DOI) is working to increase wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass energy production on federal lands. Geothermal industry experts, however, criticized the Bush administration for zeroing out the Geothermal Technologies Program in the FY 2007 budget.

    On behalf of industry, Paul Thomsen of ORMAT Nevada noted that it is too early to assess the impact of the EPACT on the geothermal Industry because: (1) only one operating 20 MWe project has qualified to date for the PTC; (2) the new regulations to implement the Rishell Amendment to the steam act are still currently being drafted, and (3) the DOE Geothermal Research Program funding for FY07 has been zeroed out by the administrations current 2007 budget.

    Jim Wells of the Government Accounting Office (GAO) presented testimony summarizing the results of a recent GAO report, "Renewable Energy: Increased Geothermal Development Will Depend on Overcoming Many Challenges" (GAO-06-629). Wells said that, while the EPAct addresses a wide variety of challenges facing developers of geothermal resources, it is too early to judge its effectiveness.

    For more information.

For more information on federal and legislative issues, subscribe to the GEA Update published by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA).

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BLM and MMS issue new regs to promote geothermal on federal lands

In response to the EPAct, two agencies of the Interior Department published for comment on 21 July 2006 new proposed rules to encourage geothermal energy development on public lands:

BLM's proposed rule would require competitive leasing for geothermal resources on nearly all federal lands designated for this type of development. If no bids are received, resources would be offered non-competitively for two-year periods.

The proposed MMS regulations simplify the royalty calculations for electrical generation by basing them on a percentage of gross proceeds from the sale of electricity. They also establish a fee schedule (in lieu of royalties) for the direct use of geothermal resources.

The two sets of proposed rules were written in response to the EPAct which mandated comprehensive changes to leasing and royalty policies to encourage geothermal energy use without imposing additional administrative burdens on industry or government agencies.

BLM and MMS held a joint public meeting on the proposed rules on 31 August 2006 in Reno, Nevada.

Comments are requested by 19 September 2006.

For more information.

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Geothermal Resources Council names new head

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) announced the selection of Curt Robinson Ph.D. as the organization's new executive director. He replaces Ted Clutter who resigned in July 2006 after almost 10 years as GRC head.

Robinson has over 25 years of experience in communications, public outreach, government relations, program and resource development, and finance and administration management.

Prior to joining GRC, he served as Executive Director for the California State University East Bay Foundation; Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Manager of Information Technology, Manager of Promotional Communications, and Assistant Editor for the campus newspaper and technical publications at the University of California-Davis. He also worked at the California Department of Water Resources.

Robinson has a B.A. (with honors) in History, an M.A. in Geography, and a Ph.D. in Geography.

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Meet the Intermountain West Geothermal Consortium

The Intermountain West Geothermal Consortium (IWGC) was created by the EPAct 2005 to help expand geothermal electricity generation and direct-heating use. Composed of six institutions from four states, the IWGC's mission is to support national energy security through research into and development of under-utilized geothermal resources by conducting several activities:

  • Technology transfer, education, and outreach;
  • Research projects (Snake River Plain, Utah Cove Fort, and Walker Lane-Central Nevada);
  • Management, meetings, and workshops;
  • Competitive grant program;
  • Data synthesis and availability; and
  • Core and sample repository.

IWGC member-organizations include the Idaho National Laboratory, the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute at the University of Idaho, the Geo-Heat Center at Oregon Institute of Technology, the Desert Research Institute (Nevada), the Energy and Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah, and Boise State University.

 

For more information:

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National News
  • 11 September 2006 - The Utility Geothermal Working Group (UGWG) is hosting a lunch meeting in conjunction with the GRC Annual Meeting. Bill Carnahan, Southern California Public Power Authority; John Federowicz, Imperial Irrigation District (IID); and a representative from San Diego Gas and Electric will talk about transmission projects and resource portfolio plans related to geothermal power generation. To register, contact Debbie Rock, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), at Tel: (720) 962-7271 or Arockd@wapa.gov. For a list of other events

  • 12 September 2006 - The annual All States GeoPowering the West (GPW) Working Group Meeting will take place in during the GRC Annual Meeting. The meeting will feature updates on the status of geothermal developments at the state levels, and discuss possible funding opportunities and GPW's future direction. For more information.

    GPW has supported 17 Geothermal Direct Use technical assistance projects in FY06 through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Task Order Agreement process. The projects were selected using criteria including fossil fuel offset potential, novel application, duplicability, rural or local economic development, and geographic coverage, and are supported by the GPW State Working Groups.

  • 10-12 October 2006 - The Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DOE will co-host a national renewable energy conference in St. Louis, Missouri to help create the partnerships and strategies necessary to accelerate the commercialization of renewable energy industries and distribution systems. The conference, "Advancing Renewable Energy: An American Rural Renaissance," will focus on biomass, wind, and solar technologies. Geothermal is not on the program.

  • 6 December 2006 - The UGWG is holding a Geothermal Power Generation Webinar from 9:00-11:00 a.m. PST. Geothermal energy can be converted to power generation through several kinds of technologies. Electric cooperatives and public power utilities can learn about these technologies, what temperatures are required, where the resources are located, and how they can tap into this abundant baseload renewable resource. To register, contact Debbie Rock, WAPA, at Tel: (720) 962-7271 or Arockd@wapa.gov. For a list of other events.

  • On 15 August 2006 in Houston, Texas, the American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA) presented the results of DOE's work on advanced drilling technologies since the issuance of the National Research Council's 1994 report, "Drilling and Excavation Technologies for the Future." The technologies covered included diagnostics while drilling, drill bit technology, well cements and linings, and high-temperature electronics for drilling. Presentations on research to date were followed by discussion of challenges and project opportunities in the short-, medium-, and long-terms.

  • Paul Dickerson J.D., CPA, joined DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) as Chief Operating Officer (COO) on 15 August 2006. As COO, Dickerson is responsible for day-to-day operational oversight and management of the Office of the Assistant Secretary and for directing the implementation of the EERE’s priorities, policies, program development and execution, and strategic planning. Prior to joining the DOE, Dickerson served as Chief of Staff for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service at the Department of Commerce, and as a corporate attorney in the Houston office of Haynes and Boone, LLP. For more information.

  • On 8 August 2006, DOE issued its first solicitation under the new Loan Guarantee Program authorized by Title XVII of the EPAct of 2005: the "Federal Loan Guarantees for Projects that Employ Innovative Technologies in Support of the Advanced Energy Initiative" (Solicitation Number: DE-PS01-06LG00001). Eligible projects are those which avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases; and employ new or significantly improved technologies. Energy Secretary Bodman has said that DOE wants to fund a diversity of projects; 10 projects is a ballpark estimate for the number under the initial $2-billion round. Geothermal projects are not eligible.

  • According to Jeff Tester, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Laboratory for Energy and the Environment (LFEE), new oil-field stimulation technology can result in the production of much greater amounts of "universal geothermal" energy which could be located near areas of demand such as cities. Tester states that geothermal could supply 100 million exojoules (current global use is about 400 exojoules per year).

    Tester describes geothermal's distinct differences. It is scalable in baseload, does not require auxiliary storage or backup system (like solar or wind), and has a typical availability factor of 90% or better compared to about 30% for wind. In addition, generating electricity from geothermal energy produces virtually no carbon dioxide.

    Tester predicts that universal heat mining will require an investment of 10 or 15 years of investment. "Once it gets in place, though, it can be replicated. I think it's very reproducible and expandable." (Source: "Abundant Power from Universal Geothermal Energy—An MIT chemical engineer explains why new technologies could finally make "heat mining" practical nearly anywhere on earth" by Kevin Bullis, Technology Review, 1 August 2006).

  • Jon Wellinghoff, well known in the geothermal community and former Board Member of U.S. Geothermal, Inc., was sworn in as new commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on 31 July 2006 by U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). Wellinghoff, an attorney, was Nevada’s first Consumer Advocate and served as staff counsel to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. In addition to Wellinghoff, Philip Moeller and Marc Spitzer were also confirmed as new FERC commissioners.

    On 20 July 2006, FERC granted a request to include certain contract boilerplate language in the standard interconnection study agreement documents in the small generator (up to 20 MWe) interconnection procedures after concluding that the inclusion of these provisions will benefit both generators and transmission providers. For more information.

  • On 20 July 2006, Representatives Steve Israel (D-NY) and Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) announced the formation of the Defense Energy Working Group alongside former Central Intelligence Agency Director R. James Woolsey. Founded on the premise that the military's dependence on energy is a national security vulnerability, the Defense Energy Working Group will be a bipartisan study group of House members that will identify challenges associated with this dependence and recommend logistical and policy solutions. For more information.

  • DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program held an Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS) Program Review and planning workshop on 18-19 July 2006 in Golden, Colorado. The objective was to assess the status of the EGS program, identify gaps, and plan a path forward. EGS researchers presented their results to date and plans for future work. Breakout group discussions covered short-term goals and approaches to overcoming near-term barriers to progress. The presentations from the meeting are available for download.

  • According to a report issued by Resources for the Future (RFF), efforts to site renewable energy projects have provoked as much, if not more, opposition than conventional energy projects. Because renewable energy resources are often located in sensitive and isolated environments, siting is especially difficult. "Siting Renewable Energy Facilities: A Spatial Analysis of Promises and Pitfalls" by RFF fellow Shalini P. Vajjhala examines the spatial relationships between four types of renewable energy resources—wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass—and an empirical measure of state-level transmission-line siting difficulty.

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State Roundup

Alaska

For further information on geothermal in Alaska, contact:

David Lockard
Alaska Energy Authority
Tel: (907) 269-4541
Email: DLockard@aidea.org

  • Alaska's first geothermal power plant was unveiled at Chena Hot Springs Resort during the 2006 Alaska Geothermal Conference and Renewable Energy Fair, 20-22 August in Chena. Governor Frank Murkowski cut the ribbon to officially dedicate the geothermal plant designed by United Technologies Corporation (UTC). The 2006 Alaska Geothermal Conference was supported by the Alaska Energy Authority and the DOE GPW program.

    Called the "Chena Chiller," the 400-kW geothermal power plant generates electricity from 162.5°F water—the lowest temperature used anywhere in the world to produce power.

    The geothermal plant will save the resort $365,000 a year in diesel fuel costs, and cut electricity costs from 30¢/kWh to 5-7¢/kWh.

    Chena Chiller Geothermal Power Plant The 400-kW Chena Chiller began generating electricity at Chena Hot Springs Resort in July 2006. (Photo: Chena Hot Springs Resort)

    The total cost of the project, including onsite infrastructure, is $5 million, with 25% coming from DOE, 25% from UTC, and the remainder from Chena Hot Springs Resort and the Alaska Energy Authority. The Pure Cycle (TM) organic rankine device was initially developed in partnership with the DOE Distributed Energy program to convert waste heat and liquid streams to power to increase system efficiency of distributed generation devices.  

    The resort will get a second 200-kW geothermal plant in September, and a 1-MWe plant when it is developed. UTC is spending millions of dollars to develop the plant but is charging the resort only $250,000, the target price for future plants.

    Chena Hot Springs is being developed as a sustainable community with commitments to renewable energy, energy independence, self-sufficiency, and environmental stewardship. All buildings at Chena are linked by a geothermal district-heating system.

    In testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on 11 July 2006, Bernie Karl, owner of Chena Hot Springs Resort, testified that "if every producing oil and gas well in Texas alone used this technology, the same power generation technology being tested right now at Chena Hot Springs in Alaska, we could generate 5,000 MWe of power from this renewable geothermal resource."

    Related stories:

    "Chena Hot Springs Resort helps create innovative geothermal project to fuel its energy needs" by Stefan Milkowski, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 23 July 2006.

    "Chena Hot Springs nearly weaned off diesel," Anchorage Daily News, 23 August 2006.

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Arizona

For further information on geothermal in Arizona, contact:

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

  • 6-8 September 2006 - The Second International Conference and Road-mapping Workshop on Mineral Extraction from Geothermal Brines will take place in Tucson. The conference is sponsored by the World Bank, Russian Geothermal Society, DOE, and the International Geothermal Association.

  • A group of renewable energy technology stakeholders and the regulated utilities are designing a "Uniform Credit Purchase Program" to create uniform incentives among utilities for a variety of renewable energy technologies including geothermal energy. The program will be presented to staff at the public utility commission later this month. A hearing to adopt the program is expected by the end of the year.

    The design process to offer financial incentives for geothermal technologies is almost complete. According to Amanda Ormond, Arizona Geothermal Work Group manager, "We are excited about the prospect of providing state financial incentives for electricity production and direct use applications. Arizona has tremendous direct use potential that should be stimulated by creation of an incentive program." The incentive program will be complimented by an increase in the portfolio standard which is expected to pass later this fall.

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California

For further information on geothermal in California, contact:

Elaine Sison-Lebrilla
Geothermal Program Manager
California Energy Commission

Tel: (916) 653-0363
Email: esisonle@energy.state.ca.us

  • 24 October 2006 - The California Geothermal Energy Collaborative (CGEC) will sponsor the Geothermal Transmission Workshop at the University of California-Davis Alumni Center in Davis. The workshop will address transmission issues that impact the development of small- and large-scale geothermal power generation. For more information.

  • On 31 August 2006, the California State Assembly passed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (A.B. 32). The historic bill establishes the country's first statewide cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It requires the Air Resources Board (ARB) to adopt by 1 January 2008 regulations requiring GHG emission sources to monitor and report their emissions, as well as a statewide emissions limit on GHG emissions. The bill goes to Governor Schwarzenegger who has indicated he will sign it.

  • On 22 August 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger signed S.B. 1294 into law. Introduced by Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny (D-San Diego), the legislation conditionally exempts, from hazardous waste management regulation by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) wastes generated from the exploration, development, or production of geothermal energy that are contained within equipment or surface impoundments associated with the geothermal plant. Senator Ducheny contends that potentially hazardous components contained in the steam derived from underground geothermal resources are appropriately regulated by the regional water quality control board with jurisdiction over the water re-injection activities of particular geothermal plants. According to the Geothermal Energy Association, the bill will allow the continued operation and new expansion of geothermal resources in Imperial County.

  • According to a study by California State University at Chico, Siskiyou County would receive nearly $1 million a year in property taxes and royalty fees if geothermal power plants are built at both Telephone Flat and Fourmile Hill. Each power plant would directly employ about 24 people. Calpine Corporation, which has spent over $40 million since 1976 on the two sites, declared Chapter 11 restructuring bankruptcy in December 2005. While development of the sites is stimulated by rising energy prices and the state's renewable portfolio standard, Calpine officials state that there is no timetable for development (Source: "Geothermal dream still has steam" by Lee Juillerat, Herald and News, 3 August 2006).

  • On 3 August 2006, the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) Board of Governors unanimously approved the Sunrise/Greenpath Powerlink transmission line proposed jointly by San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), IID, and Citizens Energy. The proposed $1.265-billion, 150-mile line will bring 1,000 MWe of solar, geothermal, and wind power from the Imperial Valley to the San Diego region by 2010. Cal-ISO has concluded that the line's benefits would exceed its cost by over $1.2 billion. SDG&E has filed its amended project application with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). A final ruling is expected by the end of 2007.  

  • On 28 July 2006, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced that it has entered into contracts with Iceland America Energy (IAE) Truckhaven I, LLC and Northwest Geothermal Company to purchase up to a total of 169 MWe of geothermal energy.

    The Truckhaven I contract for 49 MWe is the first phase of two in the Truckhaven geothermal area which is believed to support 150 MWe. IAE plans to start drilling in early 2007, and deliver power beginning in mid-2010. IAE Truckhaven I, LLC is an affiliate of Enex hf.(Enex). Enex is a conglomerate of the Icelandic energy sector, owned by a group of Icelandic companies and organizations. IAE oversees Enex's development activities in North America.

    Northwest Geothermal Company, a joint venture of Davenport Power LLC and Vulcan Power Company, is developing the 60-MWe phase one of the 120-MWe Newberry Geothermal Project at Newberry Volcano near Bend, Oregon.

    The two geothermal contracts are the fourth and fifth resulting from PG&E's 2005 solicitation. PG&E issued its 2006 renewables request for offers on 30 June 2006; bids are due 8 September 2006.

  • The Lake County Board of Supervisors considered disposing Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine water in the Geysers effluent pipeline at their 11 July 2006 meeting. For several years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been investigating disposal alternatives for discharging mercury mine water as part of the Superfund site cleanup. The Southeast Geysers effluent pipeline's Joint Oversight Committee (JOC), composed of Lake County Sanitation (LACOSAN), the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA), and Calpine state the pipeline was not constructed to handle such discharge. The JOC proposed that the mine water be discharged into the Sulphur Bank Geothermal Area instead (Source: "EPA offers Superfund waste proposal" by Terre Logsdon, Record-Bee, 7 July 2006).

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Colorado

For further information on geothermal in Colorado, contact:

Angela Crooks
Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation
Tel: (303) 866-2309
Email: angela.crooks@state.co.us

  • In July 2006, geothermal-biz.com released a brief report summarizing how geothermal development contributes to Colorado. Prepared with support from DOE's GPW, "The Economic, Environmental, and Social Benefits of Geothermal Use in Colorado" finds that geothermal businesses create an estimated 3,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs in Colorado, many in rural areas. They also pay local, state, and federal taxes.

    If the geothermal spas, resort, pools, and communities had to use electricity to generate the heat that geothermal water naturally contains, not only would most shut down, but they would also emit at least 161,041 tons of carbon dioxide each year—the equivalent of 339,753 barrels of oil. In addition, they would emit 270 tons of nitrogen oxides and 286 tons of sulfur dioxides each year into Colorado’s air.

    According to a 1995 Colorado Geological Survey Low-Temperature Geothermal Assessment, 93 areas of concentrated geothermal energy in Colorado could
    provide hot water and heat for 100,000 homes.

    Colorado may have the potential to generate electricity from high temperature geothermal resources, particularly in the Arkansas River and San Luis Valleys in the western part of the state.

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Hawai'i

For further information on geothermal 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

No news.

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Idaho

For further information on geothermal in Idaho, contact:

Gerry Galinato
Energy Division,
Idaho Department of Water Resources
Tel: (208) 287-4897
Email: Gerry.Galinato@idwr.idaho.gov
  • U.S. Geothermal Inc. broke ground on the first geothermal power plant in the Pacific Northwest at Raft River, east of Rupert on 29 July 2006. Production from the plant, located at the site of the world’s first experimental binary geothermal power plant constructed and operated by DOE from 1974 to 1982, is expected to start in 2007. U.S. Geothermal has a 20-year agreement to sell power to Idaho Power Co., and has signed a 10-year, $4.6-million deal to sell its excess renewable-energy credits to Holy Cross Energy, a Colorado cooperative electric association. U.S. Geothermal believes that the Raft River site could ultimately generate up to 90 MWe of electricity.

    U.S. Geothermal, Inc. logo

    For the year ending 31 March 2006, U.S. Geothermal reported a net loss of $1.52 million, as the company worked to complete agreements for financing of its capital projects and launch construction at Raft River. The company expects to begin revenue generation in the third quarter of 2007. Five institutional investors have each acquired a significant stake in U.S. Geothermal Inc.

    U.S. Geothermal completed $34 million in project financing for Phase 1 of its Raft River project on 10 August 2006. Raft River Holdings I LLC will contribute $34 million in cash and U.S. Geothermal will contribute $5 million in cash and approximately $1.5 million in property to Raft River Energy I LLC, the Phase 1 project joint venture company. The total Phase 1 remaining construction and development costs are expected to be $39 million for the installation of a binary cycle geothermal power project capable of producing 13 MWe of power.

    For more information on U.S. Geothermal, Inc.

  • House Concurrent Resolution No. 62, adopted by the Second Regular Session of the 58th Idaho Legislature, calls for the Legislative Council Interim Committee on Energy, Environment, and Technology to develop an integrated state energy plan. San Francisco consulting firm Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3) has been hired to help develop the plan. The Interim Committee's subcommittee on Generation Involving Renewables and Conventional Energy Resources met on 10 August 2006; geothermal energy generation was one of the options discussed.

  • The Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) Energy Division conducted a wide range of geothermal activities in July and August including:

    • Participating in the conference planning call on 18 July 2006 for the annual Harvesting Clean Energy conference in January 2007 in Boise. The IDWR is an active partner in the planning process and has agreed to chair the geothermal session during the conference.

    • Completing the final draft of the Valley County Geothermal Energy Strategic Plan and submitting it to the Geothermal Steering Committee for review and approval.

    • Coordinating preliminary plans for several geothermal outreach events or workshops to be conducted in the fall, assuming the Intermountain West Geothermal Consortium’s proposal is accepted. The target audience will be small businesses that are interested in commercial uses of geothermal resources.

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Kansas

No news.

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Montana

For further information on geothermal in Montana, contact:

Kathi Montgomery
Air, Energy and Pollution Prevention Bureau
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Tel: (406) 841-5243
Email: kmontgomery@mt.gov

  • The next meeting of the Montana Geothermal Working Group will be held in the fall, tentatively at Chico Hot Springs, near Livingston. For more information visit the Montana Department of Environmental Quality website, or contact Kathi Montgomery.

  • Montana's geothermal website is scheduled for public release in October
    2006. The website will feature a database of 50 geothermal locations
    around the state as well as project development information.

  • The Montana Geothermal Working Group met at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort near Anaconda for their first full day meeting on 18 May 2006. Twenty-five participants discussed the state's potential for geothermal development, and learned about geothermal projects from John Lund of the Geo-Heat Center. The group was particularly interested in geothermal's potential to generate electricity and its use in greenhouse and aquaculture applications.

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Nebraska

No news.

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Nevada

For further information on geothermal 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

  • On 29 August 2006, Sierra Geothermal Power Corp. of Vancouver, British Columbia, announced its intent to acquire Alberta-based Cayley Geothermal Corp. Cayley holds interest in 13 geothermal sites in Nevada and 1 in California. The two most advanced projects are Reese River and Silver Peak. The Reese River
    Sierra Geothermal Power Corp. geothermal project in Lander County in central Nevada has a power generation potential of 13-30 MWe. Negotiations with drill contractors are underway. The Silver Peak geothermal prospect in Esmeralda County could sell heat to a local lithium
    producer. A temperature gradient drilling program is planned for late 2006. Sierra Geothermal Power Corp. is developing the Pumpernickel Valley geothermal site in Humboldt County. For more information.
  • Churchill County recently received $265,520 from the state for geothermal rent and royalties. The county is required to allocate 25%, or $66,380, to the school district. The distribution came as a surprise to each department receiving funds. "I think it's a great thing for the county," said Gwen Washburn, county commission chair. "Most other counties have net proceeds from mining. Churchill County does not." "I think it's fantastic that this is happening," said Ron Rudden, acting road supervisor for Churchill County (Source: "County receives $265,520 for government land royalties, rent," by Viktoria Pearson, Lahontan Valley News, 26 August 2006.
  • In August 2006, Nevada Power Company, a subsidiary of Sierra Pacific Resources, signed three 20-year Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for geothermal power. Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. will deliver up to 35 MWe from its Blue Mountain site under one of the PPAs. Ormat Technologies, Inc. subsidiaries will deliver up to 60 MWe of geothermal power from plants at Carson Lake and Buffalo Valley under two other PPAs. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Nevada and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must approve the PPAs. All three geothermal plants are projected to come online in 2009. The Nevada PUC approved the PPA for Ormat's Galena No. 3 Geothermal Power Project on 23 August 2006.

    Nevada Geothermal Power, Inc.
    ORMAT

  • In remarks made at the 61st Northwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society on 27 June 2006, Lisa Shevenell, director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy of the University of Nevada, Reno, predicted that geothermal electricity output in Nevada could be increased by 1,500 MWe in the next 10 years, and by 3,000 MWe in 20 years. With support from the DOE Geothermal Technologies Program, the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy manages several projects which explore new technology that can locate geothermal energy sources (Source: "Shevenell sees greater geothermal potential in Nevada" by Ben Hoffman, Nevada News, 13 July 2006).

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New Mexico

For further information on geothermal in New Mexico, contact:

Michael McDiarmid
New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources
Tel: (505) 476-3319
Email: michael.mcdiarmid@state.nm.us

No news.

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North Dakota

No news.

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Oklahoma

No news.

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Oregon

For further information on geothermal in Oregon, contact:

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

  • Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. is planning to build the first geothermal power plant in Oregon. A recent review of the geothermal resource at the company's Crump Geyser Geothermal Project in south-central Oregon set the minimum capacity for power production at 40 MWe and the likely capacity at 60 MWe. Based on the results, the company intends to go ahead with exploratory drilling.


    • Northwest Geothermal Company, a joint venture of Davenport Power LLC and Vulcan Power Company, is planning to develop a 120-MWe power plant on the western flank of Newberry Volcano, 25 miles south of Bend. "We think and hope this is a promising area for geothermal power," said Doug Perry, president of Davenport
    Power. Davenport holds geothermal leases on 35,000 acres of Forest Service land outside of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The joint venture signed a contract to provide geothermal power to PG&E on 28 July 2006. For more information: "Volcanic monument geothermal project proposed," Newsday.com, 31 August 2006).

    Newberry is considered the best potential site for geothermal power generation in Oregon. According to the Western Governors' Association Geothermal Task Force Report, the Newberry Caldera has 240 MWe of power generation potential in the next 10 years, and 480 MWe in the next 20 years.

  • James R. Miller of Portland has filed a Measure 37 claim with Deschutes County requesting development rights or compensation for land he owns inside the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Miller is asking for $203 million in compensation, or the right to drill geothermal test wells, expand a pumice mine, and eventually build a vacation home subdivision inside the area.

    Effective 2 December 2004, Measure 37 allows "that the owner of private real property is entitled to receive just compensation when a land use regulation is enacted after the owner or a family member became the owner of the property if the regulation restricts the use of the property and reduces its fair market value." Miller, 82, a semi-retired mechanical engineer, has owned or controlled the 157-acre property since May 1969 (Source: "Landowner submits land-use claim in Newberry Monument," KATU News, 27 June 2006).

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South Dakota

No news.

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Texas

For further information on geothermal 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

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Utah

For further information on geothermal in Utah, contact:

Bob Blackett
Senior Geologist, Utah Geological Survey
Tel: (435) 865-9035
Email: robertblackett@utah.gov

  • Salt Lake City-based Amp Resources™, LLC (Amp) has engaged Marathon Capital, LLC, an investment banking boutique with strong ties to the geothermal market, to explore strategic financial alternatives to expedite the company’s geothermal development projects, waste heat business, and technology licensing program.

    Since 2002, Amp has acquired geothermal projects in Cove Fort, Utah; Salt Wells and Stillwater, Nevada; and Surprise Valley, California. The company owns global licensing rights to the patented Kalina® technology. The Amp Resources K-Cycle technology can effectively use binary geothermal generation facilities to make up to 40% more power than traditional technologies for the same hardware costs. For more information.

  • Renaissance Geothermal, a joint venture of Idathem LLC of Idaho and Eureka Green Systems LLC of California, has identified a geothermal resource in Box Elder County. The company plans to build $250-million geothermal energy plant assuming it can obtain financing. Renaissance has leased land from property owners, and plans to drill the first of four wells within the next two years. "We are looking for major partners to help us put this into production," Carl Austin, Idatherm exploration manager said (Sources: "Idaho company seeks finances for geothermal plant in Utah," Associated Press, 18 July 2006; "Backers sought for geothermal plant in Utah," Deseret News, 19 July 2006).

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Washington

For further information on geothermal 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 in Wyoming, contact:

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

No news.

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