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spacerFebruary 2005, Issue No. 15

Geothermal in Bush's FY'06 Budget
Geothermal production tax credit in jeopardy
EPA buying renewable credits from geothermal
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


Geothermal in Bush's FY'06 Budget

President Bush sent his Fiscal Year 2006 Budget to Congress on 7 February 2005. The $2.57 trillion federal budget includes $23.4 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE), $10.6 billion for the Department of the Interior (DOI), and $19.4 billion for the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The spending plan cuts funding for 12 of 23 government agencies; USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) face some of the larger cuts. Budget items relevant to geothermal are listed below.

  • The president's $23.4 billion FY06 budget for DOE is $475 million less than the FY05 appropriation.

  • $354 million for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), down 5.6% from the proposed 2005 budget.

  • $23.3 million for the Geothermal Technologies Program, down 8%:

    " The program develops innovative technologies to find, access, and use the Nation’s geothermal resources. These efforts include emphasis on Enhanced Geothermal Systems with continued R&D on geophysical and geochemical exploration technologies, improved drilling systems, and advanced energy conversion technology."

    If Congress goes along with the proposed reduction, this would reduce geothermal funding even further from its recent peak of $29.4 million in FY 2003.

  • Budget extends the production tax credit for "electricity produced from alternative energy sources such as wind and biomass, and combined heat and power systems," but does not include geothermal energy.

Department of the Interior (DOI)

  • The president's $10.6 billion FY06 budget for DOI is $101.2 million less than the FY05 appropriation.

  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) request is $1.75 billion in current appropriations.

    • The 2006 budget will increase BLM's energy and minerals program from an estimated 2005 funding level of $108.5 million in appropriations and user fees to a 2006 funding level of approximately $117.6 million.

      "This net increase will cover pay and other fixed cost increases and provide new resources to enable BLM to accelerate the processing time for [Oil and Gas Applications for Permit to Drill] (APDs) and reduce the APD backlog.

  • Budget request for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is $933.5 million, $1.9 million below the 2005 enacted level.

    • The budget proposes $500,000 to begin a three-year investigation of the nature and extent of geothermal systems in the western United States capable of producing electrical power.

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • The president's $19.4 billion FY06 budget for USDA is $2.6 billion less than the FY05 appropriation.

  • The annual budget for the U.S. Forest Service would drop from $4.28 billion to $4.06 billion under the budget request.

  • The budget proposes cutting more than half of the $23 million in renewable energy and energy efficiency funding that Congress included in the 2002 Farm Bill (HR 2646, sec. 9006).

    "The renewable energy program is funded at $10 million for loans and grants; however, the loan program will not begin until regulations are finalized. A higher program level is estimated based on the expectation that the loan program will begin in 2005."

"With this request, the Administration is continuing its policy of slowly bleeding the budgets for most of its core renewable energy and energy efficiency programs with cut after cut after cut -- a policy that ignores the consumer, job creation, national security, and rural economic development benefits of sustainable energy technologies," said the Sustainable Energy Coalition in a budget reaction statement.

Congress will begin the process of reconciliation, with a tentative date of 15 April 2005 to reach consensus on a budget resolution.

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Geothermal production tax credit in jeopardy

The President's budget extends the federal production tax credit (PTC) for two years, but only for wind and biomass projects. This mean that last year's successful effort to have geothermal included is now in jeopardy!

The House and Senate are moving quickly towards action on an energy bill that is likely to include an extension of the PTC. Hearings in the House began in mid-February and parts of the bill are already scheduled for Committee action. The Senate has not set a firm schedule, but is expected to bring an energy bill to the floor this spring.

For information on what you can do to support extending the PTC for geothermal power projects, contact the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), at (202) 454-5261 or email at research@geo-energy.org.

(Source: GEA Update, 15 February 2005).

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EPA buying renewable credits from geothermal

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began purchasing 2.23 million kilowatt hours (kWh) a year of renewable energy certificates (RECs) for the San Francisco Region 9 Office in November 2004. Under the three-year contract, the San Francisco Office will receive green tags from geothermal energy provided by 3 Phases Energy Services and generated at The Geysers No. 11 in Middletown, California.

The RECs represent the environmental attributes of power generated from renewable electric plants. They don't require the energy to be physically delivered to the buyer, but instead offset the difference between cost of the renewable power and other electricity sources.

EPA is buying green power or RECs for 75% of its offices' and laboratories' electrical needs. In 2005, the agency is projected to buy 220,897 kWh of RECs, up from 2,196 in 2000.

Western Area Power Administration managed the solicitation and provided contracting services for the procurement. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory provided technical support. For more information.

EPA and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners announced the formation of the EPA-State Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects on 16 February 2005. Utility commissioners from five states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawai'i, Minnesota and New Mexico—plus the District of Columbia are participating in the projects, which will explore cost-effective energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean distributed generation. The EPA-State EERE projects were announced at NARUC's 2005 Winter Meetings in Washington, D.C. 13-16 February 2005.

EPA estimates that if all states were to implement cost-effective energy efficiency and clean energy policies, the expected growth in demand for electricity could be cut in half by 2025, providing billions of dollars in customer savings, contributing to lower prices for natural gas, and substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information.

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National News

National Geothermal Collaborative
  • The General Services Administration (GSA) is requesting proposals for the supply of 120,000 MWhs of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for the GSA Heartland Region, the GSA Northwest/Arctic Region, and the GSA National Capital Region. The successful offeror will supply the full REC requirements from the date of contract award through 30 September 2005. "Renewable energy" is defined as energy produced by solar, wind, geothermal , and biomass generating resources installed after 1990. Evidence of Technical Qualification must be received no later than 2:00 p.m. on 15 March 2005. For more information.

  • The Administration for Native Americans (ANA), within the Administration for Children and Families, announces the availability of FY 2005 funds for new community-based projects under the Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS) for Native Americans Program (HHS-2005-ACF-ANA-NA-0003). Program Areas of Interest include: "Projects to implement initiatives that are based on a feasibility study that assessed the economic potential of energy resources in their community, including renewable energy sources such as: Bio-energy, Geothermal, Hydrogen, Hydropower, Ocean, Solar, Wind, or other methods appropriate to the tribe and geographical location." Applications are due 19 April 2005. For more information.

    • According to a report released in February 2005 by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), investing in clean energy solutions would create 154,000 new jobs annually in the U.S. between 2005-2020, and save American consumers $16.2 billion on their electricity bills in 2020. "Redirecting America's Energy: The Economic and Consumer Benefits of Clean Energy Policies" shows how increasing U.S. energy production from renewable sources to 20% of the electricity supply by 2020, and shifting billions in proposed subsidies away from coal, oil, gas and nuclear industries toward energy efficiency and renewable energy, would generate widespread benefits for consumers, the economy, and the environment. For more information.
    Redirecting America's Energy: The Economic and Consumer Benefits of Clean Energy Policies

  • The Environmental and Energy Study Institute held a Congressional briefing entitled "Geothermal Energy: Heating Up the Renewable Energy Portfolio" on 8 February 2005. According to DOE GPW Director Susan Norwood, "geothermal is poised to be one of the most cost competitive clean sources of power in the coming years." The briefing examined the range of state and local developments and federal efforts that support continued advances in geothermal technology. Panelists included Karl Gawell, Executive Director, Geothermal Energy Association; Matthew Brown, Energy Program Director, National Conference of State Legislatures; Roger Hill, GPW Technical Director, Sandia National Laboratory; and Charlene Wardlow, Manager of Development Permitting, Calpine Corporation. For more information and presentations.

  • The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) instated Philip Messer as its new President at the Board of Directors Meeting on 3 February 2005. Replacing Stu Johnson, Messer will serve a two-year term. The newly appointed Executive Committee is composed of Phil Messer, President; Paul Brophy, President-Elect; Stu Johnson, Past President; Dan Schochet, Treasurer; Dennis Gilles, Jim Lovekin, and Jim Combs, Vice Presidents; and Lou Capuano and Joel Renner, At Large. Ted Clutter is GRC Executive Director.

    The GRC Geothermal Research Library is available online to GRC members and the general public. Over 30,000 technical papers and articles are available in PDF format.

    The GRC 2005 Annual Meeting and Geothermal Energy Association Trade Show will be held at the Reno Hilton in Reno, Nevada from 25-28 September 2005. The meeting theme is "Geothermal Energy—The World's Buried Treasure."

  • The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has set the following Geothermal Industry Priorities for 2005:

    1) Extend the Section 45 Production Tax Credit for three to five years, and include geothermal energy on an equitable basis with wind and other technologies.

    2) Streamline and update the laws governing geothermal leasing and permitting on federal lands, and in particular reduce the complexity of federal royalties.

    3) Provide adequate support for expansion of the geothermal industry in the budgets of the Department of Energy, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Geological Survey.

    For more information, contact the GEA at (202) 454-5261 or email at research@geo-energy.org.

  • Dr. Samuel W. Bodman was sworn in as the 11th Energy Secretary on 1 February 2005. In his remarks, Secretary Bodman stated that he will work "to advance this department's critically important missions, including preserving America’s pre-eminence in the physical sciences, ensuring the responsible stewardship of our nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, advancing our international nuclear nonproliferation efforts, and ensuring reliable, secure, affordable and environmentally responsible supplies of energy for our growing economy." In his nomination hearing statement, Bodman said that passing comprehensive energy legislation is among the most important matters before Congress this year, calling a stable supply of energy "the lifeblood" of the U.S. economy. For more information.

  • On 27 January 2005, E&ETV's OnPoint looked at the government's role in promoting adoption of renewable energy technologies. E&E Daily reporter Ben Geman was joined by Michael Eckhart, president of the American Council on Renewable Energy; and Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute; for a lively debate over whether or not these technologies deserve tax incentives and other government support. E&E Publishing broadcasts E&ETV in Flash video. To watch the video.

  • In a 26 January 2005 letter to the White House, nearly 50 environmental, business, anti-nuclear, sustainable energy, and energy policy organizations disputed President Bush's statement that nuclear power is a "renewable source of energy." In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Bush said, "I believe nuclear power answers a lot of our issues. It certainly answers the environmental issue, and those people who are concerned about whether or not we can continue burning coal. It certainly answers the dependency issue. It's a renewable source of energy." The groups said that nuclear power, and "for that matter, oil, coal, and natural gas," are not renewable sources of energy but instead are "environmentally polluting and non-renewable." They added that the primary forms of renewable energy are "biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind." For more information.

  • The Geothermal Royalty Subcommittee of the Minerals Management Service's (MMS) Royalty Policy Committee held a brainstorming session in Denver on 25 January 2005. Participants identified several problems in the royalty process, stating that the cost of issuing a permit has increased tenfold, and that the largest impediment to geothermal development is the cost of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements. Inadequate budgets were also cited as a deterrent.: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) needs $1.3 million to process new leases but received only $93,000. The subcommittee plans to submit a report to the full committee on 25 May 2005. The Geothermal Royalty Subcommittee was created by the Royalty Policy Committee of MMS in October 2004. For more information, email Pat Etchart, MMS, at patrick.etchart@mms.gov.

  • The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a new report entitled, "Renewable Resources for America’s Future," in January 2005. The 26-page report shows that lands managed by the DOI provide 48% of the nation's geothermal energy. Specifically, the report covers the National Energy Policy, how DOI agencies are implementing the National Energy Policy Recommendations, BLM, and a section on "Going the Extra Mile to Promote Renewable Energy Development."

    In response to Recommendation 3. USGS begin a new geothermal assessment of the Great Basin: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) continues to pursue funding for the Great Basin geothermal assessment. The last nationwide geothermal resource assessment was completed by USGS in 1979. BLM transferred $100,000 to USGS in 2004 to assist in this effort.

    In response to Recommendation 4. BLM process all pending geothermal lease applications by fall of 2003: Since 2001, BLM has processed 200 geothermal applications, compared to 20 in the preceding four years. However, an increase in the number of new geothermal lease applications and the need for land use planning that supports the anticipated level of geothermal development continue to create a backlog.

    BLM is implementing several tasks related to geothermal development. To identify methods to expedite the processing of pending geothermal leases, BLM developing an electronic filing system that will standardize geothermal lease processing steps and allow industry to apply for leases and do other business over the Internet. Revising the Categorical Exclusion list to include geothermal resources and examine opportunities that could be added to the geothermal list is expected to be completed in FY 2005. For more information.

  • According to the Center for Resource Solutions' (CRS) Certified Renewable Energy Products Verification Results for Year 2003, Green-e renewable sales increased 76% in 2003 over 2002, for a total of over 2.9 million MWh. In 2003, 102 companies offered 65 Green-e products offering renewable electricity. Forty-one percent of non-utility green power retail sales in the U.S. were certified by Green-e in 2003. Geothermal accounted for 637,000 MWh, or 33% of the total Renewable Resource Mix for Green-e Sales in 2002, but for 0 MWh in 2003. Green-e is administered by the non-profit CRS. For more information.

  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has updated HOMER, its software model that evaluates design options for green power systems. Released in December 2004, HOMER Version 2.1 simplifies the task of evaluating design options for both off- and on-grid power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation applications. HOMER models both conventional and renewable energy technologies. Over 6,000 users from 166 countries have downloaded the free software. 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

  • Geothermal Outreach Meetings have been conducted in two areas of the state as part of a DOE grant. The project team which includes Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, New Mexico State University, Arizona Public Service Company, and the Ormond Group have identified geothermal resource areas and likely geothermal applications and uses for those areas. Meetings have been conducted with business and government representatives. Evening presentations have also been held to educate the general public about the resource in their area. The grant project will include three more site visits and launch a new website with Arizona-specific geothermal information. For more information, email Amanda Ormond at asormond@msn.com.

  • Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), in conjunction with Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, New Mexico State University, and the Ormond Group, is exploring the possibility of producing up to 20 MWe using geothermal energy in the Clifton area. APS hopes to drill a 3,000-foot-deep test well to determine whether there is enough geothermal energy in the area and also to help APS locate the best place to drill and tap into this resource. APS is paying 20% of the exploration costs with DOE's GPW Program covering 80%. APS has spent about $100,000 thus far, with the DOE adding about $400,000 (Source: "APS looking to develop geothermal energy in Clifton, Water below Clifton is a potential hotbed of energy" by Greg Jones, Eastern Arizona Courier, 23 February 2005).

  • The Arizona Corporation Commission has released a report of recommended changes to the state's existing Environmental Portfolio Standard (EPS) . Among the changes contemplated are raising the standard to 5% by 2015 and 15% by 2025, and including geothermal electricity in the list of eligible technologies. The current portfolio standard does not include geothermal although Arizona Public Service Company applied for and received a waiver to allow geothermal energy. The recommended change to the portfolio standard is not expected to be controversial. For more information: Staff Report on Proposed Changes to the Environmental Portfolio Standard Rules, 21 January 2005.

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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 newly re-named High Sierra Energy Foundation (HSEF), is seeking an executive director to make Mammoth Lakes a model renewable energy community by utilizing its extensive geothermal and solar resources, and maximizing its potential for energy conservation. HSEF was formerly called the Eastern Sierra Advocates Network (ESAN).

    According to HSEF director, entrepreneur Sam Walker, "...I have never, never seen one issue that every single person I have talked to agrees on, except this one. Even those who would never dream of calling themselves environmentalists see the logic in the idea." Walker intends to make his Mammoth Brewing Company the first completely off-grid brewery in the world. For more information: "Renewable Energy Group Assumes ESAN's Non-profit Status," Mammoth Times Weekly, 21 February 2005.

  • The BLM Folsom Field Office is asking the public to help identify issues and concerns regarding future management of public lands comprising approximately 230,000 acres of public land in 14 California counties. BLM will use information gathered at several public meetings to develop a regional "Sierra Resource Management Plan" that will guide management activities for the next 20 years. The BLM plans to issue a draft plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement for public review by November 2006. The final EIS and plan are expected to be out in August 2007. For more information.

  • The BLM Ukiah Field Office held a series of meetings in February 2005 to obtain the public's help in identifying issues and concerns regarding the agency's future management of more than 300,000 acres of public lands in nine counties. The Resource Management Plan now being developed will provide management direction for the next 20 years. The BLM plans to issue a draft plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement for public review by May 2006 with the final EIS and plan expected to be completed in September 2006. For more information.

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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

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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

  • The Geothermal Direct Use Working Group met on 3 February 2005. Topics covered included an overview of Geothermal Direct Use (GDU) and the local program by Andrea Gill of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; and an overview of the Geothermal Asset and Royalty Funds, each of which currently has a balance of more than $1 million, by Barry Mizuno of Puna Geothermal Venture. Questions were raised about the Kyoto agreement and global environmental changes and the sustainability of GDU projects, particularly in regard to the demand for water and the available ground water resource.

    The Working Group will work to introduce the concept and potential of direct use to the public; discuss and provide input and suggestions to develop educational tools, e.g., visuals, Q&A sheets, maps, and schematics; plan and implement public meetings incorporating public responses when needed; and provide guidance to a consultant who will develop a feasibility study of viable direct use businesses.The group agreed to hold the first public meetings close to the geothermal resource area with Leilani Estates and the Pahoa Community Center as potential locations.

    The Working Group will next meet on 3 March 2005 at the Ola’a Community Center. For more information, email Andrea Gill, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, at agill@interpac.net.

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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
  • The next meeting of the Idaho Geothermal Energy Working Group is scheduled for 14 April 2005 from 8:30 AM to Noon, in Boise, location to be determined. Updates on current geothermal projects in Idaho, subcommittee reports, and pending legislation will be discussed. The agenda will be posted on the Idaho Department of Water Resources' (IDWR) Idaho Geothermal Energy Resources website.

  • A special one-day workshop called "Geothermal 101 for Utilities" is scheduled for 13 April 2005 in Boise. Details about the location, time, etc., are still being worked out. Email Dayna Ball at Dayna.Ball@idwr.idaho.gov for more information.

  • A one-day Teacher’s Workshop is scheduled to be held in Boise on 12 April 2005. The morning will be spent in class with instruction from technical experts. A tour in the afternoon to local geothermal operations will demonstrate how low temperature geothermal water has been used in Boise for over 100 years. Details including the cost and the possibility of educational credits are still being investigated. Email Ken Neely at Ken.Neely@idwr.idaho.gov for more information.

  • The Farm Bill provides grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development for rural businesses. Two of the grants which are most applicable to rural businesses are: 1) Value Added, and 2) Energy Efficiency. Public meetings to explain Farm Bill opportunities for renewable energy technologies including geothermal, are planned for 14-18 March 2005 at seven locations throughout the state. Technical experts, government officials, and business owners will discuss various aspects of these renewable energy sources. General Meeting locations, dates, and times are as follows

    • Boise, 14 March, 1:30 – 4:30 PM.
    • Twin Falls, 15 March, 9:00 AM – Noon.
    • Pocatello, 15 March, 6:00 – 9:00 PM.
    • Idaho Falls, 16 March, 9:00 AM – Noon.
    • Salmon, 16 March, 6:00 – 9:00 PM.
    • Coeur d’Alene, 17 March, 3:00 – 6:00 PM.
    • McCall, 18 March, 2:00 – 5:00 PM.

The meetings are free and open to the public. For more information.

  • U.S. Geothermal Inc. announced on 14 February 2005 its acquisition of 417.5 acres of surface land and 259 acres of new energy rights. The company signed a letter agreement to purchase 100 acres of surface and energy rights from Elena Corporation, a private Idaho company, in exchange for a cash payment of $40,000 and issuance of 100,000 common shares of U.S. Geothermal.
  • U.S. Geothermal announced that its SB-2 Registration Statement, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Securities Act of l933, is effective as of 11 February 2005. The Company will now seek a listing on the OTC-Bulletin Board.

    U.S. Geothermal also announced that Robert Cline, a registered professional engineer and a civil engineer with 23 years of energy development experience, has joined the Company as Vice President for Engineering. Mr. Cline was formerly the Manager of Engineering for Ida-West Energy Company, the unregulated subsidiary of Idaho Power Company. His extensive experience with energy project development includes acquisition, permitting, feasibility, engineering, construction, and operation of hydroelectric, gas fired, coal fired, geothermal, and wind facilities throughout the United States and Canada. For more information.

  • On 1 February 2005, the Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) assumed management and operational responsibility for the new Idaho National Laboratory (INL) with a 10-year, $4.8 billion contract to transform the INL into a preeminent nuclear Research, Development and Demonstration laboratory in 10 years. The INL combines the research and development components of the former Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory-West. The BEA team members partnering to operate the INL include Battelle, BWX Technologies, Inc., Electric Power Research Institute, Washington Group International, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The INL is the U.S. DOE Geothermal Technologies Program's lead laboratory for geoscience. For more information.

  • U.S. Geothermal was awarded a $2.2 million grant from the DOE Geothermal Technologies Program on 28 January 2005 to assist in the development and construction of an innovative power generation application at the Raft River geothermal power project if the company concludes that the new application is feasible.

    Working with SAIC, Power Engineers, and ECC, U.S. Geothermal submitted a proposal for an ammonia adsorption power cycle (AAPC). The AAPC technology could be a viable alternative to the technology currently used in the power generation process, and provide more efficient production at lower cost. If accepted by U.S. Geothermal, the grant will be used for construction of its Raft River 10 MWe power plant using the new technology. If the engineering and design activities currently underway are successful, U.S. Geothermal intends to make a decision in late March 2005 to use the new technology in its plant and accept the DOE grant. For more information.

  • On 24 January 2005, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved the 20-year Power Purchase Agreement between Idaho Power and U.S. Geothermal for the electrical output from Phase One of the Raft River geothermal power project. The plant is scheduled for completion in mid-2006.

    U. S. Geothermal will sell Idaho Power up to 10 average megawatts per month. The Raft River facility will interconnect with the Raft River Rural Electric Cooperative system and wheel its energy to Idaho Power over transmission lines owned by the Raft River Co-Op and the Bonneville Power Administration. U.S. Geothermal will qualify for rates set by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission under federal PURPA guidelines. The 20-year sales agreement contains provisions not typical of PURPA contracts as the result of complaint cases filed by U.S. Geothermal and wind developers, which were resolved last November. For more information.

  • Idaho Redclaw Farms and U.S. Geothermal have an arrangement in which the aquaculture operation will use heat from the geothermal water in a downstream (cascading) application after power generation. In 2004, Neil moved his operation from Meridian, Idaho, to the future Raft River power generation site. An Australian Redclaw will grow to about 14 inches in length, and each one will produce about 4-5 ounces of delicious meat. Neil plans to market his product in major West Coast cities, and in Idaho. For information about Idaho Redclaw Farms, contact Neil Smeltzer at (208) 645-2364.

  • The Idaho Geothermal Energy Steering Committee met on 6 January 2005 at the Idaho Water Center in Boise. The meeting included program updates, subcommittee reports, a review of the working group’s strategic plan, and the status of targeted multi-year activities. The Steering Committee is comprised of the subcommittee chairs of the Idaho Geothermal Energy Working Group.
  • Zoo Boise
    A preliminary feasibility study by the Geo-Heat Center will investigate the possibility of using geothermal water from the City of Boise’s district heating system to heat some of Zoo Boise’s facilities. Spent geothermal water is currently injected into the City’s reinjection well located just a short distance from the Zoo. However, this water still has enough thermal energy remaining to heat animal facilities and offices, and possibly to be used for snow melting. Technical and economic issues will be investigated to see if this idea is feasible. An initial meeting with City of Boise, Geo-Heat Center, and IDWR personnel in early January 2005 got the ball rolling for a study.

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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

  • Up to $400,000 of Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds are available in Montana for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in Fiscal Year 2005. CIG works to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. State, tribal, and local governmental entities; non-governmental organizations; and individuals may apply. Multi-year projects may not exceed three years.

    Applicants must provide non-Federal funding for at least 50% of the total project cost. Up to 50% of the applicant's match must be cash. The notice identifies five natural resource concerns. One of the five, Atmospheric Resources, includes wind, solar; and bio-based energy as subtopics. While geothermal is not specifically listed, it may also be an eligible subtopic. Applications are due 11 April 2005. For more information.

  • With the election of Democrat Brian Schweitzer as governor, Democrat control of the Senate, and Democrats comprising half of the House, the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) is hopeful that a state renewable energy mandate will soon be drafted. A similar bill died in the 2003 legislative session. MEIC's four-point agenda includes requiring utilities to obtain a percentage of their energy from renewable sources. The Northern Plains Resource Council, the Clark Fork Coalition, Montana Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited, the Audubon Society, the Montana Smart Growth Coalition, and the Montana Public Interest Research Group support MEIC's agenda (Source: "Environmental groups optimistic about Legislature" by Susan Gallagher, Billings Gazette, 4 January 2005).

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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

  • The Nevada Division of Minerals is pleased to announce the appointment of Christy Morris to the position of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Program Manager with responsibility for all oil, gas, and geothermal well permitting and drilling operations in the state. As Program Manager, Ms. Morris is also charged to promote the responsible development and production of the state's oil, gas, and geothermal resources and to ensure their proper management and conservation. Ms. Morris will also serve as the state contact person for the DOE GPW Program and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Ms. Morris was formerly the regulatory affairs administrator for ORMAT Geothermal in their Reno, Nevada
    office.

  • Nevada's renewable energy portfolio law isn't working says Richard Burdette, Energy Advisor to Governor Kenny Guinn and Director of the Nevada State Office of Energy. In a 125-page report, Burdette suggested that the Legislature change the law so that Nevada Power Co. and Sierra Pacific Power Co. are allowed to meet up to 25% of their total renewable requirements through increased energy conservation.

    Under the current law, Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power were required to obtain 5% of their electricity from renewable energy sources in 2003 and 2004, and 7% in 2005. Five percent must come from solar power sources. Nevada Power failed to meet both standards in 2003 and 2004. Sierra Pacific Power met the overall renewable minimum but only because it already was receiving renewable energy from geothermal power plants. Sierra, however, didn't satisfy the solar requirement. And developers contracted to build new renewable plants face difficulties getting financing given the utilities' weak credit (Source: "Officials say Nevada's 'green' power program not working," Las Vegas SUN, 20 February 2005).

  • The 2005 "Annual Report to the Nevada Legislature and the Governor of the State of Nevada, Volume III: Renewable Portfolio Standard Report" identified and summarized the top policy priorities, from among those identified and discussed at the 4 November 2004 Reno Workshop, to be considered by the Nevada Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Taskforce for implementation. The five top options included:

    • Establish incentives encouraging certain utility actions in support of Nevada RPS
      Compliance;
    • Adopt an Alternative Compliance Mechanism (ACM), and target ACM funds toward renewable energy generation;
    • Improve Utility renewable energy solicitations;
    • Allow imports of renewable energy generation or Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) renewable energy credits for a limited percentage of the Nevada RPS; and
    • Consider extending the Solar PV Energy Demonstration Program.

  • According to an independent preliminary assessment conducted by GeothermEx, Inc., Nevada Geothermal Power Inc.'s (NGP) Blue Mountain Geothermal Project has a minimum power generation potential of 30 MWe, and a most likely value of 47 MWe. Geochemical data indicate that the source temperature of the geothermal fluid is probably in the range of 200 to 220°C. Based on GeothermEx's "Preliminary Assessment of the Geothermal Project at Blue Mountain," as well as a separate evaluation done by Black Mountain Technology, NGP plans to drill three, 13-inch-diameter production test wells. Well sites have already been located in the field; permitting studies are underway. NGP has announced a brokered private placement for up to 3,500,000 units at a price of $0.65 per unit, to raise gross proceeds of up to $2,275,000. For more information.

  • On 21 January 2005, Earth Power Resources got the go-ahead to begin construction of a geothermal electrical generation plant in Independence Valley about eight miles from Tuscarora. Elko County Planning Commissioners approved an application for a change in zoning from open space to general industrial for 10 acres of land near Spanish Ranch on Ellison Ranching Company property. Commissioners also approved a conditional use permit for the project (Source: "Geothermal plant zone change OKd" by Dave Woodson, Elko Daily Free Press, 22 January 2005).

    Tuscarora Hot Sulphur Springs

    Tuscarora Hot Sulphur Springs
    Elko County, Nevada
    Photo: Mark Coolbaugh


    Send in your geothermal hot shots!


  • Over 120 participants from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai'i, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington State, the District of Columbia, and Vancouver attended the Great Basin Geothermal Workshop on 5 November 2004 at the University of Nevada, Reno. The Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy organized the workshop with support from DOE and the Nevada State Office of Energy. Presenters and panelists representing the DOE, national laboratories, the U.S. Geological Survey, and independent contractors and businesses made presentations. For more information.

  • The following information is provided courtesy of the Nevada Oil Reporter. For more information on BLM leases in Nevada, see the website: http://www.blm.gov/lr2000 (Source: Nevada Geothermal Update, November-December 2004).

    Non-Competitive Geothermal BLM Lease Applications, Pending:
    Pacific Spar Corp.
    Near Woolsey, Pershing County
    Recent Geothermal BLM Leases Issued:
    None
    Competitive Sale Geothermal Lease Applications Dropped:
    None

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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, through the Energy Conservation and Management Division, is requesting assistance to organize the 2005 New Mexico Geothermal Energy Working Group Meeting (NMGEWG) on 10-11 May 2005. If your or your organization would like to sponsor or host the NMGEWG annual meeting, please provide a brief summary (2 pages maximum) by email, to be evaluated in a competitive selection process. Responses are due 8 March 2005. For more information.

  • Congress moved a step closer to buying the remaining geothermal mineral rights at the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in Northern New Mexico. Under the bill approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on 9 February 2005, the Agriculture Secretary would negotiate a price for the mineral rights. If the negotiations fail, a federal court would be asked to resolve the dispute. Identical legislation passed the Senate last year, but stalled in the House.

    Private parties, which own about 12% of the mineral rights on Valles Caldera, have leased those rights to GeoProducts of New Mexico for possible development of geothermal electric power.

  • New Mexico families and businesses would save $570 million on energy bills, primarily by reducing the demand for—and the price of—natural gas if utilities increased their use of renewable electricity to 20% by 2020. According to "Renewing New Mexico’s Economy," a study released on 20 January 2005 by the Union of Concerned Scientists, New Mexico would increase its total homegrown renewable power to more than 3,600 MWe by 2020 with a 20% RPS. The majority of this development would be powered by New Mexico’s strong wind and geothermal resources. This level of renewable development would produce enough electricity to meet the needs of nearly 2.4 million typical homes, and provide the equivalent of 48% of the electricity sales in the state. The study concluded that New Mexico has the technical potential to generate nearly 22 times its current electricity needs from renewable energy. For more information.

  • The Santa Fe-based Regional Development Corporation (RDC) is creating a new program initiative in Renewable Energy to help create jobs in the state in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other renewable energy projects. Governor Bill Richardson has declared New Mexico the Clean Energy state and is seeking to convert 10% of the state's overall energy production into renewable production by 2011. The nonprofit RDC plans to work to identify new and existing renewable energy projects throughout New Mexico and work to implement them. The RDC assists New Mexico communities and industry in managing their economic development projects and initiatives (Source: "Nonprofit sees economic development in renewable energy," New Mexico Business Weekly, 19 January 2005).

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North Dakota

  • On 17 February 2005, House Bill 1308, which would have established a renewable energy trust fund, failed 39-52 on the second reading. Introduced by Representatives Nelson, Gulleson, S. Kelsh, and Nicholas, and Senators Brown, and Triplett, HB 1308 would have established a renewable energy trust fund with a $2 million appropriation from the ethanol production incentive fund. The Agricultural Products Utilization Commission would have administered the fund for feasibility studies, venture capital, matching funds, and low-interest loans for renewable energy projects. The bill also contained a state renewable energy public policy, as well as provisions urging North Dakota state government to use more renewable energy. Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson said the North Dakota House of Representatives has missed an enormous opportunity to grow North Dakota's economy through development of renewable energy (Source: "Renewable Energy Fund Defeated in North Dakota," RenewableEnergyAccess, 22 February 2005).

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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

  • Portland may look to renewable power to supply its annual needs of 16 MWe. This goal, which the city tentatively hopes to reach by 2007, is part of Portland's 2001 action plan against global warming. Towards this end, Portland issued a request for information, "Oregon Renewable Power Generation" (Solicitation Number 103534) in December 2004 "to help define the most appropriate methods" to achieve its 100% renewables goal. The city will tentatively issue a follow-up request for proposals in March 2005.

    According to senior energy specialist David Tooze of the Office of Sustainable Development, price will be the biggest consideration for the city. Portland is currently served almost wholly by Portland General Electric at an average rate of about 4.4 ¢/kWh (Source: "Portland Considers 100-Percent Renewables for City Government," Con.WEB: Issue 109, 11 February 2005).

  • The Oregon Renewable Energy Center (OREC), in cooperation with other energy partners, has completed the state's first "net zero energy" home. The home uses photovoltaic for electric power and a ground source heat pump system for space heating and cooling and hot water. OREC's goal is to to transform Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls into the world's first "net zero energy" institution of higher education. For more information.

  • Several businesses, city and county offices were without geothermal heat in late January when a pipe in the city of Klamath Falls' geothermal heat system broke. Over the past two years the city has completed major repairs to its geothermal system, replacing several aging pipes and other equipment. The broken pipe was not among those replaced last year (Source: "Broken pipe shuts down city's geothermal system " by Angela Torretta, Herald and News, 28 January 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

  • The Texas Geothermal Energy Working Group, organized by the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Geothermal Laboratory, will hold its first meeting in Austin on 30 March 2005. The meeting will determine strategic goals and start networking the many Texas groups. For more information, contact Maria Richards, SMU Geothermal Lab Coordinator, at Tel: (214) 768-1975, or email at mrichard@smu.edu.

  • The SMU Geothermal Lab officially started the Texas GPW Program in February 2005. Maria Richards , David Blackwell , and Steven Bergman are coordinating the program for the State of Texas through SMU. Also involved with the program is Richard Erdlac through the University Texas (UT) Permian Basin Center for Energy and Economic Diversification.

    Visit the SMU Geothermal Lab website to sign-up for networking and learn more about future events in Texas.

    Southern states, not currently part of the GPW program, are welcome to contact Maria Richards. Visit the SMU Geothermal Lab website to be included in the Texas networking and meetings.

  • Texas GPW got a head start with a meeting on 20 January 2005 at the UT Permian Basin Center for Energy and Economic Diversification, hosted by Richard Erdlac. The meeting was designed to review what is currently known about geothermal energy in Texas and to show the interest by different businesses throughout the state. Sixteen attendees were present representing DOE, the State Energy Office, direct uses, oil and gas companies, universities, community and environmental organizations, and investors. Texas has potential to use geothermal energy in many capacities—from individual consumption, to businesses using direct use, to communities generating electric power from geothermal sources.

  • According to "Increasing the Texas Renewable Energy Standard: Economic and Employment Benefits" issued in February 2005 by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the economic development and environmental benefits in Texas of increasing the RPS to 20% by 2020 would stimulates a total of 17,820 MWe in renewable energy development by 2025. A renewable goal of a 10,000 MWe by 2025 would yield approximately 8% renewable energy in 2025. The analysis also concluded that new renewable energy generation would create much needed competition with natural gas power plants, leading to reduced gas demand and lower natural gas and electricity prices. Under the 20% standard, average consumer electricity prices would remain virtually unchanged through 2012, with prices beginning to decline thereafter. For more information.

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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: blackett@suu.edu

  • The Utah Geothermal Working Group (UGWG) met on 24 February 2005 at the Utah Department of Natural Resources in Salt Lake City. The objectives of the meeting were to (1) inform and educate members about geothermal resources and development in Utah, and (2) help remove barriers to geothermal development by creating a set of action items to focus the working group. The meeting was facilitated by Kathleen Rutherford of Resolve, Inc.; Jon Allred of the Utah Energy Office, and Bob Blackett of the Utah Geological Survey. It culminated with a facilitated discussion to help the UGWG develop an action plan to (1) help educate the public about the benefits of geothermal energy, and (2) create guidance for removing barriers to geothermal development. For more information, email Bob Blackett at blackett@suu.edu.

  • The December 2004 (Volume 25, Number 4) issue of the Geo-Heat Center Quarterly Bulletin focuses on Utah Geothermal Resources and Utilization. The issue contains the following articles: Geothermal Resources and Utilization in Utah, Geothermal Resources of Utah - Geologic Setting, Cleaned up and Cleaned Out - Ruined Hot Springs Resorts of Utah, Electric Power Generation in the Roosevelt Hot Springs Area - The Blundell Geothermal Power Plant, The Cove Fort-Sulphurdale, Utah Geothermal Field; Crystal Hot Springs - Salt Lake County; Bonneville SeaBase, Tooele County, Utah; Milgro Greenhouses, Newcastle, Utah; Castlevalley Greenhouses, Newcastle; Belmont (Udy) Hot Springs; Utah Hot Springs and Allan Plant Company Greenhouses; Crystal (Madsen) Hot Springs, Midway Area, Wasatch County; Monroe-Red Hill Hot Springs - Mystic Hot Springs Resort; St. George Basin Geothermal Area.

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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

  • Correction: The Washington Geothermal Working Group Meeting and the Electric Utility Geothermal 101 Workshop tentatively scheduled for 16 March and 17 March respectively, have been postponed. The events will be posted on the Geothermal-biz.com Calendar of Events when rescheduled.

  • On 4 February 2005, the Western Washington University (WWU) board of trustees approved a student fee to purchase renewable energy power. Students for Renewable Energy proposed the initiative and has been working with university administrators on its implementation. A spring 2004 WWU student initiative on green energy passed with 84.7% approval. The trustee approval enables university officials to begin negotiating with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to purchase green energy resources from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. PSE’s green power program includes wind and solar resources in its mix. WWU, which annually uses about 33 million kWh of electricity, will become the second largest purchaser of green power in higher education and the 15th largest purchaser of green energy overall. For more information.

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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

  • House Bill No. 157 to establish the Wyoming Renewable Energy Commission within the governor's office, was voted down 5-1 by the House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee on 19 January 2005. The 13-member commission would have been charged with developing strategies and legislative recommendations to diversify and expand energy production and distribution systems in the state, and considered a state renewable portfolio standard. HB0157 was criticized for not being cost-effective with opponents noting that private industries already are pursuing renewable energy. Additionally, critics said the state has failed to actively use its energy commission, which was formed several years ago to look at all aspects of energy, including renewable forms. Representative Jane Warren (D-Laramie) who introduced the bill, said she would continue to promote the idea in the future, but in "smaller steps." (Source: "Renewable energy commission rejected" by Angela Brooks, Laramie Boomerang).

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