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spacerFebruary 2006, Issue No. 21

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Geothermal program zeroed out in FY07 — Fight on to save vital DOE program
USDA FY06 grants and loans for renewable energy for ag producers and rural businesses
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
Geothermal program zeroed out in FY07 — Fight on to save vital DOE program

On 6 January 2006, the Bush Administration reported its Fiscal Year 2007 Department of Energy budget request, zeroing out the entire Geothermal Technologies Program, including the highly effective GeoPowering the West Program, as of 1 October 2006.

The rationale given for eliminating the Geothermal Program is that "While geothermal energy remains an important regional contributor to the Nation’s energy needs, current EERE [Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy] priorities are focused on technology development with broadly applicable and more readily accelerated public benefits." According to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, the geothermal program was cut to better allocate R&D funds for hydrogen technology and biomass programs.

While the President's Budget calls for closing the geothermal program, the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 calls for funding the program at $32.5 million in FY07, up from $23 million in FY06.

During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meeting on 10 February 2006 at which Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman testified, member Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) noted that DOE's budget funds the EERE program at only 2% of the level called for by the EPAct, stating that "We were serious about what we legislated last year, and I hope that we can all work together to improve the inadequate parts of this budget request."

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) vowed to reinstate funding for geothermal technology: "There's no excuse for eliminating geothermal power research and development projects," the senator stated. Calling the budget request "shortsighted," he said there is "enough geothermal energy in the West to produce thousands of megawatts of electricity, and in the president's budget it's being zeroed out." Senator Reid is the ranking member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

In a 24 February 2006 letter to the Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Appropriations, 60 business, environmental, and faith-based organizations urged Congress to reject the White House's FY07 budget request for DOE's EERE programs. They called for full funding of the cross-section of sustainable energy programs up to the levels authorized by the EPAct.

The next steps are for the House and Senate to review the Administration's proposed budget, and decide on FY07 funding in the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. Hearings before the House and Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittees are scheduled for March. The House Subcommittee will hear testimony from DOE on its budget on 8 March.

This process leads to the House and Senate Subcommittees proposing their funding proposal for FY07 in May or June. Whether they will include funding for geothermal research is still uncertain.

For more information : GEA Update, Geothermal Energy Association (GEA).

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USDA FY06 grants and loans for renewable energy for ag producers and rural businesses

On 13 February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of Rural Business-Cooperative Service released a solicitation requesting proposals for the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program (Section 9006) authorized under Title IX, of the 2002 Farm Bill.

This year’s solicitation makes $11.385 million available in competitive grant funds and approximately $176.5 million in guaranteed loans for the purchase of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements for agriculture producers and rural small businesses. Program guidelines are summarized below:

Grants

  • Awards for renewable energy systems will be between $2,500 and $500,000.
  • Awards for energy efficiency improvements will be between $1,500 and $250,000.
  • Rural Development grants under this program will not exceed 25% of the eligible project costs.
  • Rural Development combined grant and guaranteed loan funding packages will not exceed 50% of eligible project cost, with the grant portion not to exceed 25% of eligible project costs.

Loan Guarantees

  • Maximum amount of a guaranteed loan made to a borrower will be $10 million.
  • For FY06, the guarantee fee amount is 1% of the guaranteed portion of the loan and the annual renewal fee is 0.125% (one-eighth of one percent) of the guaranteed portion of the loan.
  • Rural Development guaranteed loans will not exceed 50% of the eligible project costs.

Grant applications must be completed and submitted to the appropriate USDA State Rural Development Office postmarked no later than 12 May 2006.

Guaranteed loans will be awarded on a continuous basis. Loan Guarantee applications are due in the National Office for funding consideration by 3 July 2006.

After 1 August 2006, any guarantee loan funds that are not obligated will be pooled and revert to the National Office reserve for grants under this notice.

For more information.

Supported by DOE's GeoPowering the West Program, Idaho National Laboratory and the Geo-Heat Center have created an illustrative template (5.0 MB PDF) to help applicants successfully apply for grant funding from the USDA Section 9006 program. Prepared as an example of what a complete proposal submitted to the USDA under the Renewable Energy Systems guidelines might look like, the detailed 67-page template uses fictitious names, dollar values, and project descriptions.

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National News
  • 1-3 March 2006 - GEA encourages the geothermal community to join in events in Washington, D.C. The GEA Board Meeting will be held on 1 March 2006.

    On 2 March, GEA, in cooperation with the Energy and Environmental Study Institute, is sponsoring a briefing on the state of geothermal energy on Capitol Hill. The briefing will feature a diverse group of panelists, including Walt Snyder, who will speak about the new Intermountain Geothermal Consortium (established by EPAct); Paul Thomsen, Ormat, who will speak about the projects and plans of a leading geothermal operator/developer; Elizabeth Battocletti, geothermal-biz.com who will highlight new geothermal development across the states from GeoPowering the West’s state working groups and other state-local efforts; and Karl Gawell, GEA Executive Director and Member of the Western Governors' Association (WGA) Geothermal Task Force, who will review the report of the Geothermal Task Force presented to the WGA Clean and Diversified Energy Advisory Committee in January 2006. Jessica Wilcox, with Senator Craig’s office, will introduce the panel.

    For more information, contact Karl Gawell, GEA Executive Director, at karl@geo-energy.org; Tel: (202) 454-5264.

  • The WGA Clean and Diversified Energy Advisory Committee (CDEAC) released several task force reports on 10 January 2006. The Geothermal Task Force Report found that 11 Western States (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) have almost 13,000 MW of geothermal energy that can be developed on specific sites within a reasonable timeframe. Of the total, 5,600 MW are considered viable for commercial development within the next 10 years.

    The 5,600 MW is estimated to be developable at busbar costs in a range of levelized costs of energy (LCOE) of about 5.3 to 7.9¢/kWh, assuming commercial project financing conditions and the extension of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC). LCOE values would be 2.3¢/kWh higher without the PTC.

    The task force reports are a crucial step in the CDEAC process of developing recommendations for the Governors to consider in order to bring 30,000 MW of clean energy online by 2015, increase energy efficiency 20% by 2020, and provide adequate transmission for the region. The reports will be reviewed at WGA's Annual Meeting, 11-13 June 2006, in Sedona, Arizona.

  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has published a set of draft revisions to Chapter 11 of the Department of the Interior’s Departmental Manual (DM), which guides the agency’s implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Following the close of the public comment period on 24 February 2006, the BLM will analyze comments received and may modify a proposed change based on these comments. A Notice signaling final action to adopt proposed changes, including any modifications resulting from public comment, will be published in the Federal Register in the spring of 2006. For more information.

  • Utilities are invited to register for the geothermal webcasts sponsored by Western Area Power Administration and the Utility Geothermal Working Group. The free teleconferences will cover economics, financing, permitting, transmission, environmental impacts, marketing, case histories, program development, and project development for geothermal technologies. The topics and dates for the remaining two webcasts are: "Geothermal Direct Use" on 14 March 2006 and "GeoExchange" on 18 April 2006. Participation is limited to the first 40 utilities that register. For more information.

  • According to a report issued in late 2005 by the American Public Power Association (APPA), public power plants emit lower rates of sulfur dioxide than investor-owned utilities (IOUs), rural electric cooperatives (co-ops), and non-utility generators (NUGs). Public power emission rates of nitrogen oxides are lower than the IOUs and co-ops but higher than the NUGs. The report, entitled "Public Power: Generating Greener Communities," also found that public power has the largest percentage of generation from sustainable resources, including hydropower and other renewable fuels; and the largest percentage of "zero-emission generation" of any sector. The report concludes that, while "...public power continues to be a leader in green energy, it also highlights that progress could be made to make public power even greener."

  • In its February 2006 Short-Term Energy Outlook, DOE's Energy Information Administration forecast that demand for renewable energy will increase 4.9% in both 2006 and 2007. Demand for geothermal, solar, and wind energy is predicted to grow 1.3% in 2006 and 11.5% in 2006-2007. See Table 11: U.S. Renewable Energy Use by Sector: Base Case.

  • The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has issued a call for greater sustainable design and resource conservation in building construction and operation, with a goal of reducing current fossil fuel consumption for new and renovated buildings by at least 50% by 2010. "Buildings account for 48% of U.S. energy consumption and generate far more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector,” says R.K. Stewart of AIA’s Sustainability Summit Task Force. The AIA represents over 74,000 licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners. For more information.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its quarterly list of the Top 25 Green Power Partners on 10 January 2006. Combined, the 25 purchase 3.3 million MWh per year. The top 10 partners are the U.S. Air Force, Whole Foods Market, EPA, Johnson & Johnson, DOE, Starbucks, the World Bank Group, Safeway Inc., U.S. General Services Administration/Region 2 , and HSBC North America. The top three partners all purchase geothermal resources. For more information.

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State Roundup

Alaska

For further information on geothermal activities in Alaska, contact:

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

  • Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks, is preparing for the arrival of the first of two 200-kW Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) geothermal power plants to be installed. The new generators will deliver power through inverters and a recently installed 3-MWh lead acid battery bank that reduces the need for the generators to follow the electrical load. The powerhouse building is under construction and the first ORC unit is in final testing at the manufacturer’s facility.
  • On 29 March 2006, Lorie Dilley P.E. of Hattenburg, Dilley and Linnell will give a presentation in the boardroom of the Alaska Energy Authority on innovative techniques for assessing geothermal resources. Dilley is a Ph.D. candidate in geochemistry at New Mexico Tech, and works as a consulting engineer in Alaska.

  • Unalaska, 800 miles southwest of Anchorage, is considering geothermal to replace high-priced diesel fuel for electrical generation. The town (population 4,400) and its energy intensive seafood processing industry use up to 16 MW of electricity. City officials say using geothermal energy could save residents millions of dollars in diesel fuel which currently costs $2 million a year. The Unalaska City Council is studying the concept of building a $80 million geothermal plant on the side of Makushin Volcano, located 12 miles from town. A decision is expected in March. If the plant is approved, it would need to be built before the federal PTC for geothermal expires in 2008 (Source: "Unalaska considers using geothermal energy" by Dan Fiorucci, Channel 2 Broadcasting Inc., 2 January 2006).

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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

  • 18 May 2006 - The Arizona Geothermal Working Group will hold the first-ever statewide conference on direct use geothermal energy development, "Using the Earth's Energy - Arizona Geothermal Direct Use" in Tempe. For more information, email Amanda Ormond at 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. Abstracts are due 15 March 2006.

  • Arizona is in the process of revising its renewable portfolio standard. The state regulatory commission is proposing to include direct use applications as well as electricity production from geothermal. This change will encourage regulated utilities to develop direct use projects to meet renewable energy generation requirements. If successful, Arizona will be the first state to institutionalize in a portfolio standard the benefits of direct use in offsetting natural gas and propane use.

  • On 6 February 2006, utility Salt River Project (SRP) set a new target of generating 15% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. SRP management will meet with interested stakeholders to solicit further input to achieve this increased sustainable-portfolio target. Currently, about 5% of SRP's retail sales are met through renewable resources such as solar, hydro, landfill gas, geothermal and wind, as well as conservation and energy-efficiency measures. SRP is the largest provider of electricity in the Valley, serving nearly 870,000 customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. For more information.

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

  • 7 March 2006 - The Geysers Geothermal Association Spring Membership Dinner will be held at the Los Robles Lodge in Santa Rosa. No host cocktails at 6:00 P.M., dinner at 7:00 P.M. The cost is $32. Ken Williamson, Ted Wilmsen, and Harry Bain will speak on "The legacy of Unocal in geothermal and The Geysers." For more information.

  • 23-24 May 2006 - The California Geothermal Energy Collaborative (CGEC) will convene the 2006 California Geothermal Summit at the University of California-Davis Alumni Center on 23 May. The following day, CGEC will hold a half-day workshop on "California’s RPS Program–—A Geothermal Viewpoint." Proceedings from the last California Geothermal Summit are available online. For more information.

    The CGEC's new website, hosted by the University of California at Davis, will be online by the end of February. Beginning in early March, more general information, registration forms, and hotel information for both the summit and workshop will be available on the CGEC website.

  • Calpine Corporation has paid off its existing operating lease and related debt for The Geysers geothermal assets for approximately $275 million, giving it full ownership of the facility. The company previously leased its 19 Geysers power plants from Steam Host LLC. Calpine used its $2 billion debtor-in-possession (DIP) collateral structure. The DIP facility will be secured by Geysers assets, liens on all unencumbered assets, and junior liens on all encumbered assets of Calpine and its subsidiaries that are debtors-in-possession. Calpine filed for Chapter 11 in December 2005. For more information.

  • Calpine closed its unique 6,500-square foot Geothermal Visitor Center in Middletown earlier this month. What will happen to the visitor center, which hosted many local and area-wide meetings, and the artifacts, photos, records and displays it contains remains to be seen (Source: "Calpine closes visitor center" by Terre Logsdon, Lake County Record-Bee, 3 February 2006).


    Charlene Wardlow
    Charlene Wardlow
    • Charlene Wardlow of Calpine Corporation was the featured BLM Advisory Council Member in the 17 January 2006 issue of News.bytes. A member of BLM's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council, Wardlow is a geothermal engineer at The Geysers. She has extensive experience working on geothermal permitting processes on public lands and has strong associations with alternative energy organizations including service as a board member on the Geothermal Resources Council.

  • On 19 January 2006, Encore Clean Energy, Inc. announced that, based upon the recent demonstration of the Phase One Magnetic Piston Generator (MPG) prototype, ThermaSource Inc. will proceed to Phase Two. In Phase Two, the Encore/ThermaSource venture proposes to engineer, build, and demonstrate a larger-scale MPG. This proposed new MPG will be designed to be installed on a geothermal well-bore, connected to heat exchangers in a closed-loop for converting the "free fuel" of geothermal heat into a valuable new source of electricity. ThermaSource has received a conditional commitment letter from a major geothermal facility in The Geysers geothermal field in Northern California to test the Phase Two MPG geothermal heat recovery unit. For more information.

  • On 17 January 2006, the California Energy Commission (CEC) recommended five proposals totaling $3.4 million for funding from the Geothermal Research and Development Account (GRDA). The five projects are: (1) Bottle Rock Power Corporation - Increasing Steam Production from an Existing Well Using Near-Horizontal Drilling Technology - $880,237; (2) Fort Bidwell Indian Community Geothermal - Exploration Drilling, Assessment and Demonstration in Indian Country - $1,139,814; (3) Mammoth Pacific LP - Rhyolite Plateau Geothermal Exploration - $896,047; (4) Town of Mammoth Lakes - Structuring Geothermal Heating District for Mammoth Lakes - $191,176; and (5) Imageair Inc. - Application of InSAR to the monitoring and mitigation of surface subsidence from increased geothermal development in the Imperial Valley - $292,726. For more information.

    It is anticipated that a new solicitation for GRDA proposals will be issued in the late Spring of 2006. Information regarding the new solicitation will be posted on the CEC Geothermal Program website when available.

  • CEC, according to the"2006 Renewable Energy Investment Plan," (CEC-300-2006-003-CMF) expects to disburse up to $750 million over the next five years to support the development of renewable energy resources. CEC proposes allocating $285 million for the New Renewable Facilities Program; $360 million for Emerging Renewables, including the Governor’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative or California Solar Initiative; $75 million for production incentives for existing solid-fuel biomass facilities and solar thermal electric facilities; and $30 million for Consumer Education. To provide maximum flexibility to adjust to changing market conditions, the Energy Commission recommends a legislative change to remove existing restrictions. The adopted report will be presented to the State Legislature by 31 March 2006.

  • The CEC has issued a new Consultant Report entitled "Building a 'Margin of Safety' Into Renewable Energy Procurements: A Review of Experience with Contract Failure" (Publication No. CEC-300-2006-004). The report summarizes experience with renewable energy contracts executed with investor-owned utilities, with publicly owned utilities, and as a result of government incentive auctions, focusing on the degree to which such contracts yield on-line and on-schedule renewable energy projects. It found that, geothermal projects had a 84% success rates for California renewable energy Qualifying Facilities contracts—the highest of any renewable technology. Of contracts totaling 999 MW of geothermal capacity signed in the first quarter of 1987, 841 MW were online by the third quarter of 1995.

  • Glendale Water & Power (GWP) has begun to receive geothermal energy from its new Power Sales Agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) for a 3-MWe share of the Ormat Geothermal Energy Project.  GWP will receive approximately 25 GWh of geothermal energy each year for the next 25 years. With the addition of the Ormat project, approximately 16% of GWP's electric sales will come from renewable power resources. SCPPA will purchase the output from the Ormat facilities and sell it to GWP. For more information.

  • Western utilities and other groups have proposed hundreds of "energy corridors" for electric transmission and natural gas pipelines in 11 states under a provision of the EPAct of 2005. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power asked for formal designation of its recently proposed "Green Path" high-voltage line, to be developed with the Imperial Irrigation District and non-utility Citizens Energy, as a way to reach developing geothermal, wind and solar projects.

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Colorado

For further information on geothermal activities in Colorado, contact:

Paul Bony
Delta-Montrose Electric Association
Tel: (970) 240-1278
Email: pbony@dmea.com

  • 27-28 March 2006 - The Intermountain Harvesting Energy Summit in Loveland will explore how renewable energy and energy efficiency can enhance farm income and revitalize rural communities. The summit will bring together over 200 leaders from agriculture, business, finance, academia, government, and advocacy organizations in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. For more information.

  • On 7 February 2006, the DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) based in Golden was forced to layoff 32 people to help meet a $28 million budget shortfall. On 20 February, following President Bush's visit to the national lab, DOE officials found $5 million in other DOE accounts to restore funding for the scientists who were laid off. DOE officials blamed congressional earmarks and reprogramming efforts for the budget shortfall. NREL is DOE's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.

  • On 2 February 2006, Colorado State House leadership confirmed that they will form a House Select Committee on Strategic Renewable Energy. The Select Committee will be made up five members of State House of Representatives. The committee will hold two to three public study hearings during the 2006 session. For more information.

  • The University of Colorado at Boulder Leeds School of Business is offering a new graduate-level certificate course in its 2006 Spring Semester. Assessing Sustainable Energy Technologies will examine alternative options to traditional sources of fossil-based energy and their technical and economic feasibility. The course focuses on fundamentals of the technology and cost of emerging energy technologies, including solar, wind, biomass, oceanic, geothermal, hydropower, fuel cell (hydrogen), nuclear, and other more exotic sources of energy. The course will include a traditional in-class format as well as a synchronous distance learning format.

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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

  • Introduced on 25 January 2006, the "Relating to Energy" bill (House Bill 2308, Senate Bill 2771), which is working its way through the State Legislature, addresses Hawaii's decades-long over-dependence on imported oil for its energy by establishing a bold, strategic energy policy framework to encourage and support market-based development of reliable, cost-effective, more self-reliant energy systems. The bill tightens and establishes penalties for public utilities who fail to meet the renewable energy standards of 20% by 2020, streamlines permitting of renewable energy projects, increases net energy metering eligibility for systems up to 500 kW, and creates a world-class Hawaii renewable hydrogen program with a $10 million fund.

    Hawai'i relies on imported oil for 77% of the energy generated in the state. According to a report by the Rocky Mountain Institute, the increase in oil prices since 2002 has cost the state more than $1 billion, increasing household energy expenses more than $1,500.
  • ORMAT Technologies, Inc.'s subsidiary, Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) has completed the second stage of a two-stage refinancing agreement for its Puna Geothermal Project. The second stage refinanced two new geothermal wells for production and injection; drilling was completed in November 2005. The completion of the drilling, together with meeting certain other operation conditions that were agreed upon between the Lessor and PGV, enabled the parties to supplement the original agreement by entering into a similar operating lease transaction in the amount of $12 million for the additional wells, bringing total project financing to $83 million. PGV plans to add 8 MW by 2007. For more information.

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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 Idaho Department of Water Resources' (IDWR) Energy and Technical Services Divisions has conducted several outreach efforts in the Gem State since the first of December 2005.

    • Staff held a planning meeting with Climate Solutions, which is hosting the Spokane Harvesting Clean Energy Conference in late February. IDWR is a sponsor, and will be hosting a geothermal display. One of the guest speakers at the conference is Idaho’s own Leo Ray, who will be speaking about his successes using geothermal to raise catfish, tilapia, and alligators

    • On 16 February 2006, the Geothermal Energy Team continued working on the strategic plan. C.J. Northrup of Boise State University explained the Intermountain Geothermal Consortium and the possibilities of future research projects. He also discussed BSU’s geophysical capabilities. Ken Neely IDWR addressed the use of geothermal in aquaculture.

    • The Idaho Energy Division was one of the major sponsors of the 2006 Farm Bill Renewable Energy Grants workshops in late January. About 175 people attended sessions in Boise, Twin Falls, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, and Cascade. The presentations and discussions focused on wind and geothermal applications under the renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements grant program, and the value added producer grant and loan guarantee programs.

    • On 24 January 2006, IDWR hosted the geothermal power production webcast in its Boise office. It invited all the members of the Idaho Geothermal Energy Working Group and encouraged utilities across the state to host a downlink in their service areas.

    • On 5-6 January 2006, the Intermountain West Geothermal Working Group conducted a meeting in Boise to discuss the status of DOE's geothermal programs, how to build relationships with the industry, methods of complementing the federal geothermal programs, and industry’s research and training needs. Doug Glaspey of U.S. Geothermal updated the attendees on the progress of re-opening the Raft River geothermal power production plant in Cassia County.

    • IDWR hosted the Third Geothermal Energy Team meeting in Cascade on 7 December 2005. Approximately 15 participants learned about the City of Boise’s District Heating system, and grant opportunities through the Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor. The team also continued to develop a geothermal energy strategic plan

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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@mt.gov

No news.

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Nebraska

No news.

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Nevada

For further information on geothermal activities in Nevada, contact:

Christy Morris
Program Manager - Oil, Gas, and Geothermal
Nevada Division of Minerals
Tel: (775) 684-7045
Email:clmorris@govmail.state.nv.us

  • Two proposals submitted by the Nevada Geothermal Working Group have received funding under the GPW Program. (1) Geothermal Industrial Park, Elko - The project involves expansion and diversification of a highly successful district heating system by constructing a geothermally-heated industrial park to be located on the western edge of town. Project partners are Chilton Engineering and the Oregon Institute of Technology, Geo-Heat Center. Funds will be used to provide engineering assistance as construction develops for an estimated 100,000 square feet of floor space.

    (2) Mt Grant Hospital, Hawthorne - Engineering assistance in the form of a feasibility study is being requested by the hospital staff so that decisions can be made as to the lowest life-cycle cost of a replacement of a fuel oil / propane heating plant with a geothermal system. Project partners are the Mt. Grant Hospital and the Oregon Institute of Technology, Geo-Heat Center. The amount of the grants has not yet been announced.

  • On 23 January 2006, the U.S. Navy and ORMAT announced a 50-year contract to further develop geothermal energy on the Fallon Naval Air Station. A 30-MW geothermal power plant near the base's southeast border will likely be online in three to four years. Output from the plant will be sold through a long-term power purchase agreement to Sierra Pacific Power Company. The U.S. Navy will receive 5% of all gross income from the power sales during the first 20 years of the plant's existence, 15% thereafter (Source: "Navy plans 30-megawatt power plant at NAS Fallon" by Burke Wasson, Lahontan Valley News, 24 January 2006). ORMAT expects to invest about $80 million for the power plant at NAS Fallon; the company hopes to recover its investment in 10 years.

  • On the day it announced plans to build a 30-MW geothermal power plant at NAS Fallon, ORMAT made what it considers a "small" contribution to Churchill County, where it has done business for two decades. "This is a modest way of saying 'thank you' for 20 years of business between ourselves and Churchill County ," said ORMAT Vice President Dan Schochet, as he presented a check for $20,000 to Churchill County Manager Brad Goetsch. The money has been earmarked for lights at the county ball fields on Sheckler Road (Source: "Geothermal company gives $20,000 to county as a 'thank you'" by Anne McMillin Goodale, Reno Gazette-Journal, 27 January 2006).

  • On 17 January 2006, ORMAT subsidiary Ormat Technologies, Inc. announced that it had filed a universal shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The shelf registration statement, when declared effective by the SEC, will allow Ormat Technologies to issue various types of securities in one or more offerings up to a total of $1 billion. In a small section of the prospectus, Ormat says that money raised will be used for financing possible acquisition and for re-purchase of its own shares (Source: "Ormat readies for swoop on Calpine geothermal assets" by Merav Ankori, Globes [online] , 18 January 2006).

  • The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe plans to develop the Pyramid Lake Energy Project on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation located in Washoe, Lyon, and Storey counties. The project includes geophysical exploration surveys, gravity and magnetic, mapping, thermal gradient drill holes, and slim holes. Welsco Drilling Corp. began drilling thermal gradient holes in November 2005 (Source: Nevada Geothermal Update, January 2006 [The final issue of the Nevada Geothermal Update until funding is secured for continued publication]).

  • In response to a September 2005 request for proposals, University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Master's student Garrett S. Vice has received funding to study structural controls on geothermal fields in northwestern Nevada, with a focus on sites near Pyramid Lake, working under the direction of Dr. James Faulds. Funding for the student stipend and tuition was awarded to the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy (GBCGE) at UNR through the Applied Research Initiative program.

  • The Nevada Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Task Force has launched a new website designed to be a single source for information about renewable energy, energy conservation, and energy efficiency in Nevada. The Nevada Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Task Force was created by the 2001 Session of the Nevada Legislature to advise the Nevada State Office of Energy.

  • On 11 January 2006, following the December 2005 closure of the 1,580-MW coal-fired Mohave Generating Station near Laughlin, which shut down rather than install pollution control equipment estimated to cost $1.1 billion, tribal leaders and environmental groups filed a petition with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The petition calls for reinvesting proceeds from the sale of pollution credits in renewable energy projects. The station's owners, including Southern California Edison, are expected to receive about $40 million per year from the sale of pollution credits that allowed the release of 53,000 tons of sulfur dioxide. The tribes and environmental groups want those proceeds to be invested in energy projects that will help tribal communities affected by the plant's closure. About 200 mostly Navajo coal mine workers lost their jobs when the plant shut its doors (Source: "Groups want plant closure proceeds invested in renewable energy" by Terence Chea, SFGate.com, 12 January 2006).

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New Mexico

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

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

  • 16-17 May 2006 - The New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) is making plans for the 2006 annual meeting of the New Mexico Geothermal Energy Working Group. It will be held 16-17 May in Albuquerque. There will be technical sessions on geothermal direct use, power generation, and heat pump systems. Updates will be provided on New Mexico’s geothermal work-in-progress, water issues, and the renewable energy production tax credit law. A geothermal site tour to the Jemez Springs area is also being planned.
  • On 13 January 2006, Governor Bill Richardson outlined his 2006 clean energy and water infrastructure legislative agenda. The Governor's legislative agenda includes a Renewable Energy Transmission Authority which will lead New Mexico’s efforts to develop and export its wind and solar resources; a solar tax credit of $5 million per year; a $10-million land conservation fund; and investments of more than $45 million in needed water infrastructure projects. For more information.

    Governor Bill Richardson was named "2006 Energy Management Executive of the Year" at the "Clean Energy Moving Forward" event on 27 January 2006. The event focused on New Mexico’s progress on clean energy issues and summarized proposed clean energy legislation and initiatives.

  • Legislation has been introduced in the State Legislature to set aside $10 million in oil and gas revenues to fund renewable energy, recreation, and farming projects within the state. House Bill 188, Land, the "Wildlife, and Clean Energy Act," would set aside a portion of the existing Oil and Gas Conservation Tax to fund several conservation initiatives statewide. A surge in oil and gas revenues left the state with more than $1.4 billion in funding this legislative session. The bill is currently in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee (Source: "Lawmakers: Oil money to fund renewable energy" by Nathan Gonzalez, Farmington Daily Times, 26 January 2006).

  • House Bill 111 and companion bill, Senate Bill 317, have been introduced to create a New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority to export some of the state's vast clean energy resources in wind, solar and biomass energy. They are currently in the Senate Finance Committee.

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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 activities in Oregon, contact:

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

  • 20-21 March 2006 - The "Positioning Oregon as an International Leader in the Clean Energy Industry Conference" in Bend will bring together key stakeholders from throughout the state to assess current trends, identify opportunities, confront challenges, and unveil bold new measures for advancing Oregon as an international leader in Clean Energy. For more information.

  • 8 April 2006 - An "Information Workshop on Renewable Energy Production Payments" will be held in Salem. The workshop will focus on production based payments (or renewable energy tariffs) for renewable energy systems. The goal of the workshop is to understand the critical design features of putting in place effective and efficient production based payment policies, with a focus on small- to medium-sized projects. Announcement.

  • On 19 January 2006, Former Governor John Kitzhaber and State Senator Ben Westlund filed a groundbreaking ballot measure to ensure that Oregon remains a leader in clean and renewable energy and moves toward independence from foreign oil. The Oregon Apollo ballot initiative is designed to spur the growth of the state's biofuels industry and build the state’s clean energy braintrust through the creation of Centers of Excellence in urban and rural areas across the state. These Centers will drive Oregon’s efforts to pioneer in clean and renewable technology development, including geothermal, and job creation. Supporters of the initiative need to collect 75,000 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The campaign is seeking volunteers.

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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

  • 13-14 March 2006 - The Texas Geothermal Working Group will hold the first-ever Geothermal Energy Generation in Oil and Gas Settings Conference at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The two-day meeting will bring together geothermal industry experts, hydrocarbon development companies, state and federal government agencies, research groups, and other interested parties to discuss the economic feasibility of geothermal energy from hot water in oil and gas settings. For more information.

  • El Paso Electric Company (EPE) has issued its 2006 Diversity Request for Proposals to solicit competitive proposals for diverse renewable energy resources that meet the requirements of the New Mexico Renewable Energy Act and New Mexico Public Regulation Commission’s (NMPRC) renewable portfolio standard requirements beginning January 2008. EPE primarily seeks non-wind energy resources. The NMPRC's Reasonable Cost Threshold caps geothermal at $0.06254 per kWh. EPE will receive two kWh credits for each geothermal kWh produced. Proposals are due 29 March 2006. For more information.

  • On 10 January 2006, Dallas-based FedEx Kinko's announced that it had increased its total green power commitment by 67.5 % to an estimated 40 million kWh per year. The company now buys renewable energy equal to approximately 14% of its total annual U.S. electricity needs. More than 30% of the company's U.S. retail locations purchase green power or RECs. As a result of these new purchases, FedEx Kinko's expects to avert more than 26,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, equivalent to the power used by over 3,900 U.S. households in a year. 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) 865-9035
Email: robertblackett@utah.gov

  • 22-23 March 2006 - The Utah Geothermal Working Group is holding a two-day workshop on direct-use of geothermal resources and ground-source heat pump (GHP) applications at the Quality Inn Airport in Salt Lake City. The first day will be devoted to ground-source heat pumps; the second to direct-use application of geothermal resources. Afternoon field trips to GHP and geothermal direct-use sites will follow each of the morning technical sessions. DOE's GeoPowering the West Program, Sound Geothermal, the Geo-Heat Center, the Washington State University Energy Program, the University of Utah Energy and Geoscience Institute, and Utah Geological Survey's State Energy Program are co-sponsoring the workshop. IGSHPA will grant continuing education credits to their members who attend. For more information.

  • The State Energy Program of the Utah Geological Survey is seeking a full-time Renewable Energy Coordinator. The coordinator is primarily responsible for coordinating and implementing the renewable energy efforts of the State Energy Program (SEP). The SEP operates within the Utah Geological Survey and is responsible for the promotion of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and dissemination of energy information within Utah. Duties in promoting renewable energy include overseeing incentive programs, coordinating public outreach efforts, working with contractors and other parties in promoting the Program’s goals, development and/or coordination of projects, and other duties as-needed. Interested parties should apply by 7 March 2006 through the State of Utah Job Bank. For more information.

  • Raser Technologies, Inc., a technology licensing company that develops and licenses advanced electric motor, electronic motor drive, power generation and related technologies, announced on 19 January 2006 a definitive agreement to acquire Amp Resources. Under the agreement, Raser will assume ownership of multiple, long-term geothermal energy sales contracts with public and private utilities. These contracts call for an aggregate of $966 million from gross energy sales over 20 years. It is anticipated that these power generation projects will be developed and placed in service by December 2007. Headquartered in Draper, Amp Resources has geothermal projects in Cove Fort, Utah; Salt Wells and Stillwater, Nevada; and Surprise Valley, California. For more information.

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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

  • A campaign was launched on 25 January 2006 to place a renewables portfolio standard (RPS) ballot initiative on the November ballot. The Washington Energy Security initiative will guarantee that by 2020, 15% of the electricity from Washington’s largest utilities comes from plentiful and home-grown renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, and help homeowners and businesses save on energy bills. The campaign is seeking volunteers to help gather signatures.

  • House Bill 2939, the Energy Freedom Program, is making its way through the State Legislature. The bill would create a $100-million fund to provide grants and low-cost loans for strategic investment in biofuel and other renewable energy projects, research, and infrastructure that advance Washington State toward energy independence. The bill's intent is to reduce Washington's dependence on imported oil, expand renewable fuel production and use in Washington, improve use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, and promote sustainable rural economic development by creating new jobs and stimulating business and economic activity in local communities across Washington. It is currently in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

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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

No news.

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