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Federal Update
Geothermal could produce 100,000 MWe by 2050 MIT study finds

Geothermal Calendar of Events

Current Solicitations
National News
State Roundup


South Dakota

Capitol Building
Federal Update

Fiscal Year 2007 funding

  • Continuing Resolution - The House passed the $463.5 billion joint funding resolution (H.J. Res. 20) on 31 January 2007 by a vote of 286-140. Dave Obey (D-WI), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, co-wrote the measure with Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The legislation will go to the Senate where it is expected to pass.

    The joint funding resolution extends spending for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2007 for many federal agencies, including the Department of Energy. Most programs are funded at FY06 levels. The bill appropriates $1.47 billion for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) . Despite the increase in EERE funding, however, the fate of the Geothermal Energy Program remains uncertain. The House funded the Geothermal Energy Program at $5 million in FY06; the Senate—$23.5 million. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has repeatedly called for more funding for the geothermal program.

    The current CR expires 15 February 2007. For more information.

From the White House

  • FY08 Budget - The President’s FY08 Budget will be released on 5 February 2007. It is expected that the Administration will continue its hard-line on geothermal energy and propose "zeroing-out" the program again in FY08. In addition, the budget may contain proposals to repeal provisions of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 that provide the Bureau of Land Management dedicated funding to ensure completion of work on the substantial geothermal lease backlog, new national assessment, and the planned programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The budget may also again propose repealing EPAct provisions dedicating 25% of geothermal royalty revenues to county governments (Source: GEA Update, 29 January 2007).

  • President Bush issued an Executive Order entitled "Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management" on 24 January 2007. The executive order calls for Federal agencies to ensure that at least 50% of the statutorily required renewable energy they consume comes from new (placed in service after 1 January 1999) renewable sources; and to reduce their agency's greenhouse gas emissions by 3% per year through fiscal year 2015, or 30% by the end of fiscal year 2015. For more information.

  • On 20 December 2006, President Bush signed the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 (H.R. 6111) into law. Among other items, the act extends the production tax credit for electricity produced from geothermal energy. It extends the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB) program through 2008, and increases the annual's program level to $1.2 billion.

From the Senate

  • On 17 January 2007, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the new Senate Democratic majority is moving forward to bring dramatic change to America’s energy policy. "I am making better energy policy a top priority of the Senate to make our country safer, lower energy rates, create domestic jobs, and protect the environment," he said, standing with new Committee Chairs who will be key in transforming the nation's energy policies and moving legislation through the Senate. For more information.

  • National Energy and Environment Security Act of 2007 (S. 6) - Introduced by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) on 4 January 2007, the bill enhances the security of the United States by reducing the dependence of the United States on foreign and unsustainable energy sources and the risks of global warming by: (1) requiring reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases; (2) diversifying and expanding the use of secure, efficient, and environmentally-friendly energy supplies and technologies; (3) reducing the burdens on consumers of rising energy prices; (4) eliminating tax giveaways to large energy companies; and (5) preventing energy price gouging, profiteering, and market manipulation. It has been referred to the Committee on Finance.

From the House

  • Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act of 2007 (H.R. 6) - By a vote of 264-163, the House of Representatives passed the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 on 18 January 2007. The legislation creates a "Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve" to invest in alternative energy. The bill could raise an estimated $14 billion by repealing lease and royalty tax breaks incentives enacted over the past several years for oil and gas companies, and ensuring royalty payments on deep water Gulf of Mexico production. It does not specify how the money would be spent. The bill is now in the Senate.

  • Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) Act (H.R. 364) - House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) has resurrected a proposal to create a new $3.3 billion "high risk" research program at the Energy Department. Under the plan, an ARPA-E Initiative would be created to address energy. It would be modeled after similar research programs at the Defense Department. ARPA-E would focus on reducing U.S. dependence on oil by developing clean energy sources. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Science and Technology. For more information.

  • H.R. 197 - Introduced 4 January 2007 by Representative Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), the bill would extend the production tax credit for renewable energy, including geothermal, to 31 December 2014. Pomeroy said he would like to see the production tax credit it made permanent. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Global warming

  • On 18 January 2007, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced plans to create a Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and to introduce energy legislation based on the committee's recommendations by the Fourth of July. For more information.

  • Several bills addressing climate change have been introduced in the House and Senate:

    • The Climate Stewardship Act of 2007 (H.R. 620), introduced by Representatives John Olver (D-MA) and and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) would establish a a market-driven system of greenhouse gas tradeable allowances that will limit greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

    • The Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act of 2007 (S. 280), introduced by Senators Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ), establishes a market-driven system of greenhouse gas tradeable allowances. The bill would, without weakening the economic position of the United States or otherwise imposing hardship on its citizens, reduce the Nation's greenhouse gas emissions substantially enough and quickly enough between 2007 and 2050 to preserve the feasibility of forestalling catastrophic, manmade global climate change. Presidential hopefuls Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) have signed on as cosponsors to the bill.

    • Introduced by Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT), the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act (S. 309) amends the Clean Air Act to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. The bill would reduce by 2050 the aggregate net level of global warming pollution emissions of the United States to a level that is 80% below the aggregate net level of global warming pollution emissions for calendar year 1990. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has called the bill the "gold standard."

    • Electric Utility Cap-and-Trade Act (S. 317) - Introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tom Carper (D-DE), the bill would establish a national cap-and-trade system that would first cap, and then ratchet down electricity sector emissions by 25% below projected levels by 2020. Calpine, Entergy, Exelon, Florida Power & Light, PG&E Corporation, and Public Service Enterprise Group have endorsed the legislation. For more information.

  • For information on where the presidential candidates stand on the issue of global warming, see the League of Conservation Voters "The Heat is On" website for "a running record of statements candidates make on global warming out on the campaign trail."

Renewable energy in 2007 Farm Bill

  • Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to give energy more attention in the next farm bill. He chaired a full committee meeting on 10 January 2007 to discuss agriculture and rural America's role in enhancing national energy security. Harkin has said energy will be the driving force of the next farm bill.

  • U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns proposed $1.6 billion in new funding for renewable energy, with a focus on cellulosic energy research and production, as part of the Administration's 2007 farm bill proposals. Secretary Johanns reported on the Bush Administration's farm bill proposals in a 31 January 2007 webcast. For more information.

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Geothermal could produce 100,000 MWe by 2050 MIT study finds

The thermal energy stored in the Earth's crust could be converted into electricity to provide a substantial portion of future U.S. power needs, probably at competitive prices and with minimal environmental impact, finds a major study on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) released on 22 January 2007 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In spite of its enormous potential, however, the geothermal option for the United States has been largely ignored.

The Future of Geothermal Energy
"The Future of Geothermal Energy – Impact of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) on the United States in the 21st Century," drafted by an 21-member panel of experts supported by DOE and headed by Jefferson Tester of MIT, evaluates the technical and economic feasibility of EGS becoming a major supplier of primary energy for U.S. base-load generation capacity by 2050. The study finds that:
  • Geothermal energy from EGS represents a large, indigenous resource that can provide base-load electric power and heat at a level that can have a major impact on the United States, while incurring minimal environmental impacts.

  • The accessible U.S. EGS resource base is enormous—greater than 13 million quads or 130,000 times the current annual consumption of primary energy in the United States.

  • With a reasonable investment in R&D, EGS could provide 100 GWe or more of cost-competitive generating capacity in the next 50 years.

  • EGS provides a secure source of power for the long term that would help protect America against economic instabilities resulting from fuel price fluctuations or supply disruptions.

  • Most of the key technical requirements to make EGS work economically over a wide area of the country are in effect, with remaining goals easily within reach. This achievement could provide performance verification at a commercial scale within a 10- to 15-year period nationwide.

The study's authors propose an EGS program that would require a combined public and private investment of $800 million to $1 billion in the first 15 years—about the same money needed to build one new clean-coal power plant, or one third the cost of a new nuclear generator.

Related stories:

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National News

Request for Information

The Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking information from the geothermal industry and academia regarding the most effective and efficient ways to improve productivity of geothermal reservoirs—Comments due 12 February 2007.

Request for Information DE-PS36-07GO37001

  • 8-9 March 2007 - The U.S. Air Force Energy Forum will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. The Energy Forum is co-sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The Forum will focus on energy from both the demand and supply side, as it relates to infrastructure, vehicles, and aircraft. For more information.

  • 15 March and 4 May 2007 - The Utility Geothermal Working Group (UGWG) will hold two workshops with the support of DOE’s GeoPowering the West Initiative, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). For more information. For a list of 2007 geothermal webinars.

    Materials from WAPA's Geothermal Power Generation Webinar broadcast on 6 December 2006 are available online. The webinar discussed the variety of geothermal technologies, including what temperatures are required, where resources are located, and how electric cooperatives and public power utilities can tap into this abundant base load renewable resource. For webinar materials.

  • TBD April 2007 - The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) announces plans for a Geothermal Resource and Finance Workshop to bring together professionals in the geothermal community to discuss the issues and strategies involved in identifying and developing geothermal resources in the United States, and to discuss approaches and considerations for financing geothermal projects. The exact date and location of the workshop are to-be-determined. For more information, contact Karl Gawell, GEA, Tel: (202) 454-5264 or

  • On 22 January 2007, several major U.S. corporations called on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a new alliance of major businesses and leading climate and environmental groups, calls for a nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions that would lead to reductions of 10 to 30% over the next 15 years.

    Alliance members include Alcoa, BP America, Caterpillar Inc., Duke Energy, DuPont, FPL Group, General Electric, Lehman Brothers, PG&E Corporation, PNM Resources, Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, and World Resources Institute.

  • Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) plans to issue a 2008 agency-wide Request for Proposals in March or early April 2007. The RFP will be open to all renewable energy technologies, and will include R&D in transmission, energy efficiency, hydropower, and several other areas. For more information.

  • The December 2006 (Volume 27, No. 4) issue of the Geo-Heat Center of the Oregon Institute of Technology's Quarterly Bulletin is now available. Entitled, "Utilizing Geothermal," the publication contains the following stories: From Creamery to Brewery with Geothermal Energy: Klamath Basin Brewery Company; Bonneville Hot Springs Resort; Ouray Hot Springs Motels, Lodges and Spas; The Veterans Administration Hospital District Heating System; Micro-Geothermal Devices for Low-Energy Air Conditioning in Desert Climates; and Geothermal Projects Proposed for the Oregon Institute of Technology Campus.

  • For the first time, the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) has posted PowerPoint presentations from its 2006 Annual Meeting Technical Program on its website. More than 1,000 attended the 2006 Annual Meeting and GEA Trade Show in San Diego, California. The 2007 GRC Annual Meeting and GEA Trade Show will take place in Sparks, Nevada, 30 September-3 October 2007. For the PowerPoint presentations.

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State Roundup


For further information on geothermal in Alaska, contact:

David Lockard
Alaska Energy Authority
Tel: (907) 269-4541

  • 24-26 April 2007 - The Alaska Geothermal Working Group will meet during the Rural Energy Conference 2007 in Fairbanks. The meeting is supported by DOE's GeoPowering the West. For more information, contact David Lockard, Alaska Energy Authority (AEA).

  • The first draft of the Manley Hot Springs geothermal pre-feasibility study was completed in December 2006 with support from DOE's GeoPowering the West. The final report will be available in February 2007.

  • Ormat Technologies, Inc. has submitted a lease application for state lands at Mt. Spurr in anticipation of pursuing exploration of the geothermal resource. Mt. Spurr is less than 40 miles from the transmission system that supplies the rail belt grid with power. The average load on that grid is 600 MW.

  • The State of Alaska is studying the feasibility of completing the Swan-Tyee intertie in southeast Alaska. The intertie right-of-way crosses Bell Island, which has numerous hot springs. Geothermometry at Bell Island indicates a geothermal reservoir temperature of 135°C.

  • DOE and AEA are co-sponsoring a study of alternative energy resources available to the City of Nome to offset the high price of diesel fuel. AEA has issued a small contract to study the potential of developing the Pilgrim Hot Springs geothermal resource for power generation and sending that power to Nome over a 60-mile transmission line.

  • The second organic Rankine cycle (ORC) generator went online at Chena Hot Springs Resort in December 2006, and is now producing 200 kW net. Like its predecessor, ORC 2 uses a dual condenser system with an air-cooled condenser during the winter, and a water-cooled condenser in the summer. This allows for maximum efficiency and flexibility in all conditions.

    Chena Hot Springs Geothermal Power Plants
    ORC 1 and 2 units. ORC 2 is in the foreground. (Photo: Chena Hot Springs Resort)

    Chena Hot Springs, United Technologies, and United Technologies Research Center received the Power Engineering magazine Project-of-the-Year Award in the Renewable Energy Category for the ORC 1 200-kW geothermal power plant.

    The project also received a Green Power Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency and DOE.

    The innovative geothermal power plants were developed with support from DOE's Distributed Energy program and GeoPowering the West.

    For more information

  • Representative Thomas introduced legislation to create an Alternative Energy Grant Fund. House Bill 63, introduced on 16 January 2007, would allow the State Legislature to appropriate 10 cents per barrel of oil produced per year to the fund, when the average price of oil is at least $35 a barrel. Money in the fund may go for new or previously awarded existing grants to electric utilities for new or existing alternative energy projects, up to $10 million. Priority for funding shall be given to projects in areas where fossil fuel costs are higher than other areas of the state. The bill was referred to the Community and Regional Affairs and Finance Committees. Rep. Thomas introduced similar legislation in 2006.

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For further information on geothermal in Arizona, contact:

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

No news.

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For further information on geothermal in California, contact:

Elaine Sison-Lebrilla
Geothermal Program Manager
California Energy Commission

Tel: (916) 653-0363

  • On 31 January 2007, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted an interim Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Performance Standard. The Emissions Performance Standard requires that all new long-term commitments for baseload generation serving California consumers be with power plants that have emissions no greater than 1,100 pounds of CO2 per MWh (level of a combined cycle gas turbine plant). CPUC's actions implement Senate Bill 1368, and will help the state meet the greenhouse gas emissions goals of Assembly Bill 32. For more information.

  • Shuttered over 15 years ago, the Bottle Rock Geothermal Power Plant will begin to again generate electricity this year. Located in Cobb, in the Geysers Known Geothermal Resource Area of Lake County, the Bottle Rock plant will initially produce 20 MW; it could produce up to 50 MW in the future. The plant generated 12 MW out of an installed capacity of 55 MW when the previous owner, the California Department of Water Resources, closed it in 1990 due to a lack of steam. The plant is currently owned by US Renewables Group. For more information.

  • Assembly Bill 94, introduced by Lloyd E. Levine (D-Van Nuys) on 20 December 2006, would increase the amount of electricity generated per year from eligible renewable energy resources to 33% by 31 December 2020. Assembly member Levine, who chairs the Assembly’s Utilities and Commerce Committee, stated that "The benefits of this legislation are innumerable—the more we rely on renewable sources of energy, the more we stabilize electricity prices. Additionally, renewable energy resources stimulate sustainable economic development, create new employment opportunities, and reduce our reliance on imported fuels."

  • Western GeoPower Corp. has unveiled its new website. Western GeoPower is developing a 25.5 MW geothermal power plant in the The Geysers Unit 15 steamfield, as well as the South Meager Geothermal Project in British Columbia, Canada.


For further information on geothermal in Colorado, contact:

Angela Crooks
Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation
Tel: (303) 866-2309

  • The Colorado State Working Group, with support from DOE's GeoPowering the West, held a meeting in WAPA's Lakewood office on 31 January 2007. The agenda addressed several issues including DOE's GeoPowering the West initiative, Colorado geology, policy challenges and opportunities, geothermal heat pumps, financing geothermal development, and an overview of geothermal power generation technologies. For more information, contact Angela Crooks in the Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation.

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

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

No news.

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For further information on geothermal in Idaho, contact:

Gerry Galinato
Energy Division,
Idaho Department of Water Resources
Tel: (208) 287-4897
  • The Energy Division of the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) has been working hard to help organize the 7th annual Harvesting Clean Energy regional conference which took place in Boise, 28-30 January 2007. Energy Division staff led a tour of geothermally heated facilities in southwestern Idaho, participated on the geothermal energy panel; and also participated in the development of the Governor’s Renewable Energy Awards, which included a geothermal power project.

  • With support from DOE's GeoPowering the West and coordinated by the Idaho Energy Division, the Geo-Heat Center of the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) completed three preliminary feasibility studies of geothermal development projects:

    1. Preliminary feasibility study for a geothermal heat pump system at the Idaho Fish and Game headquarters in Boise,

    2. Preliminary feasibility study for a geothermal heat pump system for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s Schitsu’umsh Cultural Center in Plummer, and

    3. Assessment of greenhouse heating options with geothermal energy for Ward’s Greenhouse in Oreana.

  • Newly elected Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter has appointed David R. Tuthill, Jr. Interim Director of the IDWR effective 1 January 2007. Gerry Galinato, principal energy specialist of the Idaho Energy Division, briefed the new director about on-going renewable energy development programs, including geothermal energy, on 9 January 2007.

  • The Idaho Legislative Council’s Interim Committee on Energy, Environment and Technology has completed the Draft 2007 Idaho Energy Plan. The document discusses Idaho’s current energy picture, future energy supply under existing plans, policy statements, and recommended actions including increasing investments in energy conservation and in-state renewable resources. The Interim Committee met on 25 January 2007 to consider the report. For more information.

  • U.S. Geothermal Inc. co-sponsored the 23rd Annual Frank Church Conference on Public Affairs, "Global Warming: Beyond the Inconvenient Truth." Former Vice President Al Gore was a keynote speaker at the conference which took place 22 January 2007 at the Frank Church Institute at Boise State University. For more information.

    U.S. Geothermal Inc. received the Governor’s Clean Energy Award during the Harvesting Clean Energy Conference. The award recognizes U.S. Geothermal’s contribution to the development of renewable energy in Idaho. U.S. Geothermal is building a binary cycle geothermal power generation plant at Raft River.

  • Former Governor James Risch issued Executive Order 2006-45 on 28 December 2006 establishing the Idaho 25x25 Renewable Energy Council. The council will support the 25x25 initiative which envisions that, by 2025, America's farms, forests and ranches will provide 25% of the total energy consumed in the United States, while continuing to produce safe, abundant, and affordable food, feed and fiber.

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No news.

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For further information on geothermal in Montana, contact:

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

No news.

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No news.

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For further information on geothermal in Nevada, contact:

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

  • In early January 2007, Sierra Geothermal Power Corp. announced three new thermal gradient wells at the Pumpernickel Valley site. Temperature and seismic surveys, the last stages of exploration prior to drilling a deep production assessment well, are planned. Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. is conducting the exploration. Vancouver, Canada-based Sierra has an option to acquire a 50% interest in the Pumpernickel Geothermal Project from Nevada Geothermal Power.

    Sierra Power received a drilling permit to begin work on the Reese River Project, Lander County in December 2006. The company has recently acquired a large portfolio of geothermal projects.

  • In January 2007, Provo,Utah-based Raser Technologies, Inc. secured geothermal rights to two properties in Nevada under 50-year leases. In exchange for $25,000 in cash and 25,000 shares of restricted Raser common stock, Raser may begin development and construction of geothermal power plants on properties owned by Truckee River Ranches, LLC north of Las Vegas. Raser also obtained rights to the McGee geothermal lease properties. Located a few miles from Truckee River Ranches, the McGee properties are suspected to lie in a different geological fault area.

    Raser's Symetron(TM) motor and drive technology, which is designed to take electric motor technology closer to its theoretical limit, may help power the geothermal stations the company builds. For more information.

  • Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. has issued a progress report for the Blue Mountain geothermal site. Well 38-14 has been drilled to 2006 feet; drilling stopped in December 2006 due to equipment breakdowns. A replacement geothermal rig has been identified and is expected to be on site in mid-February. Well 38-14 is anticipated to be drilled to approximately 3500 feet and is expected to yield similar results to Well 28A-14. Drilling problems at Well 38-14 will not impact the overall development schedule. The Faulkner 1 Geothermal Power Plant at Blue Mountain will be brought on line in 2009. For more information.

  • According to a report published by GEA, the State of Nevada is poised to produce more than 1,000 MW of geothermal power over the next three to five years. This level of geothermal production would meet roughly 25% of the state's total power needs. Released in December 2006, "Geothermal Resource Development in Nevada – 2006" by Daniel J. Fleischmann finds that "Nevada has been particularly effective in recent years at taking steps to increase geothermal development."

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New Mexico

For further information on geothermal in New Mexico, contact:

Michael McDiarmid
New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources
Tel: (505) 476-3319

  • In his 2007 State of the State address, Governor Bill Richardson called on lawmakers to approve his four-part agenda including creating a Renewable
    Energy Transmission Authority to export solar, wind, and other renewable
    energy. Among his other goals are requiring utility companies to produce 15% of their energy from renewable resources by 2015, 25% by 2020; and becoming the first state in the country to use 100% renewable energy in government buildings.

  • The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously approved a large expansion to the state's net metering policy. The new rule will allow electric utility customers to net-meter electricity generated from renewable energy systems with a peak capacity of up to 80 MW. Previously, net metering in the state was limited to systems smaller than 10 kW (Source: "New Mexico Expands Net Metering to 80 MW,", 18 January 2007).

  • Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (Senate Bill 418) was introduced in the 2007 Regular Session by Michael S. Sanchez. The bill would increase the renewable energy portfolio of public utilities and rural electric cooperatives.

  • The New Mexico Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy (CCAE) tracks bills in the 2007 Legislative Session related to energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. For more information.

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North Dakota


No news.

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For further information on geothermal in Oregon, contact:

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

  • Governor Ted Kulongoski's 2007-2009 budget includes $25 million for renewable energy and $10 million for five renewable energy demonstration projects at state universities. The governor also plans to propose a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to the State Legislature this year, requiring that 25% of electricity come from new sources of renewable energy by 2025.

  • One project included in the governor's $10 million for university-based renewable energy demonstration projects is a geothermal power plant on the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) campus in Klamath Falls. With technical support provided by the Geo-Heat Center of OIT, a 1-MW geothermal power plant would be built using high-temperature water or steam from a proposed 5,000 to 6,000 feet-deep well.

    Geo-Heat Center, OIT The $4-million proposed flash plant would provide 100% of the campus's electricity needs, saving approximately $500,000 annually, and have a simple payback of less than six years. OIT would sell excess electricity to the grid through a net metering system. The plant would serve as a demonstration site and an educational training facility.

    The State Legislature must approve the governor's budget, which may not be until April or May, for the project to go forward.

    In addition to the 1-MW high temperature geothermal power plant, the Geo-Heat Center plans several other geothermal projects on its campus including a geothermal heat pump training center for technicians and designers, a 200 kW geothermal plant using low temperature water from existing wells, two geothermally heated greenhouses, two geothermally heated outdoor aquaculture ponds, and a covered grow-out tank facility. For more information.

  • On 16 January 2007, the Klamath Falls City Council voted to increase geothermal heating rates by 7.91%, affecting 14 downtown customers. The increase is not expected to have a significant impact on city customers who pay less than county customers. City customers pay a flat fee of 80% the cost of natural gas while county customers pay 56 cents per 100,000 BTU's used. Council member Bill Adams wants all customers to pay the same rate (Source: "Geothermal rates increase" by Gerry Baksys, Herald and News, 19 January 2007).

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South Dakota

No news.


For further information on geothermal in Texas, contact:

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

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

  • 12-13 June 2007 - With support from DOE's GeoPowering the West, the Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab will host the "2nd Geothermal Energy Utilization from Oil & Gas Development Conference" in Dallas. The international conference specializes in the enhancement of existing oil and gas wells for electrical production. Data and economics will be presented to assist in developing a renewable energy portfolio using existing wells. Abstracts are due 1 May 2007. For more information.

  • A "How to Win a USDA Rural Development Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Grant/Loan" workshop took place on 23 January 2007 in Brooks City-Base. Seven people from the Texas Geothermal Working Group attended the workshop to learn how to apply for USDA funding under the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program, Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill,for their geothermal heat pump, spa, power generation, and biofuel production projects.

    Several organizations sponsored the free, one-day workshop including USDA-Rural Development, the Blue Skyways Collaborative, Texas State Energy Conservation Office, Texas Office of Rural Community Affairs, Rural Alliance for Renewable Energy, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association, Texas General Land Office, and Texas Department of Agriculture.

  • The Texas General Land Office held its first-ever geothermal lease sale on 16 January 2007. More than 11,000 acres of state-owned submerged land in seven counties were made available for geothermal energy production. Lease tracts ranged from 1,174 to 2,480 acres and are in Jefferson, Galveston, Chambers, Calhoun, Jackson, Nueces, and Kleberg counties. The geothermal lease sale took place as part of the regular winter oil and gas lease sale held by the School Land Board. Ormat Technologies, Inc. bid the highest on all leases. A webcast of the School Land Board meeting will be available online.

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For further information on geothermal in Utah, contact:

Bob Blackett
Senior Geologist, Utah Geological Survey
Tel: (435) 865-9035

  • 14-15 March 2007 - The Utah Geothermal Working Group will hold a meeting in Salt Lake City, with support from DOE's GeoPowering the West. The objectives of the meeting are to inform and educate members about geothermal resources and development in Utah, and help remove barriers to geothermal development. For more information.

  • Two bills to extend the Renewable Energy Tax Credit have been introduced in the 2007 Utah Legislative Session. Senate Bill 13 (SB13) and House Bill 30 (HB30) both reauthorize individual and corporate tax credits for the installation of renewable energy systems: solar, wind, geothermal, geothermal heat pumps, biomass, and hydro.

    SB13 makes the corporate tax credit a production tax credit, which would help encourage larger renewable energy developments by giving a 0.35¢/kWh tax credit for electricity generated by qualified energy resources for four years. The 2007 Renewal of the Renewable Energy Tax Credit extends the tax credit to direct-use geothermal technologies, which are becoming more widely used in the residential sector. HB30 does not presently include a corporate production tax credit, but extends an investment tax credit of 10% up to $50,000 per unit for e renewable energy systems. For more information: Utah Clean Energy.

  • According to a Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV poll, 87% of surveyed Utah residents strongly or somewhat favor renewable-energy tax credits, and 92% favor more investment in energy. The poll of 418 people was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates 2-4 January 2007, and has a margin of error of 5% (Source: "Renewable energy gets thumbs-up from Utahns" by Josh Loftin, Deseret Morning News, 15 January 2007).

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For further information on geothermal in Washington, contact:

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

  • Climate change is already affecting Washington's economy, according to a study released on 10 January 2007. "Impacts of Climate Change on Washington's Economy," a study prepared by researchers from Washington and Oregon at the request of the Departments of Ecology and Community Trade and Economic Development, concludes that climate change will cost state residents millions of dollars. "But the impacts are manageable with an appropriate response, and climate change does open the door for new economic opportunities" notes co-author Bob Doppelt, director of the Climate Leadership Initiative at the University of Oregon. For more information.

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For further information on geothermal in Wyoming, contact:

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

  • On 25 January 2007, Ormat Technologies, Inc. announced that it had signed a shared-cost Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with DOE to validate the feasibility of producing commercial electricity using hot water produced in oilfield production. The project will be conducted at the DOE Rocky Mountain Oil Test Center (RMOTC) near Casper using Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 3 which produces over 190°F-water with flow rates capable of generating about 200 kW.

    Ormat will supply the ORC power unit at its own expense while the DOE will install and operate the facility for a 12-month period. Ormat and the DOE will share the total cost of the test and the study, with Ormat bearing approximately two thirds of the less than $1 million total investment. For more information.

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The Geothermal newsletter is produced with support from the U.S. Department of Energy, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Geothermal Technologies Program. Neither the U.S. Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the U.S. Government or any agency thereof.

The Geothermal Newsletter is produced by:
Liz Battocletti, Editor

345 South Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314 USA
Phone: 703 836 3654 / Fax: 703 836 6086

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