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spacerJuly 2002, Issue No. 2


Oregon-Washington Geothermal Working Group Kickoffs Activities

The inaugural meeting of the Oregon-Washington Geothermal Working Group, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) GeoPowering the West effort, was held in Portland on 20 June. The one-day event featured a morning session of technical presentations followed by a stakeholder working session in the afternoon.

Approximately 75 attendees representing private sector developers, system owners, government officials, and the public gathered to discuss opportunities and barriers to expanded geothermal development in Oregon and Washington. The primary issues identified by the group included public awareness and perception, education (of the public and state governments), production tax credits, renewable portfolio standards, and long term contracts for power generation projects.

Oregon and Washington have significant untapped geothermal potential. Eastern Oregon has direct use and power generation potential; eastern Washington has direct use potential. In addition, many of the volcanoes in the Cascades Range, which runs from northern California through Oregon into Washington, have power generation potential. The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory provided draft maps of geothermal resources for both states.

Prior to the meeting, several participants made a "geothermal tour" of Oregon which began with the the Geo-Heat Center located at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, and ended in Portland. Stops in and around Klamath Falls included the City District Heating System which provides geothermal heat to many of the city's municipal buildings; IFA Nurseries—a new, state-of-the-art 50,000 square-foot greenhouse which utilizes geothermal heat to grow tree seedlings; Liskey Greenhouses—a geothermal greenhouse which grows potted plants for the retail market; and a fish-farming operation which uses geothermal water to breed several types of colorful tropical fish.

IFA Geothermal Greenhouse

IFA Nurseries, Inc.
Geothermal Greenhouse, Klamath Falls, OR
(Photo courtesy of Toni Boyd, Geo-Heat Center)

A special stop was made at Newberry Volcano. Located 20 miles southeast of Bend, Newberry has significant geothermal power generation potential. Drilling in the area has encountered test well temperatures of 330-510°F.

Geothermal Group at Newberry Volcano

Geothermal Tour Group at Newberry Volcano
(Photo courtesy of Roger Hill, Sandia National Laboratories)

For more information on the OR-WA Working Group and geothermal activities in the two states, email Gordon Bloomquist in Washington, and Kevin Rafferty in Oregon.

(Sources: Kevin Rafferty, Roger Hill)


State Roundup
A summary of what is going on in the region as a whole, and the 19 states of GeoPowering the West

Current Solicitations
Money available from state and federal governments

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State Roundup

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Regional

  • 5-7 August
    Linking Utility Interests with Rural Resources
    Gatlinburg, TN
    Website

  • 22-25 September
    Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting
    Reno, NV
    Website

  • 30 September-2 October
    7th National Green Power Marketing Conference
    Washington, D.C.
    Website

  • 2-3 October
    West Coast Power
    San Francisco, CA
    Email: Greg Lesniewicz, Tel: (713) 463-9595, ext. 303

  • 9-11 October
    2002 World Energy Engineering Congress
    Featuring Renewable Energy Technology 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    Website

  • 15-17 November
    NW Energy Coalition Fall Board Meeting
    Portland, OR
    Website

  • FY 2002 State Energy Program Special Projects Awards
    Energy Secretary Abraham announced that DOE will provide $12,608,524 to 47 states and three territories for 138 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through State Energy Program Special Projects FY 2002 competitive grants. Four projects totaling $312,812 were awarded to study the costs and benefits of geothermal power in the Western United States, provide the public with information about geothermal energy, and inform community leaders of the geothermal energy potential in their area. Projects are located in Alaska, Idaho, New Mexico, and Utah. More details are available from the SEP website.

  • The new Farm Bill, which President Bush signed in May, presents new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities to develop, produce, and benefit from a wide range of renewable energy sources. The Rural Development Title has been amended to include startup funding for renewable energy projects. Farm- and ranch-based renewable energy projects are now considered "value added agricultural products" and thus eligible to bid for competitive grants. Grants can be used to develop feasibility studies and marketing and business plans, and as capital to establish alliances or business ventures. The maximum allowed for renewable energy projects is $500,000. Forty million dollars per year for six years has been earmarked for all value-added agriculture product development efforts. See the Environmental Law and Policy Center's website for a summary of the clean energy provisions of the Farm Bill. For a summary of the Farm Bill (Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002), click here.

  • DOE will help people throughout the West buy green power by offering a "green tags" program through its Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). The program will allow WAPA's customers to support renewable energy projects by buying their environmental attributes. Actual power from the projects will be sold into the traditional power market. In addition, DOE intends to draw on renewable energy sources to provide at least 140 million kilowatt-hours of electricity for the department by 2005—accounting for nearly 5% of DOE's electricity use. For more information, see Energy Secretary Abraham's speech at the 13th Annual Energy Efficiency Forum on 12 June.

  • The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Cooperative Research Network, the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. and Energy Co-Opportunity have worked together to develop a number of resources to help electric cooperatives address the legal, economic, and technical issues raised by consumer-owned generation. Using the "Distributed Generation Interconnection Tool Kit," cooperatives should be able to draft the rules, policies, tariffs, and contract documents required to respond positively to consumer requests for interconnection. For more information, see the website.

Alaska

  • Alaska State Geothermal Energy Support
    Alaska received $75,000 under DOE's State Energy Program for FY 2002 to support three activities: (1) conduct a resource assessment to update past work statewide with current opportunities, identifying communities that are the most promising candidates for geothermal energy projects; (2) conduct site specific feasibility investigations; and (3) provide program support. For more information, email Scott Waterman, SEP Manager for Alaska.

Arizona

  • 21 August
    Meeting for Geothermal in Arizona: Exploring the Opportunities!
    Phoenix, AZ
    Email: Roger Hill

  • 16-19 September
    National Summit on Emerging Tribal Economies
    Phoenix, AZ
    Website

  • The Arizona Coalition for New Energy Technologies (ACNET) has launched a new website. The ACNET website features news and information on member companies, legislative and regulatory developments, events and other materials of interest to the clean new energy technology business communities in Arizona. ACNET promotes its members and their innovative technologies through outreach programs and various other activities. One of its primary outreach activities is working with state and federal policymakers and other key opinion leaders.

California

  • 2-3 October
    West Coast Power
    San Francisco, CA
    Email: Greg Lesniewicz, Tel: (713) 463-9595, ext. 303

  • In May, the California Energy Commission presented $4.05 million to Lake County as part of additional state contribution to Phase 2 of the Southeast Geysers Effluent Injection System (SGEIS). Through the SGEIS, Basin 2000, Lake County disposes of its effluent wastewater by treating it and infusing the liquid through pipeline to the flagging Geysers geothermal steam field. Phase 2 will increase treated effluent wastewater injection to the Southeast Geysers to help extend the life of the steam field and increase geothermal power plant production by 10-20 MW. For further information, contact: Steve Brodnansky, Special District Administrator, Lake County Sanitation District, Tel: (707) 263-0119.

  • The University of Utah's Energy and Geoscience Institute (UU-EGI) and New York, NY-based Caithness Energy, LLC will receive $4.5 million in cooperative agreement funding from DOE over the next five years as part of a $12-million initiative to boost production at the Coso, CA geothermal field. The funding covers a cooperative agreement for an Enhanced Geothermal System under a three-stage program. UU-EGI and Caithness will use hydrofracing technology to create additional channels in the subsurface rock to allow more hot water to have access to existing geothermal wells. For more information, contact Tom Welch at DOE, Tel: (202) 586-5806.

  • According to a report issued by the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) Charitable Trust, developing the state's renewable energy would create more jobs than continuing to emphasize fossil fuels. The report found that an increased level of renewable energy development would create 28,000 year-long construction jobs and 3,000 permanent operating jobs, while the equivalent amount of new natural gas-fired power would generate only 25% as much employment for California. The report may be downloaded in PDF format from CALPIRG's website.

Colorado

  • In a series of eleventh-hour legislative maneuvers in May, the Colorado Legislature failed to pass a bill to create a state renewable energy portfolio standard. Senate Bill 180 would have implemented a state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requiring that Xcel Energy provide or acquire 400 MW of generation from renewable energy sources, including presently existing renewable energy capacity, by 2005. This amount would increase to 800 MW in 2010 and 1,500 MW in 2020. The bill passed both the Colorado Senate and House, but the Senate failed to act on concurrence (agreement with the House amendments) before it adjourned. If this legislation had passed, Colorado would have been the thirteenth state in the country to adopt an RPS. The RPS is expected to be reconsidered in the 2003 General Assembly which convenes January 2003.

  • The Colorado Coalition for New Energy Technologies has launched a new website. The website features news and information on member companies, legislative and regulatory developments, events and other materials of interest to the clean new energy technology business communities in Colorado. The Colorado Coalition for New Energy Technologies promotes its members and their innovative technologies through outreach programs and various other activities. It works cooperatively with a broad range of industry organizations and stakeholder communities to advance clean and efficient energy technologies that enhance the state’s environment and economy, and the country's national energy security.

  • Colorado Governor Bill Owens signed HB 1415 into law on 3 June. The new law enables net metering—utility purchase of customer-generated electricity from renewable energy sources—for customers of Colorado’s rural and cooperative utilities. It also standardizes net metering for the state and sets the utility purchase price for renewable-generated electricity at avoided cost.

Hawai'i

  • The Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) and the University of Hawai'i's Hawai'i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) are teaming up with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and its affiliate, the Electricity Innovation Institute, to develop clean energy technologies. Announced in May, the partnership will focus on emerging renewable, energy efficient, and environmentally sensitive energy applications, including distributed generation, on-site, central station, and transportation technologies. For more information, see EPRI's press release.

Idaho

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

Gerry Galinato
Energy Division,
Idaho Department of Water Resources
Tel: (208) 327-7963
Email: ggalinat@idwr.state.id.us
  • Idaho Geothermal Energy Development
    The Idaho Department of Water Resources received $100,000 from SEP for FY 2002 to develop trade missions into Idaho communities that have greater geothermal water resources. Information will be developed to explain to these communities the geothermal potential and how to develop the resource. For more information, email Joan Sipple, Energy Specialist.


Kansas

No news


Montana

  • Montana state residents who install energy systems "using a recognized non-fossil form of energy generation" (as defined in 15-32- 102), in their principal dwelling after 31 December 2001 may claim a tax credit equal to the cost of the system, including installation costs, less grants received, up to $500. The Alternative Energy Income Tax Break Credit is spelled out in Montana Codes Annotated 15-32-201. In addition, the Geothermal Energy System Credit (MCA 15-32-115) is $1,000 or $250 a year for four years beginning with the year the initial costs of installation begin. For more information, see the Montana Department of Revenue website. The form for the Geothermal Energy System Credit is Form ENRG-B (PDF file).

  • NorthWestern Energy has issued its net-metering policy, "Interconnection Agreement for Customer-Owned, Grid-Connected Electric Generating Facilities of 50 Kilowatts or Less Peak Generating Capacity." The document outlines the utility's net metering requirements for grid connection of renewable resources. The policy is available in PDF format.

  • The Montana Green Power website publishes a very useful and informative Montana Green Power E-newsletter. The newsletter provides monthly updates on what's happening in renewable energy in Montana. To subscribe click here.

Nebraska

No news


Nevada

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

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

  • 22-25 September
    Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting
    Reno, NV
    Website

  • Advanced Thermal Systems, Inc. and the University and Community College System of Nevada will announce their plans for a geothermal central utility plant for the new Redfield Campus south of Reno. The geothermal utility facility will supply electricity, heating, cooling and hot water to the campus at rates competitive with traditional utility services. Additionally, the facility will be utilized for a variety of research activities. For more information, contact Rebecca Wagner at Advanced Thermal Systems, Inc., Tel: (775) 321-4444 ext. 3011 or email.

New Mexico

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

Christopher Wentz
Director, Energy Conservation and Management Division
New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources
Tel: (505) 476-3312
Email: cwentz@state.nm.us

  • 24 July
    New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission Workshop
    Marian Hall, 224 East Palace Avenue
    Santa Fe, NM

    The New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission is likely to rule in favor of a new 10 % Renewable Portfolio Standard soon for New Mexico.

  • New Mexico Geothermal Clearinghouse
    New Mexico received $50,000 from SEP for FY 2002 to establish, manage, and publicize a Geothermal Information Clearinghouse for the state. The clearinghouse will provide a readily accessible source for a broad range of practical geothermal information that can be used by future developers, as well as current geothermal businesses. It will include concise and specific information on New Mexico's geothermal resource base, low-temperature reservoir management for the direct-use operator, and the steps required to lease and permit various aspects of geothermal development. For more information, email Harold Trujillo, New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

  • Former Department of Energy secretary Bill Richardson recently outlined his position on renewable energy as part of his New Mexico gubernatorial campaign. Richardson presented a five-point plan, titled "Renew New Mexico," that focuses extensively on renewable energy and alternative fuels. The platform includes Richardson's goal for New Mexico to source at least 10% of its electricity from renewable energy generation by 2010. Richardson also called for businesses in the state to be allowed to sell power back to utility companies through a net metering mechanism. New Mexico currently leads the country in the number of geothermal greenhouses. For more information, see the "Bill Richardson for Governor" website.

North Dakota

No news


Oklahoma

No news


Oregon

For further information on geothermal activities in Oregon, contact:

Kevin Rafferty
Associate Director, Geo-Heat Center
Oregon Institute of Technology
Tel: (541) 885-1750
Email: raffertk@oit.edu

  • 15-17 November
    NW Energy Coalition Fall Board Meeting
    Portland, OR
    Website

  • The inaugural meeting of the Oregon-Washington Geothermal Working Group, supported by DOE's GeoPowering the West effort, was held in Portland on 20 June. For more information, see the lead story.

  • The Energy Trust of Oregon is a new nonprofit organization which promotes clean energy. Under Oregon's electric energy restructuring law, the state's two largest utilities will collect a 3% public purpose charge from their customers. The Energy Trust will receive most of the 3% public purpose funds to invest in efficient technologies and renewable resources that save dollars, create jobs, and protect the environment. Renewable energy projects will receive 17.1% of the total funds received. Above-market costs of renewable energy projects will be eligible for Energy Trust support. The Energy Trust will consider unsolicited proposals. For more information, see the Energy Trust of Oregon's website.

  • Portland General Electric (PGE) has seen the number of customers choosing green power more than double, and 1.8% of all residential customers are now signed up to receive the pollution-free energy. At the end of 2001, PGE had 5,674 total customers choosing green power in anticipation of the Oregon restructuring law taking effect in March 2002, said a PGE spokesman. At the end of the first quarter of 2002, with very little marketing, enrollment rose to 12,000; most are residential customers. Fifty-six percent of PGE's new green power customers chose 100% green power from Green Mountain Energy, which is a mix of 85% geothermal and 15% wind power.

South Dakota

No news


Texas

  • Established in 1999 and effective January 2002, the Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires the installation of 2,000 MW of new renewable capacity by the year 2009, in addition to preserving the 880 MW of renewable energy already on line. This translates to about 3% of present electricity consumption. Intermediate new renewable capacity goals in Texas are 400 MW by 2003, 850 MW by 2005, 1,400 MW by 2007, and 2,000 MW by 2009. For more information, see "The Renewables Portfolio Standard in Texas: An Early Assessment" by Ryan Wisera of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Ole Langnissb of the German Aerospace Center.)

  • The Clean Energy Incubator has chosen Houston-based Power Tube, Inc. as one of its first two companies. Headed by Doyle Brewington, Power Tube is a self-contained, nonpolluting structure that uses heat from the Earth to power generators. Brewington designed it for use in developing countries, but is looking into placing the tubes in capped, unused oil wells throughout the Permian Basin. The tube uses underground heat to send vapor through a turbine that powers generators near the surface. Brewington estimates that a 185-foot tube 42 inches in diameter could power 8,500 homes. Launched in August 2001, the Clean Energy Incubator is the first of its kind in the United States. It operates within the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), a division of the IC2 Institute, and is supported by a grant from the Texas State Energy Conservation Office. For more information, see the ATI website.

Utah

  • Promoting Direct Use Development of Utah's Geothermal Resources
    SEP awarded Utah $87,812 to encourage further development of Utah's geothermal resources by providing readily available information and increasing the awareness of commercial opportunities. The three components to this FY 2002 project are: (1) review and document the economics of selected, successful direct-use geothermal operations in Utah by determining critical project parameters and impediments to development; (2) improve access to both geothermal resource information in Utah, and development opportunities through an Internet site containing comprehensive information about geothermal resources, technologies, and economics of selected geothermal direct-use projects in Utah; and (3) improve knowledge and awareness of geothermal development opportunities in Utah by hosting a regional geothermal conference in Salt Lake City to highlight recent developments throughout the Great Basin and Intermountain regions. For more information, email Denise Beaudoin, Utah Energy Office.

  • Under H.B. 7, "Net Metering of Electricity," effective 6 May, utilities must offer net metering to their customers. Net metering allows customers to install their own power generation systems and feed excess power back into the grid. Customers are billed only for their net electricity use over a month or a year—ideally, their meter turns backwards when they are feeding power into the grid. The Utah legislation applies to renewable energy of less than 25 kilowatts. Renewable energy is defined as "...energy derived from the sun, wind, or water to generate electricity."

  • The University of Utah's Energy and Geoscience Institute (UU-EGI) and New York, NY-based Caithness Energy, LLC will receive $4.5 million in cooperative agreement funding from DOE over the next five years as part of a $12-million initiative to boost production at the Coso, CA geothermal field. The funding covers a cooperative agreement for an Enhanced Geothermal System under a three-stage program. UU-EGI and Caithness will use hydrofracing technology to create additional channels in the subsurface rock to allow more hot water to have access to existing geothermal wells. For more information, contact Tom Welch at DOE, Tel: (202) 586-5806.

Washington

For further information on geothermal activities in Washington, contact:

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

  • The inaugural meeting of the Oregon-Washington Geothermal Working Group, supported by DOE's GeoPowering the West effort, was held in Portland on 20 June. For more information, see the lead story.

Wyoming

No news


Select another state

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Current Solicitations

The following solicitations and requests for proposals may be of interest to geothermal developers and entrepreneurs.

Name Due
California Energy Commission International Energy Fund 26 July
Funding to Develop Essential Community Facilities in Rural Communities with Severe Economic Depression 16 August
Distributed Power Program - Distribution and Interconnection Research and Development Solicitation for Letters of Interest (LOI) No. RAT-2-32616 27 August

 

 

 

 

 

 

Due 26 July 2002

California Energy Commission International Energy Fund. Through the unique Energy Technology Export Program, the California Energy Commission (CEC) introduces California-based companies to the international market by providing pre-investment "seed" funding through the International Energy Fund (IEF).

The IEF helps Californian firms conduct pre-construction activities that lead to energy projects in foreign nations. IEF awards fund pre-feasibility and feasibility stages of international energy projects. Pre-construction activities include but are not limited to: market studies and analyses, feasibility studies, resource assessments, site analyses, bid and/or proposal development, and technology transfer agreements.

The CEC anticipates making awards of up to $25,000 per pre-construction activity. Applicants are required to provide at least 50% of the total cost of the reconstruction activity to be eligible for this fund. It is expected that awards will be made in September 2002. Total funding for the 2002-2003 solicitation is $250,000.

For more information on the program and to obtain the solicitation, see the CEC's Energy Technology Export Program website.

Due 16 August 2002

Funding to Develop Essential Community Facilities in Rural Communities with Severe Economic Depression. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service requests proposals for projects that develop essential community facilities in rural communities for eligible public entities, nonprofit corporations, and tribal governments with extreme high unemployment and severe economic depression.

Projects must serve the community as a whole and be needed for the orderly development of the community such as providing an essential service to the residents. There is no set maximum loan limits with the Community Facilities direct and guaranteed loan programs. Projects cannot be private, commercial or business undertakings.

Pre-applications are due 16 August 2002. All pre-applications selected for funding consideration will be notified by the State or field office. Applications are accepted on a continual basis until the $19 million in funding is exhausted.

For more information, see the USDA Rural Housing Service website, or contact Joseph Ben-Israel at (202) 720-1490.

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Due 27 August 2002

Distributed Power Program - Distribution and Interconnection Research and Development Solicitation for Letters of Interest (LOI) No. RAT-2-32616. Distributed Energy Resources (DER) will play a key role in maintaining and enhancing the reliability, power quality, security, and environmental friendliness of the U.S. electric power system. The Distributed Power Program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is soliciting an LOI from individual U.S. companies and/or U.S. teams to address a range of activities related to interconnecting and integrating distributed energy resources. These activities are organized into four categories as follows:

  1. Advanced Universal Interconnection Technology;
  2. Field Testing of Distributed Energy Technology for Interconnection Standards and Electrical Power Systems Configurations;
  3. Standards for Distributed Energy Resources System Integration, Interconnection, and Operation with Electric Power Systems; and
  4. Analysis and Research on Alternative Rates and Tariffs for Distributed Energy.

NREL intends to make up to 15 subcontract awards under this solicitation. This number of awards may vary due to the responses received and the availability of DOE funds.

LOIs are due 27 August, 4:00 P.M. Mountain Time. The solicitation is available on the NREL website.

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