Federal Update — Geothermal back in FY07 budget
- On 29 June 2006, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported out the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2007 (H.R. 5427). The Senate appropriated $1.38 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) for FY 2007. It restored the zeroed-out Geothermal Technologies Program, which includes GeoPowering the West (GPW), at $22.5 million, nearly the FY06 level of $23.1 million. For more information.
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) expressed his appreciation for reaching agreement with Senator Domenici (R-NM), chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Subcommittee, on restoring the geothermal program's funding, which he termed critical to achieving the tremendous geothermal potential of Nevada and other western states.
- On the House side, on 17 May 2006, the House Committee on Appropriations followed the Administration's lead, terminating the geothermal program in its markup of the $30-billion FY07 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act.
House Amendment 916, sponsored by Representative Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA ), restored $5 million to the Geothermal Technology Program. The amendment was agreed to by voice vote on 24 May 2006.
- On 27 June 2006, the House Committee on Science accepted an amendment offered by Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) requiring the Secretary of Energy to continue to carry out R&D on geothermal energy in FY07 as directed by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The amendment, supported by Chairman Boehlert (R-NY), was accepted on a voice vote, and becomes part of the Energy Research, Development, Demonstration, and Commercial Application Act of 2006 (H.R. 5656).
- On 22 June 2006, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to fund the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements program (Section 9006) at $22 million discretionary, plus $3 million mandatory, and the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (Section 6401) at $20 million discretionary and $28 million mandatory. In May, the House bill funded Section 9006 at $20 million discretionary, plus $3 million mandatory; and Section 6401 at $28 million in mandatory funds. After being passed by the Senate, the two bills go to conference.
- The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (S. 2766) on 22 June 2006. An amendment to the appropriations bill requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to seek, buy, or produce no less than 25% of its electricity from renewable sources beginning in 2025. It says DOD must seek to buy or produce electricity from renewables when it is "life-cycle cost effective to do so."
- The House Resource Committee approved the Deep Ocean Energy Resource (DOER) Act of 2006 (H.R. 4761) on 21 June 2006. The bill is designed to modernize a key aspect of the nation’s energy policy by allowing more of its massive energy resources to be produced in the deep seas on the outer-continental shelf (OCS).
Section 26 of the bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to
support innovative technologies to demonstrate geothermal production from these resources . In part, the DOER Act establishes a National Geo Fund, and directs the Interior Secretary to carry out a grant program in support of geothermal and geopressure oil and gas energy production using existing or new oil or gas wells. For more information.
|• On 7 June 2006, a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives introduced concurrent Congressional resolutions calling for a new national renewable energy goal: of 25% by 2025.
The two concurrent resolutions (H. Con. Res. 424 and S. Con. Res. 97) express "the sense of Congress that it is the goal of the United States that, not later than January 1, 2025, the agricultural, forestry, and working land of the United States should
|provide from renewable resources not less than 25% of the total energy consumed in the United States and continue to produce safe, abundant, and affordable food, feed, and fiber." For more information.
- On 23 May 2006, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) introduced legislation to help pay for the clean energy transition. The Strategic Energy Fund Act of 2006 (S. 2993) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose a temporary oil profit fee and to use the proceeds of the fee collected to provide a Strategic Energy Fund and expand certain energy tax incentives, and for other purposes. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Finance. In a speech at the National Press Club, Senator Rodham-Clinton called for reducing the country's dependence on foreign oil 50% by 2025. For more information.
||• On 17 May 2006, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced new legislation to put America on the road to energy independence by 2020. The Clean Energy Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) Act of 2006 (S. 2829) seeks to reduce the U.S.'s addiction to oil, ensure near-term energy affordability and empower American families, accelerate clean fuels and electricity, and provide government leadership for clean and secure energy.
|The bill calls for a a 10% national renewable portfolio standard of and 25% reduction in the country's total oil consumption by 2020. It would also create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) to develop cutting-edge technologies that will reduce oil consumption, improve electricity efficiency and reliability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Edge Act has been referred to the Committee on Finance. For more information.
- The House Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a field oversight hearing on
"The Role of State and Local Government, and the Private Sector in the Development of Renewable and Alternative Energy in America" on 29 April 2006 in Reno, Nevada. Witnesses included Rebecca Wagner,
Nevada State Office of Energy; Donald L. Soderberg,
Nevada Public Utilities Commission; Sean Curtis,
Modoc County; John McLain,
Resource Concepts, Inc.; Nevada State Senator Dina Titus; Dan Schochet,
Ormat Nevada, Inc.; Tom Kinberg,
Energy Concepts; Ralph Sanders,
HL Power; and S. Kent Hoekman, Desert Research Institute.
In his testimony, Ormat vice president Dan Schochet noted that, "Electricity generation from geothermal resources in the United States currently constitutes a $1.5 billion-a-year industry (in terms of revenues) and accounts for 19% of all non-hydropower renewable energy-based electricity generation." Looking forward, he added: "New geothermal power capacity of 5,600 MWe could add nearly 10,000 jobs, and also generate about 36,000 person-years of construction and manufacturing business."
For more information: GEA Update, Geothermal Energy Association (GEA).
GeoPowering the West makes 2nd round of project awards
DOE's GeoPowering the West (GPW) has made its second round of technical assistance awards to eight projects, bringing the total projects supported to 21. GPW 's support of individual projects is designed to:
- Continue the emphasis on fostering projects that have been created through the state geothermal working groups;
- Get projects on-the-ground in consideration of states' needs and energy situations;
- Promote results in a period of high-energy costs; and
- Reduce energy use, save costs, enhance productivity of industries, and maintain or create jobs.
The new projects include:
- Evaluation of Manley Hot Springs' geothermal development potential, Alaska;
- Feasibility study of heating an aquatic center and creating a district heating system in Crestone, Colorado;
- Technical study of expanding Ward's Greenhouse in Owyhee County, Idaho;
- Feasibility study of a geothermal heat pump application for the Coeuer d'Alene Tribe Schitsu'umsh Cultural Center, Idaho;
- Feasibility study to maximize energy benefits for the Geothermal Rail Industrial Development in Fernley, Nevada; and
- Engineering assistance to assess the geothermal potential at the Warms Springs Service Center of the Utah Transit Authority, Utah.
Funding permitting, GPW hopes to support additional projects in the future.
For more information, contact Roger Hill, Sandia National Laboratories, Tel: (505) 844-6111, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Utility Geothermal Working Group
The Utility Geothermal Working Group (UGWG) held its monthly teleconference on 7 June 2006. Jim Lovekin, Manager of Field Operations at GeothermEx, led a discussion of the potential geothermal power resources in northeastern California and northern Nevada which could provide an additional 350-400 MWe of geothermal power. UGWG members expressed interest in building transmission lines to tap the potential.
The teleconference also included a discussion of (1) the geothermal potential in other areas , primarily Washington and Arizona, and the need to update resource data; (2) deep drilling technology research, (3) the value of renewable portfolio standards in promoting geothermal development, (4) the availability of existing and planned transmission maps, and (5) the available advanced technologies and studies that could help identify geothermal resources.
The UGWG meets the first Wednesday of every month, usually via teleconference. It will meet in person at the Geothermal Resource Council 2006 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, 10-13 September 2006.
The UGWG was formed in 2005 to promote utility involvement in the development of geothermal power production, direct use, and geothermal heat pumps.
For more information, contact Guy Nelson, UGWG Team Lead at (541) 994-4670 or email@example.com.
- 12 September 2006 -
The annual All States GPW Working Group Meeting will take place in San Diego, California in conjunction with the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting. The meeting will feature updates on the status of geothermal developments at the state level, possible funding opportunities, and GPW's future direction. For more information.
- 10-12 October 2006 - The Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DOE will co-host a national renewable energy conference to help create the partnerships and strategies necessary to accelerate the commercialization of renewable energy industries and distribution systems. The conference, "Advancing Renewable Energy: An American Rural Renaissance," is scheduled for 10-12 October 2006, in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information.
- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking contractor support services to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Truckhaven Geothermal Leasing Area managed by the BLM El Centro Field Office.
The EIS will analyze and disclose the potential environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives. As part of the document, a Reasonable Foreseeable Development scenario (RFD) has been prepared for the Truckhaven Geothermal Leasing Area. Resources to be addressed include, but are not limited to vegetation, wildlife, cultural resources, water quality, air quality, soils and other land uses, e.g. recreation. For more information. Proposals are due 10 July 2006.
- Under Section 225 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, on behalf of BLM and the Forest Service (USFS), have produced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to coordinate geothermal leasing and permitting on public lands and National Forest System lands between the two agencies. The 15-page MOU outlines the agencies' respective roles, responsibilities, and authorities. It also includes a five-year program for geothermal leasing of lands on National Forest lands as well as a program to reduce the geothermal lease application backlog 90% by 2010.
According to testimony before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources by Marcia Patton-Mallory of the Forest Service on 6 April 2006, Forest Service concurrence is pending on 43 lease applications in Oregon, Washington, and California.
- geothermal-biz.com has released three brief reports summarizing how geothermal development contributes to Idaho, New Mexico, and Utah. Prepared with support from DOE's GPW, the papers quantify the economic and environmental benefits of geothermal utilization in the three states. For more information: "The Economic, Environmental, and Social Benefits of Geothermal Use in Idaho" (April 2006), "The Economic, Environmental, and Social Benefits of Geothermal Use in New Mexico" (May 2006), and "The Economic, Environmental, and Social Benefits of Geothermal Use in Utah" (March 2006).
- Effective 1 July 2006, DOE's EERE six regional offices will be closed and consolidated into the Golden Field Office in Golden, Colorado; and the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The consolidation is an effort to more efficiently and effectively manage EERE's
technology development, deployment, and outreach activities. For more information.
• According to the July 2006 issue of Popular Science, geothermal is one of ten technologies that can end the country's addiction to oil.
"The Energy Fix" says "Follow these 10 steps, America, and we'll eliminate oil imports, slash greenhouse gas emissions, and once again make it safe to buy a beach house. The technology to do it is almost here."
The nine other technologies are: wind, distributed generation grid systems, "self-powered" factories
|that rely on sustainable energy such as geo-heat systems and solar panels, plug-in hybrids vehicles, switching from corn to cellulosic ethanol, improving the efficiency and reducing the cost of producing solar energy, producing hydrogen from clean sources, tidal turbines, biomass power, and energy efficiency.
- As of 15 June 2006, 248 mayors from 41 states representing a total population of over 45.7 million have signed onto the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Endorsed unanimously by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June 2005, the agreement urges the federal and state governments to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the target of reducing global warming pollution levels to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. It also calls for the U.S. Congress to pass bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation. For more information.
- According to a study released 14 June 2006 by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, "Any presidential candidate in 2008 who was victorious only in states featuring an RPS would be elected handily by the Electoral College." Twenty-two (22) states, both blue and red, and the District of Columbia have adopted renewable portfolio standards (RPSs). In addition to environmental benefits, economic development including job creation is cited as a strong impetus for RPSs. "Race to the Top: The Expanding Role of U.S. State Renewable Portfolio Standards," was written by Barry Rabe of the University of Michigan. For more information.
- During their 11-13 June 2006 Annual Meeting in Sedona, Arizona, the Western Governors' Association (WGA) adopted recommendations from the Clean and Diversified Energy Advisory Committee's (CDEAC) final report, "Clean Energy, a Strong Economy and a Healthy Environment." The report concluded that "While
some might consider the goal of 30,000 MWe
quite aggressive, the process documents that
clean energy technologies can meet and even
exceed this goal."
Policy Resolution 06-10, the Western Governors direct the WGA to identify mechanisms
to assist the Governors in enacting policies that achieve clean and diversified energy
goals and report back to the governors not later than the winter 2006 meeting.
The Geothermal Energy Task Force identified 13,000 MWe of geothermal energy that could be developed within a reasonable time frame, and estimated that 5,600 MWe of this would be commercially viable.
- DOE, BLM, USFS and DOD released a map showing preliminary energy corridors on federal lands in 11 western states for electricity transmission and oil, natural gas and hydrogen pipelines on 9 June 2006. The four agencies are preparing a draft West-wide Energy Corridor Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Energy Corridor PEIS) to evaluate issues associated with the designation of the energy corridors. Comments and suggestions are due 10 July 2006. For more information.
- On 2 June 2006, Douglas L. Faulkner was appointed deputy under secretary for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Faulkner previously served as principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at DOE. Faulkner will work closely with Under Secretary for Rural Development Tom Dorr to coordinate the activities of the USDA Energy Council to support the development, production and use of renewable fuels. For more information.
|• The Senate confirmed Idaho Governor and former U.S. Senator Dirk Kempthorne as the 49th Interior Secretary on 26 May 2006.
On his first day in office, Secretary Kempthorne held a conference call with key energy groups, including GEA. GEA executive director Karl Gawell noted , "Secretary Kempthorne expressed his
"I am so honored to join you. I am so enthusiastic," Secretary Kempthorne told DOI employees on 31 May 2006. (Photo: DOI)
| strong interest in working with renewable energy groups to ensure continued progress in developing clean, domestic energy resources."
- The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) has formed a utility committee to open communication between utilities, power providers, and the renewable energy industry. The utility committee's steering committee includes members from Arizona Public Service, Austin Energy, Chelan County Public Utility District, EPRI, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Salt River Project, Southern Company, and We Energies. Membership is open to all U.S. investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities, cooperatives, and federally-managed utilities (Source: "ACORE committee provides renewable energy forum for utilities," Energy Services Bulletin, June 2006).
- According to a May 2006 report issued by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), since 1998, state clean energy
funds in the U.S. have committed nearly $400 million to 234
utility-scale renewable energy projects totaling 2,249 MWe of capacity (1,116 MWe built to date). "The Impact of State Clean Energy Fund Support for Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Projects" by
Mark Bolinger and Ryan Wiser found that
wind power accounted for more than 60% of total funding provided, and over 80% of the total capacity. The next largest resource (in terms of funding and capacity) is geothermal in California where four projects totaling 156.9 MWe (59 MWe online) have received $80.3 million in obligated funding.
California also led the way in terms of total dollars obligated and capacity obligated and online. The case study looked at projects supported by 18 funds in the 14 state-members of the Clean Energy States Alliance.
- The Tenth International Conference on Thermal Energy Storage (EcoStock) took place at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey 31 May-2 June 2006. Over 130 papers were presented on a wide variety of subjects including underground thermal energy storage, thermal seasonal storage, theories and design tools for thermal storage, and geothermal heat pumps. The conference was sponsored by the International Energy Agency-Energy Conservation through Energy Storage (IEA-ECES) and DOE's Energy Storage Program. For more information.
- Effective 18 May 2006, the Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. (NASDAQ) debuted the Clean Edge U.S. Index to track the performance of publicly-traded clean-energy companies. The index will cover five major subsectors including Renewable Electricity Generation. For more information.
further information on geothermal in Alaska, contact:
Alaska Energy Authority
Tel: (907) 269-4541
- 20-22 August 2006 - The 2006 Alaska Geothermal Conference and Renewable Energy Fair will take place at
Chena Hot Springs Resort outside of Fairbanks. The conference will include sessions on geothermal power applications, geothermal direct-use applications, and geothermal exploration. The Renewable Energy Fair will feature the dedication of the Chena Hot Springs Geothermal Power Plant, Alaska's first geothermal plant. The 400-kW geothermal power plant is also the first worldwide to use lower temperature (165°F) geothermal resources to generate power. The groundbreaking technology was developed in partnership with United Technologies Corporation. For more information.
further information on geothermal in Arizona, contact:
The Ormond Group
Tel: (480) 491-3305
- 1-3 August 2006 - Register now for the 5th Annual Southwest Renewable Energy Conference (SWREC) in Flagstaff. The SWREC presents technical and policy information to further the development of renewable energy resources in the Southwest. Sessions will cover wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy development on tribal, federal, state, and private lands. Transmission issues, project funding, utility perspectives and much more will be covered.
- 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.
further information on geothermal in California,
Geothermal Program Manager
7-9 July 2006
- The Off The Grid Energy Fest and Expo
will take place at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area's slopeside Canyon Lodge. The event will feature a guided tour of the nearby Mammoth Pacific Geothermal Power Plant.
- On 21 June 2006, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) reached an agreement to team with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) to work on the Sunrise Powerlink, a 120-mile power line to bring power to San Diego County.
Under terms of the agreement, IID would oversee construction of the southwest portion of the transmission line from the heart of its service territory to the boundary of SDG&E's jurisdiction, near the county line. The line could transmit electricity generated by geothermal energy in the Salton Sea (Source: "SDG&E, Imperial agree to team up : Sunrise line would bring power into S.D. County" by Craig D. Rose, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 June 2006).
- On 20 June 2006, Vancouver, Canada-based Western GeoPower Corp. announced that it had acquired a geothermal lease for the Unit 15 Steam Field covering 421 acres within The Geysers Geothermal Field in northern California. The lease permits Western GeoPower to re-develop the geothermal reservoir and build a new plant for electricity generation. Western GeoPower also holds 100% interests in the South Meager Geothermal Project in British Columbia, Canada. For more information.
- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on 15 June 2006 took another step forward in promoting green power by ensuring that the state has the transmission infrastructure needed to meet its RPS goals. CPUC's decision assures utilities that investments in new transmission to renewable resources will be recovered in customer rates. Customers are protected under the decision by careful guidelines to ensure that cost recovery will be available only in clearly defined circumstances. "This decision provides certainty to the utilities and the renewable power industry on funding for transmission projects that are necessary to meet the RPS goals," said Commissioner
Dian M. Grueneich. For more information.
- On 7 June 2006, the Senate Local Government Committee of the State Assembly defeated a bill by Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia (R-Cathedral City) that would have allowed Imperial County to grant CE Obsidian Energy LLC, or CalEnergy, a property tax cut for the $750-million Salton Sea Unit 6 geothermal plant. Assembly Bill 1966 may be reconsidered by the committee. The project would create 550 construction jobs and 63 permanent positions, generating more than $300 million in local, state and federal taxes over the 30-year life of the plant, Garcia's office said. While no one testified against the bill or project, some committee members questioned using local property taxes as a way to boost renewable energy production, arguing that there should be statewide incentives instead (Source: "Senate committee votes against bill to fund Salton Sea geothermal" by Jake Henshaw, The Desert Sun, 7 June 2006).
- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced on 16 May 2006 that it has secured an additional 105 MWe of clean, renewable energy resources to help meet its customers’ future electricity needs. The company has submitted three long-term power purchase agreements (PPA) to CPUC for regulatory review including a 10-year PPA for a 55-MWe Bottle Rock Geothermal Power Plant at Ukiah. PG&E will soon issue a 2006 renewable energy procurement solicitation. For more information.
- The Carlyle/Riverstone Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund I (CRREIF) will acquire a significant stake of U.S. Renewables Group, LLC's 55-MWe Bottle Rock Geothermal Power Plant. Under the terms of the convertible note and partnership interest purchase agreement, CRREIF intends to acquire an ownership stake and fund additional capital through a convertible note. This is one of the first investments from CRREIF's $685 million renewable energy infrastructure fund. Bottle Rock plans to restart the facility before the end of the year. For more information.
- Southern California Edison (SCE) has signed five-year agreements for renewable energy pricing with several geothermal power producers. Under the new agreements, from 1 May 2007 through 30 April 2012, the geothermal energy produced by these projects will be sold at an average fixed energy rate of $62.74/MWh. Rates will start at $61.50/MWh in the first year, and escalate 1% annually. The current average energy rate is $53.70/MWh.
SCE signed agreements with Ormat Technologies, Inc.; Caithness Energy; and CE Generation LLC subsidiaries Del Ranch, LP, Vulcan/BN Geothermal Power Company, Elmore LP, Fish Lake Power LLC, Salton Sea Power Generation LP, and Leathers LP. All amendments are subject to CPUC approval.
- With thousands of megawatts in new wind, geothermal, and solar generation due online in California over the next five years, the
California Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO) is working on a comprehensive
strategy to integrate these renewable resources into the wholesale power grid. California ISO staff presented a comprehensive Renewable Resources Integration Plan to
the Board of Governors on 14 June 2006. Public comments are encouraged. For more information.
- The California Geothermal Energy Collaborative (CGEC) held the 2006 California Geothermal Summit and RPS Workshop on 23-24 May on the University of California-Davis campus.
In the opening session, Karl Gawell, GEA executive director, called on the state to set a goal of producing 50% of its energy from renewable energy resources by 2025. California could implement a "Green-G" certification program to recognize and encourage more geothermal use by homes, businesses, and schools.
The summit included panels on government program incentives offered for geothermal development and geothermal direct use. GEA provided updated databases of both existing and developing direct use sites in the state.
At the RPS workshop, most utility and industry leaders agreed that the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a strong renewable development driver, and more important than the RPS in some cases.
For further information on geothermal in Colorado, contact:
Governor's Office of
Energy Management and Conservation
Tel: (303) 866-2309
- On 6 June 2006, Governor Bill Owens signed legislation that provides funding to a new state renewable energy research collaboration. H.B. 1322 will create a Colorado Renewable Energy Collaborative composed of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, and the University of Colorado. The Collaborative will receive up to $2 million per year for three years, beginning FY07. Funds can be used only as matching funds to enable the Collaborative to qualify for federal and private research projects. For more information.
- On 18 May 2006, economic development and university and community leaders
gathered in Fort Collins to launch the Northern Colorado Clean Energy Cluster. The group's goal is to position Northern Colorado
as the "Go To" region for smart grid technologies,
renewable energy and energy efficiency, and
cleaner and more efficient engines. The initiative is a collaboration of the Governor’s Office of Energy Management
and Conservation, the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp., the Fort Collins
Area Chamber of Commerce, Colorado State University, the city of Fort Collins, Larimer
County, the Poudre School District and the Platte River Power Authority. For more information.
further information on geothermal in Hawai'i, contact:
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
Energy, Resources, and Technology Division
Tel: (808) 586-2353
- DOE GPW will support the development of the direct use of geothermal heat or water on the Big Island through technical assistance provided by the Geo-Heat Center of the Oregon Institute of Technology.
Several mostly agricultural enterprises which can use geothermal heat are being examined including greenhouses, pasteurization, and drying agricultural commodities. The feasibility study is scheduled for completion by February 2007. "The more we can develop indigenous energy resources, the more control we will have of our own energy future," said Ted Liu, director of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (Source: "Feds to pitch in on geothermal study," Pacific Business News, 26 June 2006).
|For further information on geothermal in Idaho, contact:
Idaho Department of Water Resources
Tel: (208) 287-4897
- Idaho Power is seeking approximately 100 MWe of nameplate geothermal-powered generation to provide first-call, physically delivered electrical energy to the utility's service territory. Idaho Power may consider multiple proposals to reach the 100 MWe goal. The utility prefers an online date of June 2009, but will consider other dates. Proposals are due 11 August 2006.
For more information.
- On 16 June 2006, U.S. Geothermal announced changes in its existing PPAs, enabling it to increase sales. Idaho Power will allow the company to bid the Raft River phase 1 project under the utility's geothermal request for proposals (RFP). If selected, under a revised PPA the phase 1 power plant will be allowed to sell its full output capacity of 13 MWe. The 30% increase in plant output would be achieved with no additional capital investment over that required for 10 MWe, and is expected to decrease the operating cost per kilowatt-hour.
U.S. Geothermal is also working on a PPA with Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) of Eugene, Oregon to purchase 13 MWe electrical output from the second planned power plant. A final PPA is expected the end of July. For more information.
- News from the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) Energy Division:
- Leo Ray of Fish Breeders of Idaho and Ken Neely of the IDWR, presented direct use case studies at the Arizona Geothermal Direct Use Conference on 18 May. Ray discussed raising fish and alligators in Idaho’s Hagerman Valley, and Neely described Idaho's geothermal heating districts.
- A special geothermal energy public meeting was held in Cascade on 15 June. Carl Austin of IdaTherm LLC, presented a preliminary report showing that Valley County had very good potential for high temperature geothermal resources suitable for power generation. The Valley County/City of Cascade Geothermal Energy Team, Chevron Solutions, and the Idaho Energy Division sponsored the public meeting.
- The technical paper, "City of Boise Geothermal Heating System," co-written by Gerry Galinato and Ken Neely, IDWR, and and Kent Johnson, City of Boise, has been accepted for presentation at the Geothermal Resources 2006 Annual Meeting.
- The Geo-Heat Center of the Oregon Institute of Technology has completed a report entitled "Feasibility Study of a Geothermal Heat Pump System, Lapwai Middle School, Lapwai, Idaho." The study found that a geothermal heat pump system for the school located on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation has a 6.5-year payback.
- The IDWR conducted a wide range of other geothermal activities:
- Organized and facilitated the Cascade/Valley County Geothermal Energy Team meetings on 20 April, 18 May, and 15 June.
- Conducted a geothermal project tour for 20 members of the Boise State University engineering class on 13 April. The tour included stops at the Boise Warm Springs Water District well house, and the City of Boise production well field.
- Prepared a status report on geothermal energy resources and uses in Idaho for the Harvesting Clean Energy planning committee. Boise will host the regional convention in late January 2007.
For further information on geothermal in Montana, contact:
Air, Energy and Pollution Prevention Bureau
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Tel: (406) 841-5243
further information on geothermal in Nevada, contact:
Manager - Oil, Gas, and Geothermal
Nevada Division of Minerals
- Two Nevada geothermal energy projects have received grants from DOE GPW. Mt. Grant General Hospital in Hawthorne received a $25,000 grant for a feasibility study and engineering assistance in replacing its fossil-fuel fired heating system with a geothermal heating system. Chilton Engineering and Surveying of Elko received a $7,000 grant for engineering assistance to construct a geothermally heated industrial park. The Geo-Heat Center of the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon is the technical consultant for both projects. For more information, contact Christy Morris, Nevada Division of Minerals.
- Caithness Operating Company, LLC has made a donation to the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy (GBCGE) at the University of Nevada, Reno as part of the company's continuing effort to foster relationships with academic institutions that perform innovative and applied renewable energy research. The funds will be used to help acquire and support sophisticated geochemical, geologic, and geophysical modeling software to be used to solve real-world geothermal assessment problems by the Great Basin Center’s investigators in their research projects and in support of student projects, theses, and class room experiences. For more information, contact Lisa Shevenell, Director of the Great Basin Center, at (775) 784-1779, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On 21 June 2006, Frost & Sullivan selected Ormat Technologies, Inc. as recipient of the 2006 Advanced Geothermal Energy Technologies Technology Leadership of the Year Award. Ormat's global efforts in developing Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technologies and finding applications for them in environment-friendly reliable power generation markets, including geothermal energy, have been recognized with this award. According to Frost & Sullivan, Ormat’s geothermal and energy recovery plants have saved more than 11 million tons of fossil fuel and prevented the emission of over 24 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. For more information.
- Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. (NGP) announced the acquisition of a BLM lease in the Pumpernickel Valley from Ormat Technologies, Inc. on 9 June 2006. The 933.5-acre lease obtained from Ormat, a new lease granted by BLM on 1 June, and NGP's existing geothermal lands at Pumpernickel form a contiguous land package, significantly enhancing NGP's overall control of the geothermal development area. NGP has entered into an agreement with Ormat for the provision of an electrical power plant at NGP's Pumpernickel Geothermal Site. Ormat will provide a "most favored customer" price on a first offer basis for the manufacture and construction of a binary geothermal power plant using Ormat proprietary technology. For more information.
- On 15 May 2006, NGP announced that it has begun development drilling at Blue Mountain. In the initial program, four 13-inch diameter production wells will be drilled to 4,000 feet into the 300-330°F geothermal resource intersected in previous test holes. At least one well will be extended to 6,500 feet to explore for a much hotter, 450°F geothermal reservoir. Production test data from the wells will be used to complete a feasibility study for an initial 30 MWe geothermal power plant. For more information.
|• Effective 16 May 2006, Inovision Solutions Inc. changed its name to Sierra Geothermal Power Corp. to "better reflect the company's single emphasis on geothermal power exploration and development." Sierra Geothermal has 50%
interest in the Pumpernickel Geothermal Project with NGP, and is required to undertake US$4.5-million in project expenditures over a five-year period. For more information.
- According to a story by KOLO-Channel 8, the the Nevada Division of Minerals issued permits for 61 geothermal wells in 2005, more than double the number of permits issued in 2003 or 2004. The state's RPS and increased prices for fossil fuel make geothermal power generation more competitive.
In its 2005 Annual Report, Sierra Pacific Resources President and Chief Executive Officer Walter M. Higgins said that "...our utilities expect to begin investing in renewable energy projects, either individually or in partnership with others" (Source: "Getting Ready for the Geothermal Energy Boom?," KOLO-Channel 8).
- On 10 May 2006, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Nevada approved Amp Resource's Permit
to Construct a 26-MWe geothermal power plant about 15 miles east of Fallon. The new Stillwater 2 Geothermal Power Plant 26-MWe binary cycle power
plant will replace the 7-MWe Stillwater I Geothermal Plant. It is scheduled to deliver commercial power by the end of 2007, delivering up to 226,700 MWh a year to Nevada Power
Company. For more information.
On 16 June 2006, Amp terminated the Acquisition Agreement with Raser Technologies.
- Sierra Pacific Resources and Ormat Technologies Inc. announced on 9 May 2006 the signing of a 20-year PPA for the sale of 20 MWe from Galena No. 3, a new geothermal power plant to be built in the Steamboat Geothermal Complex in Washoe County. Galena No. 3 is projected to come online in 2008. Ormat is also in negotiations on two additional geothermal PPAs for projects on Sierra Pacific's "short list" as part of the utility's 2005 Request for Proposals for Renewable Energy. For more information.
- Renewable energy has emerged as a campaign issue in the 2006 race for governor. State Senate Majority Leader and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dina Titus has unveiled an eight-point plan to stabilize utility rates, improve air quality and create new economic opportunities in Nevada through development of the state’s rich store of renewable energy resources. If elected, she would convene a Renewable Energy Summit within the first 100 days of her administration.
Dina Titus faces Jim Gibson, Mayor of Henderson in the Democratic primary. Republican candidates are Bob Beers, State Senator; Congressman Jim Gibbons; and Lieutenant Governor Lorraine Hunt.
Primary elections are on 15 August; gubernatorial on 8 November.
- For more information on BLM leases in Nevada, see the website: http://www.blm.gov/lr2000. Microsoft Internet Explorer is required. (Source: Nevada Geothermal Update, April 2006).
Non-Competitive Geothermal BLM Lease Applications Pending:
|Vulcan Power Co.
Aurora, Lyon County (7)
||Wabuska, Lyon County (1)
Pumpernickel Valley, Tipton
Humboldt County (1)
Blue Mtn, Humboldt County (2)
||Steptoe Valley, White Pine County (1)
Gridley Lake, Humboldt County (1)
||Pyramid, Washoe County (1)
Gerlach, Washoe County (1)
|Western Geothermal Partners
||Smith Valley, Lyon County (2)
Humboldt County (1)
Sulphur, Humboldt County (1)
Salt Wells, Churchill County (6)
Recent Geothermal BLM Leases Issued:
|Ormat Nevada Inc.
Jersey Valley (3)
|Vulcan Power Co.
Near Salt Wells, Churchill County (8)
|Western Geothermal Partners
Silver Peak, Esmeralda County (3)
Competitive Sale Geothermal Lease Applications Dropped:
For further information on geothermal in New Mexico, contact:
New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural
Tel: (505) 476-3319
- In response to a letter from citizen Jason Sneed, CBS Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler took a trip to Truth or Consequences (T or C). The historic site was featured on the program on 13 June 2006. According to museum curator Ann Wellborn, people first came to the town, which used to be called Hot Springs, to soak in the geothermal mineral water. In 1950 the name was changed as part of a public relations stunt put on by "Truth or Consequences," a popular TV and radio show.
The entire town is sitting on a hot springs aquifer," says Kathy Clark, who runs the Charles Motel and Spa, one of many places you can soak in the therapeutic hot spring water (Source: "A Visit To Truth Or Consequences—Rene Syler Stops By New Mexico Town With Quirky Name").
- The University of North Dakota (UND) has been awarded a $405,961 grant to help develop geothermal energy technologies. The grant is a combination of $279,986 from DOE, and $125,975 from the geothermal industry.
The grant has two major objectives, said Ahmad Ghassemi, UND associate professor in geological engineering and principal investigator.
Scientists hope to learn more about water/rock interactions based on how rocks fracture. They will also study the affect of fracture width, or the size of the opening, on water/rock interactions. Professor Ghassemi cited a U.S. Geological Survey report that estimates the U.S. could produce about 100,000 MWe for 30 years by using geothermal energy from rocks that are 1.86 miles deep (Source: "Geothermal research may lead to alternative energy options for farmers" by Andrea Johnson, The Prairie Star, 7 June 2006).
For further information on geothermal in Oregon,
Carel C. DeWinkel
Oregon Department of Energy
Tel: (503) 378-6099
- The Sixth Oregon Geothermal Working Group (OGWG) Meeting was held in
Burns on 17 May 2006. The meeting's goals were to promote direct use of geothermal energy, particularly for the agricultural sector such as greenhouses and aquaculture. Speakers discussed technical details about the resource and the technologies. As a result of the meeting, a 94°F well used by a local recreational vehicle manufacturing facility was confirmed. A field trip to the geothermal greenhouses in Crane followed the meeting. For more information, contact Carel DeWinkel, Oregon Department of Energy.
- On 30 May 2006, Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP) issued the results of an independent review of the Crump Geyser Geothermal Project by GeothermEx, Inc. of Richmond, California. The report entitled "Assessment of the Crump Geyser Geothermal Project, Lake County, Oregon" estimates that the Crump Geyser reservoir has a minimum value of 40 MWe (90% probability) for 20 years and a most likely value of 60 MWe for 20 years. NGP holds approximately 7,200 acres of geothermal leases in the area. For more information.
- Governor Ted Kulongoski will propose an RPS of 25% by 2025 to the Oregon State Legislature in 2007. In a speech at the Northwest Industrial Energy Users Conference on 10 May 2006, the governor noted Oregonians' increasing interest in conservation, renewable forms of energy, and cutting greenhouse gases that lead to global warming. Governor Kulongoski has also called for the state government to meet 100% of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2010. For more information.
For further information on geothermal in Texas, contact:
Southern Methodist University
Tel: (214) 768-2745
Southern Methodist University
Tel: (214) 768-2749
- A video recording of Southern Methodist University's (SMU) "Geothermal Generation in Oil and Gas Settings Conference" held 13-14 March 2006 in Dallas, is available for purchase on DVD for $150. The two-day meeting covered technology and case studies highlighting what is known in the geothermal community and how it can be applied to the oil and gas industry. For more information.
- Texas geothermal outreach has been the recent focus of the Texas Working Group. Maria Richards of the SMU Geothermal Lab and Richard Erdlac of the University Texas Permian Basin-Center for Energy and Economic Diversification, have been busy presenting the geothermal capabilities of Texas to a variety of groups, including:
- Amarillo Society of Petroleum Engineers meeting (9 May),
- Midland Energy Conference "Fueling The Future" (11 May),
- Rural Association for Renewable Energy meeting (9-10 June),
- 40th Annual Texas Council of Chapters Soil and Water Conservation Society Meeting (15 June), and
- Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex Teachers Summer Learning Program (20 June).
- Houston-based Power Tube, Inc. has received a new patent for The Prometheus, a device engineered and designed by CTO Doyle W. Brewington. The Prometheus converts high heat and pressure contained in the flow of oil and gas resources from deep offshore platforms to mechanical energy that drive pumps, electrical energy to power machinery, and distillation of sea water for potable use.
Recent tests on another product, Thermal Riser, a device used with the Power Tube, were successful. The preliminary design transferred sufficient heat temperature from an oil well no longer in production, through the closed circuit design to produce 4.8 MWe at the surface. The well is approximately 5,000 feet deep, with temperatures of 350°F. For more information, contact Doyle Brewington at (281) 820-6622 Ext. 105, or email at email@example.com.
- In April 2006, the DOE's EERE Office published a fact sheet on geothermal usage and potential in Texas. According to "Geothermal Technologies Program: Texas," the state has many untapped geothermal resources that could potentially support energy development, including the state's extensive network of oil and gas wells.
- According to a new report published by the Environmental Defense (EDF)—Fair Warning: Global Warming and the Lone Star State—Texas emits more
carbon dioxide than
any other state,
and "there's no plan
to stop it, slow it,
or deal with the
consequences." Global warming will have serious impacts for the state. The report also includes specific steps state legislators could take to reduce Texas's contribution to global warming. For more information.
For further information on geothermal in Utah, contact:
Senior Geologist, Utah Geological Survey
- "Geothermal Development Needs in Utah" by Daniel Fleischmann of the GEA finds that Utah is among the states with the "greatest potential for new development in the West." The report points to plans to triple the state's geothermal power production by 2007 and recent additions to the geothermal heating project at the Utah State Prison, as examples of new developments.
Select another state
For further information on geothermal in Washington,
Geothermal, Hydrothermal and Integrated Energy
Washington State University
Tel: (360) 956-2016
- A broad-based coalition of businesses, environmental organizations, labor groups, and concerned citizens has launched a campaign to place a renewable portfolio standards initiative on the November ballot. Initiative 937 would require utilities serving 25,000 or more customers to obtain at least 15% of their load from renewables, including geothermal, by 2020. I-937 must be signed by 160,000 Washington voters by 30 June 2006 to be placed on the November ballot. For more information.
For further information on geothermal in Wyoming, contact:
Business Development Director,
Converse Area New Development Organization
Tel: (307) 358-2000
- In April 2006, the DOE's EERE Office published a fact sheet on geothermal usage and potential in Wyoming. According to "Geothermal Technologies Program: Wyoming," while the higher temperature resources found in Yellowstone Park and Hot Springs State Park are precluded from development, low-temperature geothermal resources elsewhere can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
Select another state
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