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spacerOctober 2004, Issue No. 13


Geothermal PTC Becomes Law
GeoPowering the West Ranked Number 1 EERE Program
DOE Small Business Solicitation Includes Geothermal
We need You to complete the Geothermal Employment Survey
Geothermal Calendar of Events
Current Solicitations
National News
State Roundup

Alaska
American Samoa
Arizona
California
Colorado
Hawai'i
Idaho

Oregon
South Dakota
Texas
Utah
Washington
Wyoming


Geothermal PTC Becomes Law

President Bush signed H.R. 4520, the "American Jobs Creation Act of 2004," into law on 22 October. The law expands the availability of the production tax credit (PTC) for electricity produced from new renewable facilities, including geothermal.

The PTC is 1.8¢/kWh (1.5¢/kWh adjusted for inflation) for a new facility's first five years of operation. Under the terms of the new law, the credit will also be allowed against a company's alternative minimum tax. To qualify for the credit, new plants must be up and running by the end of 2005. Only plants already being developed will meet that deadline.

"Tapping these [wind, solar, and geothermal] resources will strengthen our economy by creating jobs and providing a steady source of power, and it will strengthen our nation by reducing our dependence on foreign oil," said U.S. Senator Harry Reid, who was a major force behind the tax credit.

Dan Schochet, Vice President of ORMAT International, called the PTC "a major step forward."

According to Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) Executive Director Karl Gawell, "With this incentive [the PTC] by the year 2025, geothermal power could provide 6 percent of total U.S. electricity or about as much as conventional hydropower generates today."

The fate of the comprehensive energy bill (H.R. 6), which has been stalled by a Senate filibuster, remains uncertain.

For more information, email Karl Gawell, GEA, at Karl@geo-energy.org.

Sources: "Industry officials expect spike in new development with tax credit" by Cory McConnell, Lahontan Valley News and Fallon Eagle Standard, 16 October 2004; "New Legislation Expands Availability of Production Tax Credit," by Stoel Rives LLP, Tax Alert Bulletin, 13 October 2004.

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GeoPowering the West Ranked Number 1 EERE Program

GeoPowering the West (GPW) was ranked Number 1 in a Fall 2004 customer satisfaction survey of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) programs by constituents of the six DOE Regional Offices. The goal of the survey was to seek input on the Regional Offices' programs and performance in meeting the needs of the agencies and states they serve.

Among the 20 programs listed in the survey, GPW was ranked Number 1 with a mean score of 4.5 (out of a possible 5) by 25 respondents. The State Energy Program and Rebuild America were tied for Number 2 with a mean score of 4.4 by 105 and 82 respondents, respectively.

Customers also expressed interest in and a need for additional funding solicitations, support and assistance regarding projects, training, and information on programs or on specific topics of interest.

As of 18 September, 288 completed surveys were received from all 50 states; Washington, D.C.; and Guam for an overall response rate of 23%. State energy agencies returned the greatest number of completed surveys, followed by non-profit organizations, federal and local government agencies, and private companies. Harpers Research and Consulting analyzed and reported the survey results.

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DOE Small Business Solicitation Includes Geothermal

DOE is soliciting applications for its FY 2005 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Combined Program for Phase I grants.

Nine-month Phase I grants up to $100,000 will be made to small businesses. Phase I grants are used is to evaluate the scientific or technical merit and feasibility of ideas that appear to have commercial potential. The grant application should concentrate on research that will contribute to proving scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept. Success in DOE Phase I is a prerequisite to further DOE support in Phase II.

Three topics in particular contain specific references to geothermal technology. They are highlighted below.

26. Innovative Waste Heat Recovery Technology and Novel Cooling Systems - d. Air-Cooled Condenser Enhancements;
27. Advanced Materials,
28. New Energy Sources;
29. Advanced Power Electronics Technologies,
30. Reactions and Separations - d. Innovative Mineral Processing, and
31. Sensors and Controls for Efficiency and Renewable Energy Applications - a. Geothermal Two-Phase Flow Instrumentation and Control.

Geothermal technology may also be relevant under the non-highlighted EERE topics.

Applicants must have a Dunn and Bradstreet Universal Number (D-U-N-S) and be registered in the Central Contractor Registry. 

Grant applications will be accepted only through the DOE Industry Interactive Procurement System (IIPS), and are due 13 December 2004.

For more information.

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We need You to complete the Geothermal Employment Survey

The GEA needs you to complete the Geothermal Employment Survey

Current data regarding the total workforce involved in the geothermal sector is needed to better promote its socioeconomic benefits and to provide valuable estimates of the employment impacts of government policies supporting renewable energy. The only extensive labor survey of geothermal sector was conducted in 1977.

Participation of energy organizations and companies directly and indirectly involved in the geothermal sector is essential in order to depict a realistic and accurate view of employment. To date, GEA has received completed surveys from about 50% of its target group. If you or your company have not yet responded, please do so ASAP.

Have you completed the Geothermal Employment Survye?

To complete the survey online or obtain a hard copy, click here.

For more information, contact Nathanael Hance, GEA, at Tel: (202) 454-5241, or email at nh@geo-energy.org. The survey is supported by DOE's Geothermal Technology Program.

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National News
  • DOE recently issued two requests for proposals (RFPs) for Federally-recognized Tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Alaskan Native Corporations. The "First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands" RFP (DE-PS36-04GO94004) seeks applications for sustainable energy efficiency implementation or renewable energy development. The Administration has requested approximately $1 million in FY 2005. Applications are due 20 January 2005. For more information.

    The "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands" RFP (DE-PS36-04GO094003) seeks applications for feasibility studies for the development of economically sustainable renewable energy installations, and sustainable renewable energy development projects. Approximately $2 million to $3 million will be available in FY 2005. Applications are due 4 February 2005. For more information.
  • From November 2005 through April 2005 , on the first Monday of every month , small and medium sized public power utilities can participate in a free webcast series to learn how to expand the role of renewable resources in their energy supply portfolios. (The first webcast was held on 12 October and facilitated by Bob Lawrence and Associates, Inc.) The webcasts are sponsored by the American Public Power Association (APPA) Demonstration of Energy-Efficient Developments (DEED) Program, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), and DOE's GPW and Wind Powering America Programs. The webcast series is based on a new resource produced by the APPA DEED Program entitled: A Guidebook to Expand the Role of Renewables in a Power Supply Portfolio. For more information.

    To purchase a copy of A Guidebook to Expanding the Role of Renewables in a Power Supply Portfolio, call the APPA at (202) 467-2926, or order online from the APPA Publications Store. DEED members may obtain the guidebook at no charge through the DEED Project Database.

  • On 15 September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that 167 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects will receive a total of $22.8 million in competitive grants under the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. Rural small businesses, farmers, and ranchers will use the funds to build renewable energy systems and install energy efficiency improvements. Of the 94 renewable energy projects, most are either for wind turbines or anaerobic digesters. Two geothermal projects were selected: Park Farm Properties, LLC of Iowa received $35,918; and Turbotville Development Corporation of Pennsylvania received $249,435. For more information.

    USDA is proposing new program rules for administering the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program, and is requesting public comments. The proposed rule change was published in the Federal Register on 5 October. Public comments will be accepted through 4 November. For more information.

  • Over 65 people attended the Third Annual GPW State Working Group Summit on 1-2 September in Indian Wells, CA. Representatives from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai'i, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming participated in the meeting.

    The meeting included a discussion of innovative project updates of geothermal research in the West, Mammoth Lakes, and the Imperial Irrigation District. In addition to the status of GPW, other featured topics included a legislative and policy update, the turn-key geothermal project development process, geothermal heat pumps, and geothermal development on tribal lands. Two special sessions were the working group status update from all the states represented and an "Ask the Experts" breakout session designed to facilitate interaction. The agenda and presentations are available in PDF format.

  • In remarks before the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting in Indian Wells, CA on 30 August, Rebecca Watson, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management, shared the Bush Administration's commitment to developing geothermal and other renewable energy sources. She stated that the Department of the Interior places a priority on the development of geothermal energy on public lands. For more information.

  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has issued the following publications:

    Buried Treasure: The Environmental, Economic, and Employment Benefits of Geothermal Energy — This new publication provides current details and updated information on environmental, economic, and employment benefits and impacts of geothermal energy use.

    Geothermal Technologies Program: Direct Use —This 16-page publication describes geothermal direct-use systems, and how these systems have been effectively applied throughout the country. It also describes the DOE program R&D efforts in this area, and summarizes several projects using direct use technology.

    Geothermal Technologies Program: Enhanced Geothermal Systems — This 8-page publication describes enhanced geothermal systems and the principles of operation. It also describes the DOE program R&D efforts in this area, and summarizes several projects using EGS technology.

    Geothermal Technologies Program Strategic Plan (2004) — This DOE program document describes present program direction and emphasis, vision and mission, strategic goals, performance measures, and activities timeframe.

  • The September 2004 (Volume 25, Number 3) issue of the Geo-Heat Center Quarterly Bulletin contains the following stories: "Geothermal (Ground-Source) Heat Pumps - A World Overview," "100 Years of Geothermal Power Production," "On Top of the World: Arctic Air Base Warmed with Heat Pump Technology," "Chili and Garlic Drying by Using Waste Heat Recovery from a Geothermal Power Plant," "Stamps in the News," and "Mechanical Engineer Joins the Geo-Heat Center Staff."

  • In 2004, Stoel Rives LLP, developed a guide containing insights that the law firm's multi-state Geothermal Team has gained over the past ten years serving the U.S. geothermal industry domestically and abroad. Lava Law describes the current legal and policy issues most likely to affect the geothermal industry in general, and the development of individual geothermal projects. The publication will be updated annually. For more information, contact Cathie Baker at Tel: (503) 294-9661, or email at chbaker@stoel.com.

  • The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) examined the costs and benefits of a national renewable electricity standard (RES) that would gradually increase the country's use of renewable energy to 20% by 2020. "Renewing America's Economy" found that, nationally, the RES would create jobs, boost the domestic economy, and save consumers money. The UCS also examined a national RES's potential impact on the economies of several states including Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas. For more information.

  • The North American Development Bank (NADB) is actively pursuing clean and efficient energy projects that seek to improve air quality in the U.S.-Mexico border region. NADB is currently developing wind energy projects in Texas, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and Baja California; a biomass energy project in New Mexico; and several solar energy projects in Sonora, Arizona and New Mexico. NADB is seeking additional clean and efficient energy project proposals from the private and public sectors. For more information.

    NADB can also provide technical assistance for the initial stages of project development in the energy sector. If you are interested in seeking technical assistance for development of an energy project, contact Arturo Núñez, Director of Project Development – New Sectors, at (210) 231-8000.

  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has launched two new web-based data tools as part of its GeoCommunicator website. The Land and Mineral Use Records tool allows users to search, locate, access, and display records of the use authorizations that the BLM issues to the public for commodities and uses such as oil and gas, coal, sand, gravel, grazing, communication sites, and right-of-ways. The Federal Land Stewardship tool allows users to search, locate, and display the federal land management boundaries for federal lands in the United States. For more information.

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State Roundup

Alaska

For further information on geothermal activities in Alaska, contact:

Bernie Smith
Project Manager
Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority/
Alaska Energy Authority
Tel: (907) 269-4643
Email: BSmith@aidea.org

No news.

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American Samoa

No news.

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Arizona

For further information on the Arizona Geothermal
Working Group (AzGeo), contact
:

Amanda Ormond
The Ormond Group
Tel: (480) 491-3305
Email: asormond@msn.com

No news.

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California

For further information on geothermal activities in California, contact:

Elaine Sison-Lebrilla
Geothermal Program Manager
California Energy Commission

Tel: (916) 654-5129
Email: esisonle@energy.state.ca.us

  • Roseville Electric has issued an RFP to support a potential Roseville Electric Renewable "Green Energy" Program. Proposals are due 16 November. For more information.

  • "New Geothermal Site Identification And Qualification," the report about geothermal resource capacities and development costs made in a presentation by Jim Lovekin of GeothermEx, Inc. at the California Geothermal Summit in Sacramento on 20 May, is available online. According to the report, California has a total geothermal generation capacity of 3,700 MW (minimum) and 4,700 MW (most likely); and an incremental capacity of 2,000 MW (minimum) and 3,000 MW (most likely). The PIER Geothermal Database in Microsoft Access is also available. To obtain the report and database.

  • The Geysers Geothermal Association's (GGA) fall membership dinner will be held on 9 November at the Los Robles Lodge in Santa Rosa. The title of the talk is "The Geysers Fire." The cost is $32.00; the dinner is open to non-GGA members.  Reservations are due by 4 November. For more information, contact Charlene Wardlow, Calpine Corp., at charlene@calpine.com.

  • The Northern California Power Agency and the Southern California Public Power Authority will hold two free Public Utility Green Power Workshops in November and December. The first workshop will be on 30 November in Roseville; the second workshop will be on 2 December in Riverside. The workshops are designed to provide utilities and renewable energy providers with a better understanding of renewable energy options and markets, and the design of meaningful green power programs. Workshop co-organizers include WAPA, the Utility Energy Forum, NREL, DOE's GPW and Wind Powering America Programs, and PRP. For more information.

  • The Geothermal Education Office took GPW on the road to the 12th Annual Tribal EPA Conference held 27-29 October in San Francisco. Co-hosted by the Pyramid Lake Tribe, the meeting addressed many environmental issues in Indian Country, including financial opportunities and management, water and air quality, mining, solid waste management, natural resource management, and many more. For more information.

  • On 24 September, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 1478. The bill would have required utilities and other retail sellers of electricity to use renewables to generate 20% of their load by 2010, and created a renewable credit market. In his veto message, the governor stated that "While I appreciate the authors intent...This bill omits municipal utilities which service almost 30% percent of the energy consumed in California from any renewable portfolio requirements. It also creates a renewable credit market that has several onerous restrictions."

  • In late September, Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Energy signed agreements with CalEnergy and CalEnergy Obsidian Energy LLP to buy power from the planned Salton Sea Unit 6 Geothermal Power Project for up to 30 years. Under the deal, the new plant will supply the utility with 170 MW beginning in 2007 and up to 195 MW in 2011. Salton Sea Unit 6 will be the largest geothermal plant in the country when it is completed in mid-2007. For more information.

    On 1 September, IID Energy received a Geothermal Excellence Award for its outstanding efforts to promote geothermal energy use at the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting and Geothermal Energy Association Trade Show.

  • The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) received more than 40 proposals for generating projects from wind, solar, geothermal, small hydro, landfill gas, biomass, and municipal solid waste in response to its Renewable Energy Supply RFP. LADWP will evaluate the proposals based on a "least cost, best fit" basis. Proposals were due 13 September; officials expect to release a short list by November and to award renewable energy projects by February 2005 (Source: "California utility receives proposals for renewable energy projects," Refocus Weekly, 22 September 2004).

  • On 15 September, Assistant Secretary Rebecca Watson visited The Geysers during a tour of renewable energy plants in Northern California. She noted how close The Geysers fire had come to the geothermal power plants. Watson explained that "renewable energy is a significant part of the president's National Energy Policy, so I wanted to learn more about geothermal power" (Source: "Federal Interior official in town: Geysers, plants, others toured" by Mark Hedges, The Ukiah Daily Journal, 17 September 2004).

    Speaking over the noise of pumping equipment, Calpine engineer Kevin Grey explains to Secretary Watson how steam is pumped from the Geysers steam field into the turbines at the Sonoma 1 plant

    (Photo: Bureau of Land Management, California)

  • The Geysers Fire, which covered 12,000 acres, started on 3 September near the geothermal electric plants northeast of Geyserville. The fire threatened 3 of the 21 geothermal power plants. Kent Robertson, a spokesman for Calpine Corp., said 12 of the company's 19 power plants traversing the 30 square miles of the geothermal fields had been shut down for safety reasons. (Source: "Geyserville: Firefighters gain in Sonoma—100-degree heat 2,600 take on Geysers Fire—it's 35% contained" by Glen Martin and Pamela J. Podger, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 September 2004).

  • MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company will record a $340 million expense after taxes to shut down a money-losing project to extract zinc from geothermal brine in the Imperial Valley. MidAmerican has lost $69 million on the project since beginning extraction in 2002. Its total investment was about $400 million, according to MidAmerican's most recent quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. MidAmerican expects to spend about $13 million of cash in severance and other expenses related to the closure. Asset sales will offset some of those expenses. The company expects to receive about $55 million in future tax benefits (Source: "MidAmerican shuts down zinc project," Bloomberg News, Omaha World-Herald, 13 September 2004).

  • The City of Calistoga is planning to build a new municipal pool facility including three pools and a number of water features. Planners are currently evaluating using the local geothermal resource to heat the facility (Source: Kevin Rafferty, Geothermal Consultant).

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Colorado

For further information on geothermal activities in Colorado, contact:

Ed Lewis
Deputy Director, Management and Conservation
Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation
Tel: (303) 894-2383
Email: ed.lewis@state.co.us

  • Recent polls show that Amendment 37, the Renewable Energy Initiative—the first-ever statewide vote on renewable energy which would require that 10% of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015—has a high level of support among likely voters. The UCS released an analysis showing that
    Amendment 37 would likely save consumers $236 million by 2025, create 2,000 new jobs, and boost the economies of rural Colorado towns. Amendment 37 will be on the 2 November ballot. For more information.
    Vote Yes for 37!

  • On 17 August, Public Service Co. of Colorado (PSCo), an operating company of Xcel Energy Inc., released an RFP to obtain up to 500 MW of renewable generation capacity by the end of 2006. Renewable energy projects include: wind, solar, biomass, geothermal , municipal, animal or waste-tire, and small hydroelectric generation (< 20 MW). Proposals for projects that will be in service by 31 December 2005 are due 1 November 2004. Proposals for projects that will be in service by 31 December 2006 are due 23 November 2004. For more information.

  • The University of Colorado has issued an RFP to to provide Wind Power or Green Tags in the amount of 8.8 million kWh. Proposals are due 9 November 2004. For more information.

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Hawai'i

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

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

No news.

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Idaho

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

Gerry Galinato
Energy Division,
Idaho Department of Water Resources
Tel: (208) 327-7963
Email: ggalinat@idwr.state.id.us
  • On 2 September, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) held a hearing on IPC-E-04-08 - US Geothermal v Idaho Power and the related Lewandowski and Schroeder Complaint (IPC-E-04-10). US Geothermal alleges that Idaho Power Company's contract demands regarding the terms and pricing of power sales from Qualified Facilities (QFs) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) are unjust, unreasonable, and contrary to law. IPUC has not yet ruled on the complaint (Source: "QF Conflict: Utilities, IPPs Battle for Shape of Idaho QF Contracts-- and Small-Scale Renewables Development Prospects" by Rick Adair, Con.WEB 105, 30 September 2004).

    Idaho Power's draft 2004 Integrated Resources Plan calls for adding 100 MW of geothermal-powered generation.

  • U.S. Representative Mike Simpson toured US Geothermal Inc.'s Raft River geothermal facility on 31 August. Construction of phase one of the 10-MW plant, which could begin in 2005, would employ about 100 workers for a year; plant operation would require 15 workers (Source: "Digging deep for energy solutions ...Company moves toward geothermal generation in Cassia County" by Chip Thompson, Times-News, 1 September 2004).

  • US Geothermal Inc. received an increase of $400,000 for its Raft River Geothermal Resource Exploration and Development (GRED II) cost-sharing grant from DOE. The total cost of the workover and well testing program is now budgeted at $932,987, of which the DOE grant will pay $730,000. The well workover and testing program is approximately 70% complete with the five existing geothermal production wells successfully reopened and flow tested. US Geothermal recently raised $3.4 million through a private placement. For more information.

  • A start-up aquaculture operation is under construction in conjunction with the US Geothermal power plant.  Australian Red Claw crayfish, often called freshwater lobsters, will be raised using heat from the power plant effluent.  Since the aquaculture operation is starting prior to the completion of the power plant, a temporary arrangement using a maintenance "bleed flow" from one of the geothermal wells is being used initially.   Idaho Redclaw LLC, the aquaculture operator, has been experimenting with raising the Red Claw in the Boise area for some time.  This "marrying" of direct use and electric power applications may be a model for the future (Source: Kevin Rafferty, Geothermal Consultant).

  • The Boise Warm Springs Water District system is considering various options to dispose of its water. The system, now over 110 years old, serves about 275 customers on the city's east side. Currently the system includes only a geothermal supply line; water disposal is up to the individual customer.  The city is evaluating the costs and preliminary design of a collection piping system and the options for water disposal. With a collection system and environmentally acceptable disposal method in place, the system could connect new customers (Source: Kevin Rafferty, Geothermal Consultant).

  • The College of Southern Idaho located in Twin Falls is heated with low temperature geothermal water from a number of wells located on the campus.  For some years the school has operated geothermal greenhouses but the geothermal systems in three of the greenhouses were never intended to fully heat the structures during the coldest weather, and some have sustained freeze damage.  A method of providing full heating capacity to the greenhouses was identified.  Using available 110°F water, a system of both floor and fan coil type heating equipment can be used to allow the more effective use of the structures in conjunction with the campus horticulture courses (Source: Kevin Rafferty, Geothermal Consultant).

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Kansas

No news.

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Montana

For further information on geothermal activities in Montana, contact:

Kathi Montgomery
Air, Energy and Pollution Prevention Bureau
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Tel: (406) 841-5243
Email: kmontgomery@state.mt.us

  • Residents of Montana and the Pacific Northwest can learn about renewable sources at the 5th Annual Harvesting Clean Energy Conference to be held 20-21 January 2005 in Great Falls. The conference will feature experts and farmers with direct experience in successful clean energy projects. Speakers will talk about renewable energy feasibility and economic assessments, technical and financial resources, and finding markets. The conference is being held in conjunction with the Montana Agricultural and Industrial Exposition. For more information.

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Nebraska

  • Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue has selected ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) to heat and cool 440,000 square feet of living space for service personnel. GSHPs are expected to cut energy use by 36% from the original boiler and chiller fan coil systems, and use 21% less energy than a new boiler and chiller. The base worked with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and the Nebraska State Energy Office to select a new system. The partnership was supported by a Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) grant through the DOE State Energy Program. Additional GSHP systems have been installed at the Offutt Chapel and the Bellevue Public Schools/Offutt AFB Welcome Center and Lied Activity Center. For more information.

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Nevada

For further information on geothermal activities in Nevada, contact:

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

  • The U.S. Navy announces its intent to enter a Public-Private Venture agreement with private industry, for a period of up to 30 years, for the development of geothermal resources located beneath the Naval Air Station in Fallon. The development site is located approximately 60 miles east of Reno and three miles south of the town of Fallon. Proposals are due 9 November. For more information . Reference Solicitation No. N47408-04-R-2530.

  • The State of Nevada Energy Office, DOE's GPW program, and the University of Nevada, Reno are holding a Great Basin Geothermal Workshop on 5 November. The workshop will cover current exploration in the Great Basin, provide an update on the Geothermal and Renewable Energy Laboratory of Nevada to be constructed at the Redfield campus, and introduce a new map of geothermal resource potential in the Great Basin based on work done at the Center. A panel discussion will address future directions for exploration and development and the implications for future research. For more information.

  • Professor Geoffrey Blewitt of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy of the University of Nevada, Reno, reports that the DOE-funded MAGNET GPS network has grown to cover a total of 52 stations in the northwestern Great Basin. MAGNET helps to identify regional-scale to basin-scale targets for geothermal exploration by using high precision mapping of the surface strain-rate tensor field due to active tectonics. New areas covered by the network expansion include Buena Vista Valley, Pleasant Valley, Granite Springs Valley, and the Humboldt River Valley.

  • Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. (NGP) announced on 25 October that it has acquired 7 square miles of private land and applied for a one section federal geothermal lease for a total land area of 8 square miles (22 square kilometers) south and east of Black Warrior Peak, Washoe County. The leases are on private land and are subject to a 3.5% royalty on gross revenue from electricity sales, however, NGP can purchase the royalty for $1 million. Leases include surface and water rights. For more information.

  • Noramex Corp., a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary company of NGP, signed a DOE cost sharing contract on 13 October. Under the Geothermal Resource Exploration and Definition (GRED) III award, DOE will fund 80% of an initial field evaluation program at the Pumpernickel Project. The DOE cost share is $692,272 of the total budget of $740,340. For more information.

  • On 13 October, the Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a renewable energy contract for 20 MW of new geothermal power to be supplied to Sierra Pacific Power Company by ORNI 7. The 20-year contract is the result of Sierra Pacific's 2003 renewable RFP. The new power plant, Galena Geothermal 1, will be located south of Reno at Steamboat Springs and is expected to begin supplying energy to Sierra Pacific by 2006. For more information.

  • NGP announced on 29 September that its temperature gradient drilling program is near completion at the Blue Mountain project. Eight holes have been drilled to depths up to 1,020 feet. Results from the current drilling combined with earlier temperature gradient data and test wells Deep Blue No. 1 and 2 will be used to determine the optimum location for two production test wells for the planned 30-MW geothermal power plant. An independent report has been commissioned which will summarize available results, estimate the most likely energy reserves, and provide an updated discounted cash flow analysis. For more information.

  • On 29 September, the Public Utilities Commission approved the Temporary Renewable Energy Development (TRED) program. Under the TRED Program, funds collected by the state’s electric utilities will be placed in a third party trust for disbursement as payments to renewable energy developers for the electricity sold to the utilities. By creating an independent trust, project financiers are guaranteed payments regardless of the utility's financial situation. For more information.

  • A coal-fired power plant and a geothermal power project, both in the planning stages near Gerlach, are competing for access to a 3100-MW transmission line. Sempra Energy Resources, which is planning a 1450-MW coal-fired power plant, has applied for permission to connect to the transmission line. Nevada Renewable Energy Park has also applied to connect to the line. The Nevada Renewable Energy Park is a planned 1200-MW geothermal and wind power project (Source: Nevada Geothermal Update, August 2004).

  • In 2004, Geothermal Rail Industrial Development (GRID-USA) began planning the country's largest alternative energy industrial park east of Reno. The project features a superior location, nearby transportation, geothermal resources, and business incentives. For more information.

  • The Geological Society of Nevada has issued a Call for Papers for its 2005 Symposium: Window to the World. The Symposium will be held 15-18 May 2005 in Sparks, and will include three days of Plenary Sessions covering geology, tectonics, mineralization processes,deposits, geochemistry, geophysics, and exploration.in the Great Basin and worldwide; and one day of small Specialist Meetings on various topics. For more information.

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New Mexico

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

Brian K. Johnson
Geothermal Program Manager
Minerals and Natural Resources Department
New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources
Tel: (505) 476-3313
Email: bkjohnson@state.nm.us

  • DOE has approved the New Mexico Geothermal Energy Working Group's (NMGEWG) Strategic Plan for New Mexico Geothermal Resources Development. The Strategic Plan presents background on geothermal development in the state to date, and provides recommended future actions in the direct use, power generation, and heat pump technology areas. It was prepared by Jim Witcher, Geothermal Program Manager at New Mexico State University, in collaboration with NMGEWG, the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium, DOE and GPW, and the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD). The strategic planning work was made possible through a DOE grant to EMNRD.

    The NMGEWG will meet at the Rio Grande Nature Center in Albuquerque on 9 November to discuss the Strategic Plan. Please RSVP to Rachel Herrera at (505) 476-3311, or rdherrera@state.nm.us.

  • EMNRD has set the tentative dates for the next annual NMGEWG meeting: 10-11 May 2005. For more information, contact Brian Johnson, EMNRD Geothermal Program Manager, at (505) 476-3313 or bkjohnson@state.nm.us.

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North Dakota

  • At almost 116,500 gross square feet, the Century Center building is the largest North Dakota office building to use a geothermal heating and cooling system. Other state buildings equipped with geothermal technology include the Missouri River Correctional Facility, the visitor center at Sakakawea State Park, a Job Service North Dakota service center in Bismarck, and the State Historical Society at Pembina. Total construction cost for the Century Center building was just under $11 million. Energy saving features added approximately $100,000, most of which paid for drilling wells for the geothermal system. Payback is estimated at five to seven years (Source: "State building shows North Dakota's commitment to efficiency," Energy Services Bulletin, Vol. 23, No. 5, October 2004).

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Oklahoma


Oregon

For further information on geothermal activities in Oregon, contact:

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

  • The Oregon Geothermal Working Group will hold a meeting on 9 November in Bend. A draft agenda is available. For more information, contact Carel C. DeWinkel, Oregon Department of Energy at carel.dewinkel@state.or.us.

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South Dakota

No news.

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Texas

For further information on geothermal activities in Texas, contact:

David Blackwell
Southern Methodist University
Tel: (214) 768-2745
Email: blackwel@passion.isem.smu.edu


Maria Richards
Southern Methodist University
Tel: (214) 768-2749
Email: mrichard@mail.smu.edu

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on 21 September that Texas leads the nation in the number of EPA Green Power Partners—businesses that have purchased enough environmentally beneficial renewable energy to qualify for EPA recognition.  The state's almost 200 Green Power Partners purchase over 400,000,000 kilowatt hours of green power each year. According to EPA Regional Administrator Richard Greene, "this is roughly equal to taking 50,000 cars off the road." For more information.

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Utah

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

Bob Blackett
Senior Geologist, Utah Geological Survey
Tel: (435) 865-8139
Email: blackett@suu.edu

No news.

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Washington

For further information on geothermal activities in Washington, contact:

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

No news.

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Wyoming

For further information on geothermal activities in Wyoming, contact:

Ed Werner
Business Development Director,
Converse Area New Development Organization
Tel: (307) 358-2000
Email: ewerner@candowyoming.com

  • The Converse Area New Development Organization (CANDO), in cooperation with the Wyoming State Energy Office (SEO), developed a geothermal initiative in Wyoming with support from a DOE State Energy Program grant. The state is a prime candidate for geothermal direct use applications, i.e., home heating and cooling, spas, agriculture, aquaculture, greenhouses, and space heating. The Wyoming Geothermal Outreach (WYGO) will work to establish Wyoming geothermal energy as an economically competitive contributor to America’s energy supply. To accomplish this mission, WYGO will:

    • Increase awareness of geothermal opportunities;
    • Work with government officials and industry leaders to create a more favorable regulatory and economic environment for geothermal development; and
    • Promote environmentally compatible heat and power, industrial growth and economic development.

    The WYGO program will develop geothermal outreach and information sharing tools, including workshops, a website, and information packets. WYGO will engage in "trade missions" with western states that have significant geothermal development, thereby learning lessons and best practices from other areas. WYGO will survey all likely industrial companies in an effort to catalog direct-use applications and business services. WYGO will develop new case studies of the benefits and costs of geothermal deployment in Wyoming. WYGO will use this information to promote new geothermal applications and to facilitate lower costs for geothermal power generation.

  • Organized by CANDO, the 2004 "Roping the Wind" conference was held in Cody on 12-13 September. New this year was the inclusion of geothermal and biomass. Pat Laney from the Idaho National Engineering and Environment Laboratory presented an hour long overview of geothermal concepts and applications to a very enthusiastic and interested audience. The geothermal presentation was one of the most favorably commented on portions of the program. It has created numerous follow up conversations and requests more for information. For more information.

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