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spacerOctober 2005, Issue No. 19

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Federal Update: DOE geothermal and R&D budgets in jeopardy
Geothermal industry could create thousands of new jobs
Western U.S. has up to 13 GW of undeveloped geothermal power potential by 2025
Changes to USDA Farm Bill Renewable Energy grant and loan program good for geothermal projects
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


Capitol Building
Federal Update:
DOE geothermal and R&D budgets in jeopardy

Rumors of deep cuts in renewable technology programs are rampant in Washington, D.C. With billions needed for Iraq and hurricane relief, there are renewed calls to cut spending to keep down the federal deficit. Reports indicate that major cuts to programs including solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal, are being discussed at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE hydropower program is already slated for closure in FY 2006.

On 21 September, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group of over 100 House Republicans "organized for the purpose of advancing a conservative social and economic agenda in the House of Representatives," released a 23-page report outlining ways to cut the federal budget to pay for hurricane relief.

One of Operation Offset's options is eliminating the Applied Research for Renewable Energy Sources Program. According to the report, "The Applied Research for Renewable Energy Sources program funds research and development of renewable sources of energy, including developing alternative liquid fuels from biomass. However, such research is already subsidized through the tax code, and the development of applied energy technology is not necessarily a proper role for the federal government." The report estimates that cutting the program could save $4.2 billion over ten years.

For more information: GEA Update, 14 October 2005.

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Geothermal industry could create thousands of new jobs

In September, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) released a report on employment in the industry. The report entitled "Geothermal Industry Employment: Survey Results & Analysis" is the first systematic examination of employment in the industry since 1978.

The report finds that the geothermal industry supplied about 4,583 direct power plant related jobs in 2004 resulting in 11,460 total—direct, indirect, and induced—full-time jobs.

The report predicts an increase in future employment related to geothermal development: "More power purchase agreements have been signed for new geothermal power plants, and the powerful federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) has been expanded to include new geothermal facilities. These changes indicate that there will be significant new growth in the industry in coming years."

The GEA report also found that:

  • Employment generated by power plant manufacturing and construction is estimated at 6.4 jobs/MW of new capacity installed. Operation and maintenance creates 0.74 jobs/MW.

  • Permanent full-time employment represents 86% of total industry employment, permanent part-time jobs account for 8.5%, temporary full-time jobs for 2%, and temporary part-time jobs for 3.5%.

  • The ten companies with the largest geothermal work force comprise roughly 40% of the direct employment in the industry.

  • Over 90% of the companies involved in the geothermal industry have less than 20 employees in their geothermal workforce.

  • Geothermal power producers are typically the largest employers in the industry.

  • About half of the companies involved in the geothermal industry have research and development activities.

  • Research activities accounted for 26% of the geothermal workforce in 1978 but only for 3.5% in 2004.

  • Government employment related to geothermal projects was 2.5 times larger in 1978 than in 2004.

The full report is available on the GEA website.

Other new reports on environmental, price and cost, and resource issues are also available from GEA

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Western U.S. has up to 13 GW of undeveloped geothermal power potential by 2025

The 30-day comment period has closed for the Draft Report of the Geothermal Task Force. The Geothermal Task Force is one of eight which comprise the Western Governors' Association (WGA) Clean and Diversified Energy Advisory Committee (CDEAC).

The Draft Report of the Geothermal Task Force estimates that the western U.S. by 2025 could have up to 13 gigawatts of undeveloped geothermal power from over 120 specific sites. The near-term potential is 5,635 MW. The figures listed under New Jobs represent the total new full-time jobs which are defined as "Direct and Indirect and Induced Employment" in GEA's September 2005 employment survey (see previous article).

State
Capacity (MW)
New Jobs
California
2,400
10,200
Nevada
1,500
6,375
Oregon
380
1,615
Washington
50
212
Alaska
25
106
Arizona
20
85
Colorado
20
85
Hawaii
70
298
Idaho
860
3,655
New Mexico
80
340
Utah
230
978
Wyoming, Montana, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota

Data will be in the final report.

Total
5,635
23,949

In addition, the Geothermal Subcommittee recommended that the Governors should:

  • Urge Congress to extend the placed in service date for the Production Tax Credit to 31 December 2010 and provide more flexibility in meeting the deadline for technologies that have longer construction times;

  • Urge the Department of the Interior to expeditiously implement recent changes to the Geothermal Steam Act and implement BLM's new Strategic Plan. BLM efforts are central to the federal government's role in geothermal development, and the Department needs to recognize this in setting priorities and budgets;

  • Support the work of the National Task Force on Improving NEPA, and otherwise support and pursue improvements in federal processing that reduce cost, reduce delays, and ensure timely decisions without substantive changes to the environmental protections sought by underlying laws;

  • Support strong, continuing geothermal research and outreach efforts by DOE. In addition, WGA should ask the Secretary of Energy to expand DOE's support for exploration and exploratory drilling and examine whether existing federal loan guarantee authority in law can be used to supplement these activities to reduce risk and encourage development in new resource areas; and

  • Urge the Administration and Congress to review Executive Orders established by the Clinton administration, (EO 13007 and 12898), and the underlying law to improve its administration and seek to facilitate resolution of conflicts and provide direction on how to balance competing values when there are irreconcilable differences.

The CDEAC will review all the subcommittees' final reports, and develop a comprehensive set of recommendations for the Governors to consider at their June 2006 Annual Meeting.

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Changes to USDA Farm Bill Renewable Energy grant and loan program good for geothermal projects

On 18 October, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and DOE's Wind Powering America sponsored a webcast on changes to USDA's Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grant, Guaranteed Loan, and Direct Loan Program for FY 2006. Some of the changes are:

  • Applications can be submitted at any time;

  • Non-competitive applications for guaranteed loans will be processed continuously throughout the year;

  • Competitive grants will be awarded two to four times a year;

  • Financial need can be based on either the applicant’s financial resources or the project’s cash flow;

  • The applicant's headquarters may be in a rural or non-rural location but the project itself must be located in a rural area;

  • Guaranteed loans may be combined with grants or other loan programs, e.g., USDA's Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program;

  • New streamlined Simplified Application Procedures have been developed for projects whose total eligible costs are less than $200,000. Projects less than $200,000 will receive priority scoring; and

  • Applicants must conduct a self-evaluation of their project using the same evaluation criteria that the USDA will use. Scoring is critical.

For the webcast presentation.

For the complete final rule, see the Federal Register, 18 July 2005, pp. 41264-41338.

For more information on how you can apply for a guaranteed loan or grant, contact your state USDA Rural Energy Coordinator.

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National News
  • 2 November 2005 - The Environmental Law and Policy Center, National Association of State Energy Officials, American Wind Energy Association, and Interstate Renewable Energy Council are cosponsoring an informational teleconference on Clean Renewable Energy Bonds on 2 November at 11:30 A.M-12:30 P.M. (EST) / 8:30-9:30 AM (PST). Call-in number: 1-800-275-1366, password: 66957. The Clean Renewable Energy Bonds program allows rural electric co-operatives, municipal power authorities, and other governmental units to issue "no-interest" bonds for renewable energy projects. Purchasers of these bonds will receive federal tax credits in lieu of interest payments.

  • 25 October-3 November 2005 - DOE, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate issues associated with designating energy corridors on federal land in 11 western states. Based upon the information and analyses developed in this PEIS, each Agency will amend its respective land use plans. Public scoping meetings will be held between 25 October and 3 November 2005. For more information.

  • On 19 October, the American Bar Association sponsored a teleconference on the Energy Policy Act of 2005's impact on the development of renewable energy resources. For more information and teleconference materials.

  • On 11 October, Representative Cathy McMorris (R-WA), chair of the Task Force on Improving the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), offered a new Task Force charter to extend work past the original 5 October end date. The newly chartered Task Force will be named the "Task Force on Updating the National Environmental Policy Act." It will hold two additional hearings before issuing its findings and issuing a report of hard recommendations by 30 November.

  • On 7 October, the BLM issued its final rule to amend its mineral resources regulations to increase certain fees and to impose new fees to cover BLM's costs of processing documents relating to its minerals programs. The new fees include costs of actions such as environmental studies performed by BLM, lease applications, name changes, corporate mergers, lease consolidations and reinstatements, and other processing-related costs. BLM established some fixed fees and some fees on a case-by-case basis. The final rule reflects changes to the proposed rule required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The new rule is effective 7 November 2005. For more information: Federal Register, Volume 70, pp. 58854-58880, 7 October 2005.

  • Close to 1,000 people attended the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) 2005 Annual Meeting and GEA Trade Show in Reno, Nevada 25-28 September.

    In her remarks at the opening session, Department of the Interior (DOI) Assistant Secretary Rebecca Watson, predicted that 2006 will be a great year for geothermal. As evidence, she pointed to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which amends the Geothermal Steam Act, including the royalty structure; requires a memorandum of understanding between the BLM and USFS to address the lease application backlog; extends the Production Tax Credit; returns the Federal portion of geothermal royalties to the DOI for program implementation; and calls for a national assessment of geothermal resources. Regarding regulatory changes, Assistant Secretary Watson stated that the target completion dates are September 2006 for proposed royalty rules; December 2006 for all others.

    GRC 2005 Transactions

    For the first time, the Geothermal Resources Council Transactions from the 2005 Annual Meeting are available for purchase on CD-ROM.

    For more information.


  • The Renewable Energy Business Alliance (REBA), composed of six renewable energy trade association, including the Geothermal Energy Association, sent a letter to President Bush on 23 September urging him to support the accelerated production of domestic, renewable energy sources.

    REBA suggested several specific actions: (1) Resolving the uncertainty created by the rigid "placed in service" requirements of the Production Tax Credit, (2) Requiring that 10% of the federal government's electricity purchases be made from renewable resources by 2010, (3) Directing federal agencies to streamline permitting for renewable energy projects, (4) Implementing the provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 within six months and expedite the implementation of the federal loan guarantees for innovative technologies, and (5) Ensuring that federal agencies with responsibilities to support new renewable energy production have adequate resources to do their jobs.

  • The September 2005 (Volume 26, Number 3) issue of the Geo-Heat Center Quarterly Bulletin is available. The issue focuses on geothermal (ground source) heat pump applications in the western U.S. and Canada. It contains the following articles: Geothermal Heat Pump Case Studies of the West; Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center, Middletown, California; Canyon View High School, Cedar City, Utah; Murray High School, Salt Lake City, Utah; Chiloquin Community Center, Chiloquin, Oregon; South Cariboo Recreation Centre, 100 Mile House, British Columbia, Canada; Sundown M Ranch, Yakima, Washington; and Inn of the Seventh Mountain, Bend, Oregon.
  • In September, Sandia National Laboratories published "The Cost of Geothermal Energy in the Western US Region: A Portfolio-Based Approach. A Mean-Variance Portfolio Optimization of the Region’s Generating Mix to 2013" by Shimon Awerbuch, Ph.D., Jaap C. Jansen, Luuk Beurskens, and Thomas Drennen, Ph.D. (SAND2005-5173). The report describes essential portfolio-theory ideas and discusses their application in the western United States, showing how electricity-generating mixes can benefit from additional shares of geothermal and other renewables. The optimal results for the western U.S. indicate that generating mixes with larger geothermal shares have equal-or-lower expected costs and risks.

  • On 14 September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that 150 applicants in 32 states will receive almost $21 million in USDA Rural Development grant assistance for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects under the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Grant Program (Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill). As in prior years, over half of the funding went to utility-scale wind projects. Projects in Iowa and Nebraska received the most awards.

    Of the eleven geothermal applications received, two received funding. The Parrot Mine Shop Complex, LLC in Montana received $45,100 to install a geothermal heat pump in a old stone mill building converted into shops, and Mulhall Farm's, Inc. in Nebraska received $49,830 to construct a geothermal greenhouse. For more information. For a list of grant recipients.

  • On 31 August, DOE's Geothermal Technology Program released its draft Geothermal Multi-Year Program Plan, 2006-2011. According to the plan, "The challenge for the DOE Geothermal Technologies Program...is to develop and deploy the technology needed to economically capture the larger, deeper, cooler, and less permeable resource base—the Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS). Enabling use of this energy could provide a renewable baseload energy source for future generations of Americans." Comments on the plan were accepted through 21 October.

  • The August 2005 National Geographic's cover story entitled, "Future Power: Where Will the World Get Its Next Energy Fix," asked "Where on Earth can our energy-hungry society turn to replace oil, coal, and natural gas?". Cited in the article as answers were solar, wind, biomass, nuclear, and fusion. The story did not mention geothermal at all.

  • DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has launched a new website that lists opportunities for financial assistance. The new EERE: Financial Opportunities website lists current and past solicitations from EERE and provides specific funding information for business, industry, and universities, as well as consumers, federal energy managers, inventors, states, and tribes. In fiscal year 2004 alone, EERE awarded approximately $506 million in financial assistance. The site also explains the EERE funding and award process, the types of EERE financial assistance, and how to apply.

  • The DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) Energy Citations Database (ECD) website contains bibliographic records for geothermal scientific and technical information from DOE and its predecessor agencies, the Energy Research and Development Administration , and the Atomic Energy Commission dating from 1948 through the present. To locate geothermal publications, select Advanced Search. Set the Field to "Bibliographic Info" and the Value to "Geothermal Legacy" (the entire geothermal collection). On the next lines, enter other field values as desired. The ECD website is publicly available. Documents are in PDF format.

    • Global Energy Decisions has released its Renewable Energy 2005 wall map. The map shows existing and proposed renewable energy projects; transmission infrastructure; the industry's first comprehensive, nationwide composite of the latest detailed wind resource measurements; facility information (e.g., name, company, capacity, fuel, and estimated on-line date where

    Renewable Energy 2005 wallmapNorthern California on the
    Renewable Energy 2005 wall map

    appropriate); as well as a complete view of the geographic issues surrounding renewable energy development. The 48" by 92" map is available for $475.

  • The Western Area Power Administration's Energy Services Program website has a host of information with links to numerous related sites. The site contains an events calendar, and links to information on all aspects of energy ranging from efficiency to renewables and sustainable construction to environmental issues. The search feature allows users to tap into successful programs other utilities and customers have implemented.

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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

  • Chena Hot Springs Resort has installed a double lift absorption chiller (ThermoChiller) to keep its Aurora Ice Museum and Hotel from melting even during the short but hot Alaskan summer months. The ThermoChiller uses 163°F spring water to provide 15 tons of -20°F chilling. It was custom designed to deliver very cold chilling from a low temperature heat source by using a double lift ammonia absorption cycle (Source: "Geothermal Powered Absorption Chiller for Alaska Ice Hotel" by Donald C. Erickson, Icksoo Kyung, and Gwen Holdmann; GRC Transactions; Volume 29; 2005; pp. 57-59). For more information, contact Gwen Holdmann, Chena Hot Springs Resort, gholdmann@chenahotsprings.com.


    ThermoChiller prior to installation

    Interior view of Aurora Ice Hotel

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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

  • 15 November 2005 - The Geysers Geothermal Association will hold its Fall Membership Meeting at the Los Robles Lodge in Santa Rosa on 15 November. Topics include an update on the Santa Rosa Geysers Recharge Project and the Bottle Rock Power Plant. A no-host bar begins at 6:15 P.M. with dinner at 7:00 P.M. The cost is $32.00 per person. For more information, contact Charlene Wardlow, Calpine, charlene@calpine.com.

  • The Imperial Irrigation District (IID) requests competitive proposals for renewable resources including geothermal. Facilities can be located anywhere in the interconnected transmission system located in the interconnected Western Electric Coordinating Council electrical grid in amounts not to exceed those as described within the solicitation for a period of approximately 10 years, though lesser or greater terms will be considered, with deliveries beginning in 2007. IID Energy provides electric power to customers in the Coachella Valley, Imperial Valley, and parts of San Diego County. For more information. Proposals are due 10 November 2005.

  • The California Geothermal Energy Collaborative (CGEC) has begun issuing monthly reports tracking transmission planning issues relevant to geothermal development in the state. The reports will be posted on the CGEC website currently under development. The July 2005 and August 2005 reports are available in Word format. For more information, contact Judy Fischette, CGEC Administrative Manager, at fischette@sbcglobal.net

  • The California Energy Commission (CEC) has recently issued two new reports :

    • "Identifying New Opportunities for Direct-Use Geothermal Development" (Publication No. CEC-500-2005-108)). Written by Science Applications International Corporation, the report identifies 10 projects judged to have the greatest potential for near-term direct use geothermal development, and includes detailed assessments for each. The top five projects are Mineral Extraction from Geothermal Brine, Aquaculture in Canby, Greenhouse Heating in Canby, Direct-use in Paso Robles, and Mammoth Lakes District Heating.

    • "Geothermal Strategic Value Analysis" (Publication No. CEC-500-2005-105). Written by CEC staff Elaine Sison-Lebrilla and Valentino Tiangco, the paper provides estimates of the economically viable geothermal resources located in California. Using strategic value analysis (SVA) which includes transmission costs, the report concludes that an additional 1,485 MW to 2,638 MW of geothermal capacity can be economically developed by 2017. The amount depends on what price forecast the calculated levelized costs of electricity for geothermal is compared with. The paper updates and expands upon staff paper "California Geothermal Resources" (Publication No. CEC-500-2005-070).

  • On 12 October, U.S. Renewables Group (USRG) announced that it had acquired a controlling interest in Bottle Rock Power Corporation, a California company whose principal asset is a 55 MW geothermal power station located at The Geysers. USRG plans to refurbish and restart the facility over the next 12 months, and produce about 200,000 megawatt hours per year by the end of next year. The Bottle Rock facility was originally constructed, owned, and operated by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) but was closed in 1991 due to a drop in production from The Geysers, the availability of ample power capacity in California, and an inability to economically justify the investment required to restore full production. The DWR sold the power station to Bottle Rock Power in 2001. USRG was founded in 2003 to acquire, develop and operate renewable energy and clean fuel assets. For more information.

  • The USFS and BLM halted work scheduled for 2005 for the Calpine geothermal project at Medicine Lake to review concerns raised by the Telephone Flat Geothermal Project Oversight Committee at a meeting held 29 September. Calpine's plans to build two 49 MW geothermal electrical generating plants near Medicine Lake have encountered resistance from Native Americans, environmental groups , and local residents (Source: "Geothermal project comes to halt for 2005" by Paul Boerger, Mount Shasta News, 10 October 2005). For the complete story.

  • Ninety-five (95) abstracts have been submitted to date for the 31st Stanford Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering which will take place 30 January-1 February 2006 on the Stanford Campus. The annual workshop's objectives are to bring together engineers, scientists, and managers involved in geothermal reservoir studies and developments; provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on the exploration, development, and use of geothermal resources; and enable prompt and open reporting of progress.

  • On 8 September, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously to oppose Proposition 80, The Repeal of Electricity Deregulation and Blackout Prevention Act." The PUC determined that the initiative duplicates work already underway at the PUC, including increasing the state's purchase of renewable power through the Renewables Portfolio Standard program. "Proposition 80 is bad for consumers and the environment," said PUC President Michael R. Peevey. Proposition 80 would repeal key provisions of Assembly Bill 1890 which deregulated the state's electricity market, restore authority to regulate rates to the CPUC, and require that 20% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2010. For more information.

  • The City Council of Berkeley voted to join the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), joining Oakland as the second Californian municipal member of the greenhouse gas emission reduction and trading program. The CCX is North America’s first and only market for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and trading allowances. CCX Members commit to reduce GHGs associated with climate change and global warming. For more information.
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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


For Sale Hot Artesian Mineral Well on 28 acres near Penrose. The real "gold" is the 75-gallon-per-minute water right, worth far more than the land itself. Serious well-funded inquiries only to: K. Crescenta, 313 North Sheridan Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80909.
  • Environmentalists, renewable energy supporters, and utility companies have agreed on new proposed net metering and interconnection standards required under Amendment 37, the state's renewable portfolio standard. The parties submitted a consensus filing in mid-August to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, indicating that they had reached agreement on simplified net metering for commercial and residential renewable-energy systems up to 2 MW in capacity (Source: "Interconnection Advances for Colorado Renewable Energy," RenewableEnergyAccess.com, 21 September 2005).

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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

  • Interest is high in developing geothermal direct use enterprises in Puna. Development options identified include (1) using waste heat from the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) power plant, (2) extracting heat from existing shallow wells, and (3) drilling new shallow wells. PGV currently injects 3,000 gpm of 148°C-waste water. Utilizing it would require a heat exchanger as PGV cannot export fluid outside of the lease.

    Puna has more than a dozen existing shallow wells, many drilled in search of potable water. One such well is Malama Ki. Drilled in 1962 on the 189-acre University of Hawaii agricultural experiment station, the 97.2-meter deep Malama Ki well found salty water with temperatures up to 56°C. Previously used for monitoring and fruit species trials, it is currently unused.

    Possible direct use applications are wide and varied and include drying fruits, nuts, and lumber; greenhouse bottom heating; growing media pasteurization; animal and fish feed processing; fishing; ice making, refrigeration,

    Malama Ki well
    The Malama Ki well
    and cold storage; aquaculture; spas and health retreats; ethanol production; milk pasteurization; community kitchen; fruit fly disinfestation; and silk dyeing (Source: "Options and Questions For Direct Use in Puna, Hawaii" by Andrea T. Gill, GRC Transactions, Volume 29, 2005, pp. 61-66).

    For more information, contact Andrea Gill; Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism at agill@interpac.net.

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Idaho

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

Gerry Galinato
Energy Division,
Idaho Department of Water Resources
Tel: (208) 287-4897
Email: Gerry.Galinato@idwr.idaho.gov
  • On 19 and 20 October, U.S. Geothermal Inc. was featured on World Business Review, hosted by General Alexander Haig. This segment of World Business Review explored how U.S. Geothermal Inc. works to develop a clean, renewable, environmentally friendly energy source. Coordinating producer H.L. Walsh added, "When researching the latest developments in power and energy solutions, U.S. Geothermal Inc. consistently came up as being in touch with the most current advancements in this area. They were a natural to appear on this edition of World Business Review." U.S. Geothermal Inc. is developing a geothermal power project at Raft River.

  • On 17-18 October, Jeanne Barger and Ron Belak of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) visited Idaho to learn how low-temperature geothermal resources are used for direct use applications. The tour included district heating, greenhouse, and aquaculture locations in Boise, the Hagerman Valley, and Twin Falls. GAO is preparing a report for Congress that will recommend how geothermal use can be better promoted and applied in the United States.

  • On 12 October, the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) facilitated the inaugural meeting of the Cascade Community Geothermal Task Force at the Ashley Inn in Cascade. Topics covered included an overview of Idaho geothermal, review of an existing geothermal strategic plan (developed by the Lava Hot Springs Geothermal Energy Team in 2004), and election of Task Force Chairman and Vice Chairman, Mike Stewart and Scotty Davenport, respectively. The meeting also included the initial open session of brainstorming where attendees contributed their ideas and visions for geothermal applications in their community (both city and county). The participants felt they needed additional members from the community and suggested inviting others to join the task force. The next meeting is scheduled for 9 November at the Ashley Inn.

    • Gerry Galinato and Ken Neely of the IDWR participated in the Geothermal Resources Council’s 2005 Annual Meeting and GPW State Summit in Reno 25-29 September.

    They presented a paper on raising fresh water lobsters using geothermal energy, and presented a poster display on geothermal resources in Idaho.

    The DOE GeoPowering the West Program awarded a plaque of commendation to Gerry Galinato for his outstanding efforts in geothermal energy outreach in Idaho.

    Gerry Galinato and John Lund
    Gerry Galinato (left) displays a fourth-place ribbon for his photo of a geothermal well venting in Idaho in the GRC amateur photography contest. John Lund (right), Geo-Heat Center director, chaired the contest.

  • Approximately 30 people attended the Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) Systems Seminar, hosted by the Idaho Energy Division 13-14 September in Boise. Taught by research engineer Andrew Chiasson of the Oregon Institute of Technology's Geo-Heat Center, the seminar addressed heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; closed- and open-loop systems; renewable energy screening

    Foothills Learning Center
    Boise’s new Foothills Learning Center showcases several forms of renewable energy, including geothermal.

    software; and case studies. Guest speakers John Geyer (John Geyer and Associates), John Dibble (Thermal Supply, Inc.), and Clint Richins (Renewable Energy Resources) provided the industry perspective. A field trip to the Foothills Learning Center followed the GHP seminar.


  • On 12 September, Mr. Chiasson and IDWR's Gerry Galinato and Ken Neely met with City of Cascade, Cascade Hospital, and Chevron Technology personnel to discuss the possibility of using geothermal heat pump technology in Cascade Hospital. Rising propane costs for heating and the cost of electricity for heating and cooling have prompted the hospital to look at a renewable resource as a heating option for part of the building. Obtaining a source of water at a reasonable cost is a primary hurdle. Mr. Chiasson will produce a brief written technical analysis for the hospital regarding the use of geothermal heat pumps at the facility.

  • In addition, the Energy Division of IDWR was active in several other events:

    • Alternative Energy Week in Boise, 12-18 September. IDWR staffed a geothermal booth at Boise City Hall, next to the outdoor fountain that is heated with geothermal water. The display presented geothermal energy information about Idaho. Boise is renowned for having the nation’s oldest district heating system, the only state capitol building heated with geothermal direct use, and four geothermal district heating systems in the downtown area.

    • Idaho National Laboratory’s Science and Engineering Expo in Idaho Falls, 22-25 September. IDWR's Hydrology section and Energy Division, and the Idaho Water Resource Research Institute set up and staffed a geothermal energy resources display.

    • Sun Valley Sustainability Conference in Ketchum, 28-30 September. As a Silver Sponsor, the Idaho Energy Division helped market and promote the event and secure speakers. The division also set up and staffed two exhibits: solar electric and renewables in general, including information on geothermal energy technology and uses in Idaho.

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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

No news.

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Nebraska

No news.

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Nevada

For further information on geothermal activities in Nevada, contact:

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

  • The first new geothermal power plant in a decade, as well as the the first to be built under the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard, will be inaugurated in the fourth quarter of 2005 near Reno. ORMAT's Galena 1 power plant, part of the Steamboat complex, incorporates ORMAT’s advanced binary technology, including high efficiency turbines and power plant equipment that can be operated either on site or remotely. The plant will also provide unique educational opportunities to students at the nearby University of Nevada, Reno Redfield campus. For more information. (Source: GEA Update, 14 October 2005).

  • On 11-12 October, the Nevada Division of Minerals and the Nevada State Office of Energy, in cooperation with the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, held a Nevada Tribal Geothermal Workshop in Sparks. The workshop was sponsored by DOE's GeoPowering the West Program. The workshop provided information on assessing geothermal resources on tribal lands and funding assessment work. It also included a field trip to a geothermal project with both direct heat use and electrical generation. For more information, contact Christy Morris, Nevada Division of Minerals, clmorris@govmail.state.nv.us.


    Nevada Geothermal Power, Inc. CEO and President Brian Fairbank was interviewed by Stanlie Hunt of the SmartStox Talk Show at the Toronto Resource Investment Conference on 5 October. Nevada Geothermal is developing a 30 MW geothermal power plant at Blue Mountain. The company also has geothermal rights in Pumpernickel Valley and Black Warrior in Nevada, and Crump

    Nevada Geothermal Power President Brian Fairbank talks geothermal with SmartStox Talk Show host, Stanlie Hunt
    Geyser in Oregon. Fairbank called the new federal PTC "a huge new development for the geothermal industry." Watch and listen to the interview.

  • AMP Resources, LLC has filed an "Application for a Permit to Construct Utility Facilities" with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada for a new 30 MW binary geothermal power plant to be built adjacent to the existing 7 MW Stillwater Power Plant located 15 miles northeast of Fallon in Churchill County. AMP plans to drill three to four new production wells which, along with the existing production wells, will support the new power plant. The proposed facility is scheduled to be in service by the end of 2007 (Source: Nevada Geothermal Update, September 2005).

  • The power sales contract with Sierra Pacific for Earth Power Resources' Hot Sulphur Springs project located 60 miles north of Elko has been cancelled. (Source: Nevada Geothermal Update, September 2005). For a June 2005 list of proposed generation plants in Nevada.

  • For the second consecutive year, ORMAT received an Industry Excellence Award at the 2005 GRC Annual Meeting and GEA Trade Show in Reno, 25-28 September. The University of Nevada, Reno received the Community Excellence Award for its new Renewable Energy Center of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy. For more information.

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New Mexico

For further information on the New Mexico Geothermal Energy
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

  • The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) has begun planning the New Mexico Geothermal Energy Working Group's (NMGEWG) 2006 annual meeting, to be held sometime in the first half of the year. There will be technical sessions on geothermal direct use, power generation, and heat pump systems. Updates will be provided on New Mexico’s geothermal work-in-progress.

  • NMGEWG members participated in the DOE GPW State Summit in Reno on 29 September. Brian Johnson of EMNRD and Jim Witcher of Witcher & Associates served as New Mexico’s delegates, while Roger Hill of Sandia National Laboratories provided an update on Geopowering the West and federal resources available.

  • New Mexico’s ground-source heat pump (GSHP) case studies project, funded by DOE, continues to progress. A total of 14 commercial and institutional GSHP systems have been identified in New Mexico. A subset of these will be selected for further evaluation.

  • New Mexico became the first state to join the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), a greenhouse gas emission reduction and trading program, on 16 September. Governor Bill Richardson's goal is to cut state government’s emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by 4% by 2006, and by an additional 2% by 2010. As a member of the voluntary, legally binding trading program, the state must either meet its GHG reduction goals itself or buy credits to offset emissions above the targets.

    Emission credits are traded daily over the Internet at a current cost of about $2.00 per metric ton of GHG emissions. New Mexico will likely have to buy credits initially to offset emissions in the years 2003 and 2004, before the state joined the program. In the coming months, the New Mexico General Services Department will complete an inventory of state government’s GHG emissions.

    The CCX is North America’s first and only market for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and trading allowances. CCX Members commit to reduce GHGs associated with climate change and global warming. For more information.

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North Dakota

No news.

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Oklahoma

No news.

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Oregon

For further information on geothermal activities in Oregon, contact:

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

  • 3-4 November 2005 - The Oregon Geothermal Working Group is meeting 3-4 November in Bend. The meeting will include discussions on DOE's GeoPowering the West Program, the GRC Annual meeting, what the new Energy Bill means for geothermal development, the newly formed Utility Geothermal Working Group, a renewable portfolio standard, and the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). A field trip to Newberry Volcano is planned for 4 November. For more information.

  • The City of Portland has joined the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), a greenhouse gas emission reduction and trading program. The CCX is North America’s first and only market for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and trading allowances. CCX Members commit to reduce GHGs associated with climate change and global warming. For more information.

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South Dakota

No news.

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Texas

For further information on geothermal activities in Texas, contact:

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


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

  • 7 November 2005 - The first Texas Geothermal Working Group Meeting will be held on Monday, 7 November at the Ellison Miles Geotechnical Institute at Brookhaven College in Dallas. The meeting will include an overview of what is currently known about geothermal resources in Texas, future potential, as well as roundtable discussions on specific aspects of geothermal development related to business, oil and gas, legislation, research, networking, etc. Please mark your calendar now, plan on attending, and spread the word to your colleagues. The meeting agenda is available online. Please RSVP by 2 November to Maria Richards, mrichard@smu.edu .

  • In early October, the University Texas Permian Basin Center for Energy and Economic Diversification (UTPB/CEED) hosted a meeting between United Technology Research Center and Carrier Corporation representatives and the vice president of an oil and gas (O&G) operating company active in West Texas. The O&G company is producing hot water along with natural gas and expressed interest in the potential use of this water. Produced power would be used initially by the O&G operator in the field to help lower existing electrical costs. Any unused power could eventually be sold to the grid. For more information, contact Dr. Richard J. Erdlac, Jr., Erdlac_R@utpb.edu.



    Maria Richards at the
    SMU Geothermal Lab booth

    • Maria Richards represented the Texas Geothermal Working Group in Fredericksburg at the Texas Renewable Energy Round-up and Green Living Fair, 23-25 September. Even Hurricane Rita blowing into southeast Texas could not keep the renewable energy enthusiasts away. There was much interest in and curiosity about geothermal energy.

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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: robertblackett@utah.gov

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

No news.

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