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spacerOctober 2006, Issue No. 25

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Federal Update
Geothermal Calendar of Events
Current Solicitations
National News
State Roundup

Alaska
Arizona
California
Colorado
Hawai'i
Idaho

Oregon
South Dakota
Texas
Utah
Washington
Wyoming


Capitol Building
Federal Update
  • Effective 31 October 2006, Roy Mink retired from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as director of the Geothermal Technologies Program. Allan J. Jelacic has been named acting director.

    The Geothermal Technologies Program, which was zeroed out in the Administration's Fiscal Year 2007 budget, is currently funded at $5 million for FY07 under a Continuing Resolution which runs through 17 November 2006. Congress will reconvene on 14 November 2006 to address the many unfinished appropriations bills before the end of the year.

  • In early September, a bipartisan group of 10 Senators sent a letter to Energy Secretary Bodman urging the agency to include geothermal energy in the Loan Guarantee Program's initial $2-billion solicitation. The program, which was authorized by Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, defines eligible projects as those which avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases; and employ new or significantly improved technologies but does not include geothermal.

    DOE has extended the due date for pre-applications under the loan guarantee program from 6 November 2006 to 31 December 2006. As of 31 October 2006, geothermal had not been added to the solicitation.

  • A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Rural Energy for America Act of 2006 (S. 3890) on 12 September 2006. The legislation would expand the availability of grants and loans under Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill to farmers, ranchers, rural businesses, and school districts for assistance with purchasing renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements. This legislation would do the following:

    • Set aside 20% for program funding for state and regional organizations to establish rebate programs for renewable energy projects;
    • Add rural school districts to the list of those eligible for funding;
    • Ensure that projects that receive grants receive the full renewable energy production tax credit; and
    • Gradually increase funding for the program from $115 million over five
      years to $250 million over five years.

    The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

For more information on federal and legislative issues, subscribe to the GEA Update published by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA).

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National News
  • A recent article in The Christian Science Monitor presents the arguments for and against eliminating DOE's geothermal and hydropower programs. Proponents for the cuts contend that the technologies are mature and no longer require government support. Opponents counter that the next generation technologies of both are not mature and should qualify for government funding (Source: "US to cut funds for two renewable energy sources" by Mark Clayton, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 September 2006).

  • According to an article in Technology Review, a low-cost system developed by United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), a unit of United Technologies, utilizes low-temperature geothermal resources to generate electricity. The technology could be particularly useful in generating electricity from waste hot water generated at oil and gas wells (Source: "Power from Not-So-Hot Geothermal— This power system could make it feasible to generate cheap electricity from lukewarm geothermal sources" by Prachi Patel-Predd, Technology Review, 21 September 2006.

  • On 30 August 2006, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the award of $17.5 million in Section 9006 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program Grants to 375 recipients in 36 states. Of the total, eight were geothermal projects:

    1. Energique, Inc. received $31,444 to purchase and install a geothermal heating and cooling system in Iowa.

    2. Conover Square Mall LLC received $43,000 to purchase and install 12
    geothermal heat pump units in a business/shopping complex in Illinois .

    3. Hyde Properties, LLC received $38,945 for a geothermal heating and cooling system in a health clinic in Michigan.

    4. Donald Skarie in Minnesota received $33,000 for a geothermal heating system for heating a new greenhouse in Minnesota.

    5. Tusco Display, Inc. received $4,125 to replace an existing natural gas furnace with a geothermal heat pump for the front office in Ohio.

    6. Martin’s Greenhouse received $3,025 to purchase two small geothermal units to be used in two greenhouses in Tennessee.

    7. Homestead Properties, LLC received $10,934 to install a geothermal heating
    system using ground source loops and heat pumps during the renovation of old
    motel into office space in Wyoming.

    8. SHIMU, Inc. received $50,000 for a geothermal and solar electric micro-utility that will provide energy for the historic Sheridan Inn in Wyoming.

    For more information. For the Recipients List.


    Barbara C. Farhar, senior policy analyst with DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), received the Solar Pioneer Award at the World Renewable Energy Congress on 23 August 2006 in Florence, Italy. The award recognizes her work on increasing the understanding of the human dimensions of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

    Barbara Farhar

    Farhar has produced more than 240 publications and papers including several on geothermal: "Evaluation of the Geothermal Public Power Utility Workshops in California," "Native American Issues in Geothermal Energy," and "Opportunities for Near-Term Geothermal Development on Public Lands in the Western United States."

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State Roundup

Alaska

For further information on geothermal in Alaska, contact:

David Lockard
Alaska Energy Authority
Tel: (907) 269-4541
Email: DLockard@aidea.org

  • Chena Hot Springs and United Technologies are one of two finalists for the Power Engineering magazine Project-of-the-Year Award in the Renewable Energy Category for their 200-kW geothermal power plant. The other finalist in the renewables category is a methane co-generation plant in Ukraine. The winner will be chosen on 27 November 2006 during POWER-GEN International in Orlando, Florida. According to Gwen Holdmann, Vice President, New Development, Chena Hot Springs, "The power plant has been operating flawlessly and has displaced over $12,000 in diesel fuel to date."

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Arizona

For further information on geothermal in Arizona, contact:

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

  • The Arizona Corporation Commission voted 4-1 on 31 October 2006 to impose a 15% renewables portfolio standard by 2025 for utilities. Renewable sources covered by the rules include solar photovoltaic, wind, biomass, geothermal, and certain types of hydropower. The mandate requires about one-third of the renewable energy to come from distributed energy produced by residential or non-utility-owned firms. The rules will become effective when certfied by the attorney general (Source: "Panel orders utilities to use 15 percent clean fuels by 2025," Tucson Citizen, 1 November 2006).

    See also: "Using Earth's heat—Geothermal energy an alternative for residents, firms, utilities to tap" by B. Poole, Tucson Citizen, 1 November 2006.

  • Arizona is seeing a resurgence of interest in its geothermal resources, according to a report released on 25 September 2006 by the Geothermal Energy Association. The report, entitled "Geothermal Resource Development Needs in Arizona," indicates that the Grand Canyon State has numerous geothermal resources, including what may potentially be a "major resource" in the northern part of the state. Plans to heat a large greenhouse in Willcox and develop the state's first geothermal power plant at Clifton Hot Springs are underway.

  • On 8 September 2006, Governor Janet Napolitano signed Executive Order 2006–13. The Executive Order establishes a statewide goal to reduce Arizona’s future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the 2000 emissions level by the year 2020, and to 50% below the 2000 level by 2040. For more information.

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California

For further information on geothermal in California, contact:

Elaine Sison-Lebrilla
Geothermal Program Manager
California Energy Commission

Tel: (916) 653-0363
Email: esisonle@energy.state.ca.us

  • A new report concludes that California's in-state "geothermal resource base could supply more power than is currently used by all of the state's investor-owned utilities combined." The report, "California's Geothermal Resource Base" by Karl Gawell of the Geothermal Energy Association, concluded that while the state's geothermal reserves could produce between 5,000 and 25,000 MW, the potential |is likely to be significantly greater. It cautions against a "business as usual" approach.

  • On 26 September 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Accelerated Renewable Energy Standard (SB. 107). The bill moves the timeline to reach the state's existing 20% renewable energy standard requirement up seven years from 2017 to 2010.

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Colorado

For further information on geothermal in Colorado, contact:

Angela Crooks
Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation
Tel: (303) 866-2309
Email: angela.crooks@state.co.us

  • The Coalition for Colorado’s New Energy Future, a bi-partisan coalition of agricultural, labor, and environmental groups unveiled a comprehensive state energy plan on 14 September 2006. The Coalition called on candidates for elected office to endorse the "Plan for Colorado's New Energy Future" which calls for 20% of Colorado's electricity to come from renewable energy by 2015, up from 10% required by current legislation.

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Hawai'i

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

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

  • The Puna Geothermal Power Plant on the Big Island of Hawaii was not impacted by the magnitude 6.6 earthquake which struck on 15 October 2006.

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Idaho

For further information on geothermal in Idaho, contact:

Gerry Galinato
Energy Division,
Idaho Department of Water Resources
Tel: (208) 287-4897
Email: Gerry.Galinato@idwr.idaho.gov
  • November Events:

    • 6 November 2006 - Geothermal Energy Outreach at Murphy, Owyhee County.
    • 7 November 2006 - Idaho Geothermal Energy Working Group meeting and workshop, Owyhee Plaza, Boise.
    • 8 November 2006 - Geothermal Energy Outreach, Ashley Inn, Cascade.
    • 17-18 November 2006 - Geothermal Energizing Idaho Educator Workshop, Idaho Fish and Game Trophy Room, Boise.

  • In September 2006, Idaho Power Company (IPC) submitted its 2006 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. IPC included 150 MW of geothermal resources in its IRP and expects to purchase 50 MW of geothermal in 2006, and another 100 MW of geothermal power in the 2021-2022 time frame. Meetings will be scheduled throughout the utility’s service area to allow the public to comment on the plan.
  • The Idaho Public Utilities Commission recently initiated a proceeding concerning the amendments to Section 111 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) contained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which required adding five new federal rate making standards to electric utilities. These new PURPA standards are: net metering, fuel source diversity, fossil fuel generation efficiency, time-based metering and communications (“smart metering”) and interconnection service to customers with on-site generation facilities. The three investor–owned utilities operating in Idaho, interested stakeholders and the public have been invited to participate in this process. PURPA-type geothermal electric generation projects could possibility be affected by the result of the IPUC proceeding.

  • The Legislative Council’s Interim Committee on Energy, Environment, and Technology and its various sub-committees met several times in August, September , and October to obtain information and discuss various issues affecting the development of the Idaho Energy Plan. The Interim Committee’s sub-committee on generation involving renewable and conventional energy have started developing policy recommendations which will be submitted to the full committee for its consideration.

  • The Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) Energy Division conducted a wide range of geothermal activities in September and October including:

    • Participating in the monthly conference planning meetings for the annual Harvesting Clean Energy conference in January 2007 in Boise. The division is an active partner in the planning process and has agreed to chair the geothermal session and assist with the carbon sequestration sessions.

    • Meeting with Sarah Bigger, Boise State University and the Intermountain Wet Geothermal Consortium to discuss the planned Geothermal 101 outreaches for small businesses in Cascade (Valley County) and Murphy (Owyhee County).

    • Staffing a geothermal information booth at the seventh annual Idaho National Laboratory’s science and engineering expo in Idaho Falls on 21-23 September 2006.

    • Staffing a geothermal information booth at Odyssey Idaho at Boise City Hall on 5 and 7 October 2006. The exhibit showcased the direct uses of geothermal resources in Idaho and the planned 10 MW geothermal power production plant near Raft River, which is expected to be on line next year.

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Kansas

No news.

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Montana

For further information on geothermal in Montana, contact:

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

No news.

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Nebraska

No news.

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Nevada

For further information on geothermal 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

No news.

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New Mexico

For further information on geothermal in New Mexico, contact:

Michael McDiarmid
New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources
Tel: (505) 476-3319
Email: michael.mcdiarmid@state.nm.us

  • FOR SALE: Faywood Hot Springs, a "True High Desert Oasis" is for sale. The "Rustic Hot Spring Resort, offers Natural Mineral Water Soaking Pools, Private Cabins, RV & Tent Camping, Massage Therapy, Conference/Retreat Facilities, and more. For more information.

  • "Geothermal Resource Development Needs in New Mexico," a report issued in September 2006 by the Geothermal Energy Association, documents a resurgence in geothermal development interest in New Mexico and identifies specific barriers to achieving the state's geothermal production potential. According to author Daniel Fleischmann, "New Mexico’s geothermal resource base is both underestimated and under-utilized, and improved economics and advanced technology have made geothermal resource development an attractive alternative to reduce New Mexico's reliance on fossil fuels." The report points to plans to develop new power projects in the Animas Valley, and efforts towards the development of large scale geothermal heating systems as evidence of a resurgence of interest.


    New Mexico Earth Matters
  • The lead story in the Summer 2006 issue of New Mexico Earth Matters focused on the state's geothermal energy resources. Written by James C. Witcher, "Geothermal Energy in New Mexico" estimates that geothermal direct use applications save over 310 billion Btu totaling $3 million a year in energy costs. The geothermal heating cost for New Mexico geothermal greenhouses is currently less than $1.50 per million Btu, compared to more than $11 per million Btu for natural gas with boiler losses. This represents a savings of more than $2.5 million for the state's two large geothermal greenhouses. The free publication is issued twice a year by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.

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North Dakota


Oklahoma

No news.

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Oregon

For further information on geothermal in Oregon, contact:

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

  • The Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) hopes to build a $5-million geothermal power plant on campus to provide up to 100% of its electricity needs and save $500,000 a year. The school is also proposing to build geothermal greenhouses and aquaculture ponds that companies could use to test their products before opening full-scale operations in Klamath Falls. John Lund, director of OIT's Geo-Heat Center, said fundraising is underway.

    A low-temperature plant for $800,000 is also being considered. It could provide 25% of OIT's electricity, and would be the first geothermal power plant in the state (Source: "OIT puts focus on geopower facility" by Steve Kadel, Herald & News, 1 November 2006).

  • Boise, Idaho-based U.S. Geothermal Inc. has acquired property for a geothermal project at Neal Hot Springs in eastern Oregon near the Idaho border. The company entered into a long-term lease with a private third party for energy and surface rights associated with 5,409 acres. Chevron Minerals drilled seven wells during its exploration of the site from 1976 to 1980. Geothermometers show a reservoir temperature of 311ºF to 356ºF. The location was included in U.S. Geothermal’s submittal to Idaho Power Company’s Request for Proposals. For more information.

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South Dakota

No news.


Texas

For further information on geothermal 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

  • 12-14 November 2006 - The Annual Texas Geothermal Working Group meeting will coincide with the Texas Renewables '06 Conference in Austin. For more information.

    SMU Geothermal Lab table

    • The Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab had a booth at the Texas Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair in Fredericksburg, 22-24 September 2006.

    The 2006 Roundup boasted 6,500 in total participation—the largest number in the event’s seven-year history.

    Maria Richards, SMU Geothermal Lab, and Jarle Lillemoen, Science Technologies, Inc.


  • The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Center for Energy and Economic Diversification has submitted an interim report to DOE on a three-year study of geothermal energy extraction from the deep Permian Basin of West Texas. The project is designed to investigate the potential for extracting geothermal energy from hot water found in deep gas wells.

    Over 8,000 bottom hole temperatures from log header information have been recorded into Excel databases covering eight counties. Locally, temperatures to over 400°F have been found, though most of the temperatures are in the upper 200°F to 300°F range.

    For more information: contact Dr. Richard Erdlac: erdlac_r@utpb.edu, Tel: (432) 552-2442 or 552-2430, Fax: (432) 552-2433, or mail: UTPB/CEED, 4901 E. University, Odessa, TX, 79762-0001.

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Utah

For further information on geothermal in Utah, contact:

Bob Blackett
Senior Geologist, Utah Geological Survey
Tel: (435) 865-9035
Email: robertblackett@utah.gov

  • DOE's GeoPowering the West Program, in cooperation with the Utah Geological Survey, has funded a study to examine the feasibility of heating the Utah Transit Authority’s (UTA) commuter rail service center with geothermal energy. The $15,000-study will assess the feasibility of using geothermal energy to help heat UTA’s 165,000 square foot facility, located near the Wasatch Hot Springs in Salt Lake City. The feasibility study will be carried out by the Geo-Heat Center. Results are expected by the end of December 2006.

  • The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation is considering plans to develop a $280-million geothermal power plant. The tribe, based in Brigham City, does not have a reservation, though it owns some land and is trying to acquire more (Source: "Thinking outside the box: Shoshones rely on intellectual resources to grow an economy" by Dennis Romboy, Deseret Morning News, 27 September 2006).

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Washington

For further information on geothermal in Washington, contact:

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

  • Washingtonians will vote on Initiative 937, the Clean Energy Initiative, on 7 November 2006. The initiative will require that the largest electric utilities obtain 15% of their electricity from new renewable energy, including geothermal, by 2020.

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Wyoming

For further information on geothermal 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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