Mike Long represents Galena Advisors and works with the POWER Engineers geothermal team. Their work this year involved feasibility and study efforts for projects around the world. Major developments included “detailed engineering, construction support, commissioning and startup activities for Kizildere, Turkey; Los Azufres, Mexico; and Cove Fort, United States,” he said. Kizildere, Mr. Long added, is “a complex project with cutting-edge triple flash technology. Our staff was closely involved in all aspects of design and procurement of the project.”
Mr. Gawell said, “New projects have been announced in every region. We see countries with little prior experience, but with an interest in the potential below their lands, pursuing development for the first time. It’s worth considering the sheer number of countries that are pursuing development as compared to just a few years ago.”
In September the Association identified 70 countries moving forward with nearly 700 geo power projects. A similar report from 2007 showed 46 countries developing or actively considering projects.
This year new geologic studies relating to resource development or exploration moved forward in places as diverse as American Samoa, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan, Thailand, Uganda, the United States, and Yemen.
Every country or state has a different system of regulating its lands, resources, and energy distribution. In 2013, announcements about permits and MOUs came from around the globe, including from Alaska, California, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Rwanda, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, and Vanuatu.
U.S. examples include Sonoma Clean Power’s proposal for 10 years of geo power from Calpine Corp.’s The Geysers, Ormat’s deal for expanded output at its McGinness Hills, Nevada facility, and the permit for US Renewable Group's Bottle Rock power plant in northern California was extended 30 years.
New financing was announced for projects in the Costa Rica, Dominica, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Tanzania, and the United States. Projects in the next few stages of drilling and start-of-construction made headway in Chile, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Montserrat, The Philippines, Rwanda, and Zambia.
For example, Alstom will build the 25-MW Los Humeros III power plant in Mexico, and Alterra Power announced drilling would begin at its Mariposa, Chile site next year. MidAmerican pledged $1 billion to extend the life of its Salton Sea, California geothermal fields. US Geothermal is building the El Ceibillo plant in Guatemela, and Ram Power is at work on the Jacinto-Tizate plant in Nicaragua.
“Ormat signed agreements for the development of international projects including Hu’u Dompu in Indonesia following President Obama’s U.S. Asia Pacific Comprehensive Energy Partnership encouraging U.S. companies to develop renewable energy in South East Asian countries,” said Dita Bronicki, Chief Executive Officer of Ormat Technologies, Inc. “And, most recently, we announced the acquisition of the Geotérmica Platanares geothermal project, a late-stage development project in Honduras where demand for electricity is strong and Ormat can deliver clean, base-load renewable power from local resources.”
New geo power came on line in Kenya, Nevada, New Zealand, Mexico, Nicaragua, Oregon, and Turkey, as well as Nevada, Oregon, and Utah in the United States.
“With the recent completion of the hundred-megawatt Ngatamariki geothermal power plant in New Zealand, Ormat built the largest single-site binary power plant, as well as the largest single air-cooled binary unit, in the world,” Ms. Bronicki said.
“The industry is seeing a big push to achieve project completion on time and on budget, which will continue to be a priority for successful geothermal development worldwide,” she added.
The international market is woven together by experienced companies and individuals who develop joint ventures and partnerships with local groups who are familiar with regional and cultural differences.
Many of these partnerships form at Geothermal Energy Association events, like the International Geothermal Showcase in Washington DC and the Geothermal Energy Expo, the world’s largest annual geothermal trade show. This year the Expo was located in Las Vegas, Nevada and hosted upwards of 2,000 visitors. The U.S. presence remained dominant, but there were more international visitors than at any previous installment of the event.
Expo visitors attended from nearly forty countries and all fifty states, reported Kathy Kent, manager of the event.
“International development is booming so it’s not surprising there were so many international folks at the Expo,” she said. “It is crucial that the industry works together to grow as a sector.”
The event is co-located with the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting. At the Opening Session of what some called “Geothermal Week,” industry leaders spoke to a shared vision for the future.
It was there that the Association’s President Craig Mataczynski of Gradient Resources named an industry goal to reach 5% of total U.S. electricity production. The vast geothermal resources that are already known and entered in the National Geothermal Data System are more than enough to cover this goal. But it will take advancements in geothermal resource technology as well as in power system technology. It will also require policymakers to recognize the reasons that geothermal is uniquely suited to replace fossil fuel power and fulfill state Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements and federal environmental standards.