USDA Announces REAP Funding

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced new funding under the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program under the 2014 Farm Bill. The more than $280 million in funds are open to rural agricultural producers and small business owners to install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

“Developing renewable energy presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” Vilsack said during a press call this morning. “The funding we are making available will help farmers, ranchers, business owners, tribal organizations and other entities incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology into their operations. Doing so can help a business reduce energy use and costs while improving its bottom line. While saving producers money and creating jobs, these investments reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut carbon pollution as well.”

USDA Secretary Tom VilsackUSDA is offering grants for up to 25 percent of total project costs and loan guarantees for up to 75 percent of total project costs for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. USDA will now accept and review loan and grant applications year-round through an REAP application expansion.

Eligible renewable energy projects must incorporate commercially available technology. This includes renewable energy from wind, solar, ocean, small hydropower, hydrogen, geothermal and renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters). The maximum grant amount is $500,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant. Energy efficiency improvement projects eligible for REAP funding include lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, fans, automated controls and insulation upgrades that reduce energy consumption. The maximum grant amount is $250,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.

USDA is offering a second type of grant to aid organizations that help farmers, ranchers and small businesses conduct energy audits and operate renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include: units of state, tribal or local governments; colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning; rural electric cooperatives and public power entities, and conservation and development districts. The maximum grant is $100,000.

Application deadlines vary by project type and the type of assistance requested. Details on how to apply are on page 78029 of the December 29, 2014 Federal Register or are available by contacting state Rural Development offices.

Listen to the press conference that includes Secretary Vilsack’s remarks as well as comments from Jennifer Womble, owner of James’ Supersave Foods and Jeffrey Marstaller, owner of Cozy Acres Greenhouse, here: USDA Announces REAP Funding

Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Commissioned

The 550 MW Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, located in Desert Center, Riverside County, California has been commissioned. On hand for the “flipping of the switch” was U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell along with nearly 150 federal, state and local officials, and energy industry leaders. Project owners include NextEra Energy Resources, GE Energy Financial Services and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.

Secretary Sally Jewell“Solar projects like Desert Sunlight are helping create American jobs, develop domestic renewable energy and cut carbon pollution,” said Secretary Jewell. “I applaud the project proponents for their vision and entrepreneurial spirit to build this solar project, and commend Governor Brown for implementing policies that take action on climate change and help move our nation toward a renewable energy future.”

The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is located on approximately 3,600 acres of land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Riverside County, and is capable of generating enough clean energy to power about 160,000 California homes. First Solar permitted, constructed and is now operating the plant, which uses over 8 million First Solar modules. The power generated is being provided to Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison both under long-term contracts.

“We wouldn’t be here today without the hard work and cooperation of all our partners,” added Armando Pimentel, president and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy Resources, the managing owner of the plant. “We are proud that Desert Sunlight will help California meet its renewable energy goals and has helped bring much needed jobs and economic benefits to families and businesses throughout Riverside County.”

Global Wind Energy Installations Surpass Gas, Coal

According to new research, the European (EU) wind energy industry installed more new capacity than gas and coal combined in 2014. Across the 28 Member States, the wind industry connected a total of 11,791 MW to the grid with coal and gas adding 3,305 MW and 2,338 MW respectively. In addition, the coal and gas industries in Europe both retired more capacity than they commissioned in 2014. In comparison, wind energy capacity in Europe increased 5.3 percent year on year from 2013, with cumulative installations now standing at 128.8 GW in the EU.

Thomas Becker, chief executive officer of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), said, “Europe is at a turning point for investment in renewables and particularly wind. Ploughing financial capital into the industries of old in Europe is beginning to look unwise. By contrast, renewables are pushing ahead and investments in wind remain attractive.”

Wind in Power - AWEAThe report found renewable power plants accounted for 79.1 percent of new installations during 2014; 21.3GW of a total 26.9GW. Today, grid-connected wind power is enough to cover 10 percent of the EU’s electricity consumption, up from 8 percent the year before. On a country-by-country breakdown, Germany and the United Kingdom accounted for 59.5 percent of total EU wind energy installations in 2014, installing 5,279MW and 1,736MW respectively.

Becker continued, “These numbers very much show Europe’s continued commitment to renewable and wind energy. But this is no time for complacency. The uncertainty over the regulatory framework for the energy sector is a threat to the continued drive toward sustainable and homegrown energy that will guarantee Europe’s energy security and competitiveness for the long-term. It’s time for Europe’s political leaders to create a truly European Energy Union and send a clear signal of their support for the shift to a secure and sustainable energy system. Political will on their part is an essential piece of the puzzle.”

Ultimately the report finds a concentration of new wind energy installations in several countries while markets in eastern and southern Europe continue to struggle and expects this trend to continue throughout 2015.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/Duke Energy has announced the acquisition of a majority interest in REC Solar, a provider of comprehensive commercial solar and energy solutions nationwide. In addition, over several years, Duke Energy will invest up to $225 million in commercial solar projects developed by REC Solar and supported by long-term power purchase agreements. REC Solar will deliver a simple sales and financing process for commercial-scale customers, similar to that provided by residential solar companies. REC Solar serves key sectors including retail, manufacturing, agriculture, technology, government and nonprofits.
  • ICM, Inc. has announced that Kansas Ethanol LLC, of Lyons, Kansas, has signed an agreement for purchase, license to operate, and full-scale installation of ICM’s patent-pending Fiber Separation Technology. FST is a value-added platform technology that removes fiber from a standard ethanol process, allowing increased ethanol and oil recovery yields, unlocking throughput and efficiency for each gallon of ethanol produced, and creating options for diversified co-products with high-protein feeds and fiber.
  • Robert (Bob) Briscoe, chairman of Lallemand Inc., has announced the nominations of Antoine Chagnon as president and chief executive officer and of William (Bill) Nankervis as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Lallemand Inc. effective February 1st 2015. Antoine succeeds his father Jean Chagnon who has led the company as its CEO for the past 34 years. Jean will remain a board member and available to support the leadership team as one of its senior vice presidents and special advisors.
  • Blue Sphere Corporation, a clean energy company that develops, manages and owns waste-to-energy projects, has announced the closing of a joint venture to develop, construct and operate a 5.2 MW biogas generation facility in Charlotte, NC with affiliates of York Capital Management. Under the terms of the joint venture, Blue Sphere owns 25% of the Project and received an initial payment of $1,250,000 in cash at the Closing with a second payment of $1,175,000 to be paid in two equal installments of $587,500 later in 2015 upon the Project’s achievement of each of mechanical completion and commercial operation.

Solar Farm Commissioned In East Malaysia

One of East Malaysia’s first solar power plants has been commissioned. The 1 MW solar farm in located in the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. The project was developed by Cahaya Metro Sdn. Bhd. (Cahaya Metro), a solar energy company in East Malaysia.

Yingli Solar logo“We are pleased to have selected Yingli as our panel supplier for Sabah’s first solar power plant with interconnection facilities and license to export power and we believe that Yingli is undoubtedly our best solar panel provider,” Sean Tay, project director of Cahaya Metro. “We selected Yingli because their track record for product quality is validated by independent testing and assessments – and that gave us the strong assurance in Yingli Solar panels’ long-term reliability.”

The solar farm spans an area of approximately four acres in in Kg. Nyaris Nyaris, Bongawan, Sabah, Malaysia. It utilizes nearly 4,000 multicrystalline YGE 60 Cell Series panels that are estimated to generate approximately 1.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity per year. The opening ceremony of the project was officiated by Y.B Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water of Malaysia.

Angie Koh, managing director of Yingli Singapore, added, “We are witnessing sustainable growth on the island of Borneo, particularly in Sabah where there are plans to make PV a pillar of the state’s energy mix. We anticipate continued solar power plant development across the region.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/VIASPACE Inc. has announced that the comprehensive, independent feasibility study conducted by Pelican SA of the 12 MW biomass power plant and co-located 834 hectare (2,060 acre) Giant King Grass plantation project in Nicaragua has been completed. The feasibility study addresses the technical and economic issues of both the plantation and power plant, including connection to the Nicaraguan power grid. The feasibility study is now being provided on a confidential basis to bankers and potential investors in the project. Energia Reino Verde (Green Kingdom Energy in English) is the special-purpose company formed to own and operate the Nicaragua power plant and plantation.
  • ET Solar Energy Corp. has announced that it has partnered with TechAccess to co-invest and construct 2 solar power plants totaling 21.5MW in Pind Dadan Khan, Punjab, Pakistan. Acting as the EPC/O&M provider and a minority investor, ET Solar will be offering turnkey solutions including engineering and design, off-shore equipment supply, on-shore civil and electrical construction, project operations and maintenance. The ground-mounted projects, one in 11.5 MW and the other 10 MW, will be built on saline-alkali lands with the grid connection to be completed in the first half of 2016. These projects are within the first 50 MW quota approved in January 2014 by Alternative Energy Development Board, Pakistan, under the country’s Solar PV Tariff Determination. Furthermore, they are also within the first batch of solar projects approved under the upfront tariff regime by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority of Pakistan.
  • Pattern Energy Group Inc. has announced that it has closed the previously announced underwritten public offering of its Class A common stock. In total, 12,000,000 shares of its Class A common stock were sold at a price of US $29.25 per share, for total gross proceeds of US $351.00 million. The Company will use the net proceeds from its portion of the offering for working capital and general corporate purposes, which may include one or more acquisition opportunities which the Company is considering and the potential repayment of outstanding indebtedness.
  • NEXTracker, Inc., designer and manufacturer of single axis PV trackers, has announced the completion of $25 million in equity and growth capital financing. The funding round, which closed in December, includes investments from SJF Ventures, Tennenbaum Capital Partners and earlier investors Sigma Partners and DBL Investors. NEXTracker provides state-of-the-art solar trackers that maximize system energy output while reducing installation and operating costs, resulting in substantially increased solar project profits.

DOE Announces $59M for Solar Support

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced more than $59 million in funding to support solar energy acceleration. DOE is allocating $45 million in funding to quickly move US DOE logoinnovative solar manufacturing technologies to market, and is also awarding more than $14 million for 15 new projects to help communities develop multi-year solar deployment plans to install solar electricity in homes, businesses, and communities.

“As President Obama noted in his State of the Union address, the U.S. brings as much solar power online every three weeks as we did in all of 2008,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “As the price of solar continues to drop, the Energy Department is committed to supporting a robust domestic solar manufacturing sector that will help American business meet growing demand and help American families and businesses save money by making solar a cheaper and more accessible source of clean electricity.”

The $45 million Technology to Market funding opportunity is part of the DOE’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, aimed at boosting American competitiveness and supporting a strong domestic, clean energy manufacturing sector. This funding opportunity combines three historically separate SunShot Initiative funding programs—Incubator, Solar Manufacturing Technology, and Scaling Up Nascent PV at Home— into one that will support projects with the potential to significantly reduce the costs for solar energy systems across a variety of technology areas.

The 15 Solar Market Pathways projects pursue various approaches to developing actionable solar deployment plans and strategies to promote deployment at residential, community, and commercial scales—from expanding shared or community solar programs and local financing mechanisms to integrating solar energy generation into communities’ emergency response plans. The awardees include not-for-profits, utilities, industry associations, universities, and state and local jurisdictions in California, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

SEIA Solar Stats“We applaud President Obama and Secretary Moniz for their continued commitment to increasing the use of clean, reliable solar energy. Investing in new ways to quickly move innovative solar manufacturing technologies to market will only help build on the nearly 175,000 American jobs in solar today, and investing in cutting ‘soft costs,’ such as permitting and financing, will also help make the solar industry – coming off yet another record year – even stronger,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

Resch notes that today the U.S. has an estimated 20 GW of installed solar capacity with another 20 GW in the pipeline for 2015 and 2016. “This tremendous growth is due, in large part, to smart, effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the economy and environment,” Resch concluded.

GreenLight Planet Lights Up Developing World

Greenlight Planet has raised $10 million in financing with the aid of Fidelity Growth Partners India and with the money the company has been able to provide solar energy products for off-grid homes in the developing world, in particular Sub-Saharan Africa and India. The company sells rooftop solar lighting and phone charging devices. GreenLight Planet says the devices will generate 55 million kilowatt-hours of energy, offset 1.5 million tons of CO2 and save their users over $340 million in fuel costs over their lifetime.

Greenlight Planet solar product“As a result of this financing, we’re building the world’s largest rooftop solar consumer base in the developing world, and we’re investing especially to expand distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Anish Thakkar, Greenlight Planet CEO and co-founder.

According to reports published by the International Finance Coporation (IFC), over 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live off the electric grid, spending $11 billion annually on kerosene, batteries and candles for light. GreenLight Planet expects to reach 100 million off-grid households by 2020.

“We see tremendous potential to provide affordable solar energy solutions for consumers in the developing world,” explained Kabir Narang, Managing Director of Fidelity Growth Partners India. “Greenlight Planet has established itself as a product leader with a strong brand in the fast-growing off-grid energy segment. We are excited to partner with Greenlight Planet and its exceptional management team as the company embarks on its next phase of growth.”  Following the closing of the financing, Kabir Narang has joined Greenlight Planet’s Board of Directors.

REAP Funds Still Available

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting funds for the Rural Energy for American Program (REAP).  The funding notice releases mandatory funding for both FY2014 and FY2015, as well as discretionary funding recently made available in the “Cromnibus.” The program provides grants and loan guarantees to rural small businesses, farmers and others in the ag community. However, some new changes have been usda-rd-logoimplemented including a new simplified “three tiered” application process, more frequent solicitations, and priority points for specific policy priorities such as the advancement of distributed wind power.

According to USDA, with two years of funding released at the same time, this notice of solicitation of applications (NOSA) sets a record for the largest REAP funding notice in program history, of $101.35 million. Program demand has decreased in recent years due to decreased program funding, so competition may be reduced.

“The REAP program has always been a very good one, strongly supported on a bi-partisan basis to help expand development of rural America’s abundant renewable energy resources,” said Jennifer Jenkins, executive director for the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) who has participated in the rule making. “Now it’s an even better program helping ensure distributed wind power’s continued role in bringing clean, affordable and homegrown electricity to rural America. I am pleased to see the efforts of the USDA for it’s great work on the program.”

DWEA President, Mike Bergey, added, “This program helps farmers and rural businesses lower their operating costs and become more competitive by installing American-made small wind turbines. Recent improvements to the program have made it more accessible to family farms and small businesses and we are very appreciative of the streamlining of the application process.”

Bergey is participating in the USDA webinar, “USDA Rural Energy for America Program Webinar: National Stakeholder Forum,” today from 12 pm – 2:00 pm EST.  The webinar will detail the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the program changes.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/ScottMadden, Inc. is set to release its Winter 2015 edition of the Energy Industry Update. This semi-annual publication offers our inside view of major events and emerging trends in the energy industry. Themed “Changes: Turn and Face the Strange,” this issue includes: A view of how utilities are looking with interest at electric vehicles; customer and vehicle characteristics; some generic business models being tested; a review of natural gas prices and gas production from shale formations; and the latest dynamics in this market, including what (if any) impact low oil prices are having on it.
  • Scott Brodsky and Gari Matarirano from international legal practice Macfarlanes LLP recently wrote a detailed white paper analyzing the success of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Programme, which featured in Clean Energy Pipeline’s Clean Energy Africa Finance Guide 2014. Download your free copy here.
  • Clean Energy Group (CEG) has released a new report calling for more collaboration on policies to promote emerging distributed energy storage technologies. In Distributed Energy Storage: A Case for National and International Collaboration, CEG proposes the creation of both national and international networks of industry, policy makers and NGOS to advance new and effective policies for distributed energy storage technologies.
  • Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company has announced that through a wholly-owned subsidiary it acquired 9.789 Megawatts of operating solar power facilities located on 13 sites in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana and North Carolina. The facilities were developed, owned and operated by MP2 Capital LLC and Blu Leaf Ventures LLC. The “East to West Solar Portfolio” consists of ground and roof mounted solar systems located on municipal and commercial properties.

CH2M Hill Involved In Seawater Bioenergy Facility

A pilot-scale bioenergy facility that will use seawater irrigated desert land to produce both bioenergy and food in the water is under development in Masdar City. The Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (ISEAS) involves a complete seawater agricultural system that will serve as a research and development facility for Masdar Institute (MI) of Science and Technology and the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC). The project is expected to be operational in late summer.

Dr. Alejandro Ríos, Director, Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium, noted, “This project has potential for groundbreaking innovation, particularly considering the unique conditions in Abu Dhabi’s environment. CH2M HILL has assembled a world-class team of engineers to tackle this very interesting challenge, and we at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology are confident that the engineering expertise that has gone into the design of the pilot facility will enable such innovation.”

Growing_sustainable_sbrc_enCH2M HILL was commissioned last year to provide technical support and to design a sophisticated pilot-scale facility of the ISEAS on designated land in Masdar City. CH2M HILL said they worked closely during the design phase with MI and SBRC to refine the technical aspects of the new facility, with the intention of an innovative sustainable system that will serve as a research and development facility for MI and SBRC.

A significant aspect of the new pilot-scale facility is the use of seawater to produce water stock to grow seafood, mainly fish and shrimp, (aquaculture) for human consumption and Salicornia plants for fuel and byproduct production. The plants thrive in arid, desert conditions and do not require fresh water or arable land to grow. The effluent is diverted into cultivated mangroves that are used for water treatment and biomass production, removing nutrients and providing valuable carbon storage.

“CH2M HILL is proud of our involvement with this notable pilot research project and of our successful partnership with MI and the SBRC. The project team has not only created an innovative biofuel project to address challenges of energy and water security, but is also playing an essential role in supporting the advancement of sustainable biofuel research in the UAE,” said Neil Reynolds, CH2M HILL’s regional managing irector for Middle East, North Africa and India (MENAI).

Electric Cars Gain Ground in Vehicle Rankings

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its 18th annual vehicle environmental ratings on greencars.org. The top rated vehicles for the year were Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Convertible/Coupe with the highest score ever, Chevrolet Spark EV, Fiat 500E, Toyota Prius C and the Nissan Leaf. Six out of 12 places in this year’s Greenest List were claimed by plug-in electric vehicles. This year’s list also features a diverse array of manufacturers: nine different automakers are represented by the 12 top-scoring vehicles, including two American manufacturers (Chevrolet and Ford) and two European manufacturers.

Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Convertible/Coupe wins Greenest Car of 2015 on Greencars.org. Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Convertible/Coupe wins Greenest Car of 2015 on Greencars.org. Photo: Mercedes-Benz

“As the electric vehicle market continues to develop, we’re seeing a number of different options from a variety of automakers, including several from American manufacturers,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

ACEEE notes at the same time, it’s important to note that some of the Greenest are only being offered in a handful of states, and that the larger classes are not represented. As the list demonstrates, consumers can make greener choices whatever their vehicle needs may be by providing facts that allows a consumer to examine the eco-performance of any 2015 model. The site assigns each vehicle a Green Score, a single measure that incorporates lifecycle greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions. Updates to this year’s methodology include the incorporation of a fuel cell vehicle analysis and a new estimate of nuclear damage costs.

In addition to highlighting the year’s Greenest, Meanest, Greener Choices, and best-in-class lists, the greenercars.org website features informative write-ups on model year 2015 highlights, a consumer primer on vehicles and the environment, and advice on how to buy green when shopping for a new car or truck.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/PlanET Biogas UK Ltd. has contributed a donation towards a newly set up forage aid for rural farmers and will support the fundraising tractor and trailer run through the counties of Somerset, Avon, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire. With approximately 12 stops planned en route the run will start from Sedgemoor and end in Telford on February 11, the opening day of the Energy Now Expo 2015. PlanET Biogas UK Lt. will exhibit at stand 100.
  • The Solar Energy Finance Association (SEFA), has announced the launch of its new membership program with enhanced offerings for the coming year. SEFA’s long term goal is to promote solar as an asset class and thereby improve the solar industry’s access to capital, reduce financing costs and increase the footprint of distributed solar power in the U.S. To do so, SEFA will carry forward, promote and administer many of the valuable work products and initiatives developed by the Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) working group, a 3-year initiative to increase the availability of capital to the solar industry, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
  • ICM, Inc. has announced that Redfield Energy LLC has purchased ICM’s patent-pending Selective Milling Technology and patent-pending Fiber Separation Technology for their Redfield, South Dakota ethanol plant. SMT and FST are value-added platform technologies that increase ethanol yield and oil recovery for their customers.
  • The global solar photovoltaic (PV) balance of system (BOS) market will decline in value from an estimated $34.9 billion in 2014 to $24.9 billion by 2020, due to falling BOS costs and the slow increase in global annual capacity additions according to GlobalData. The report indicates that while developed markets, such as the US, UK and Germany, will be the main contributors to this decline, some emerging countries, led by China, will witness growth over the forecast period. The largest drop will occur in the US, where the solar PV BOS market value will more than half, from $6.7 billion in 2014 to $3.3 billion by 2020.

Vernier Offers Wind Energy Lab Book

A new lab book, Investigating Wind Energy is now available for students in grades 4-6. Vernier Software & Technology spearheaded the effort. The book was written for and aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The lesson plans encourage students to apply learned knowledge as they explore electric circuits and investigate blade design variables using a variety of materials and technologies using a variety of materials and technologies, including the KidWIND MINI Wind Turbine, the Vernier Energy Sensor, and more.

Investigating Wind Energy“Our new lab book provides students with multiple hands-on investigations that explore renewable energy science, as recommended by NGSS,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and former physics teacher. “These types of inquiry-based investigations engage students in scientific discovery at an earlier age and provide the foundation needed as they progress through STEM instruction.”

The lab book includes ten investigations and one culminating project where students design, test, and refine a wind turbine blade set that converts wind energy to electrical energy. The investigations are designed to help students explore quantitative current, potential difference, power, energy and more in an engaging, hands-on way.

The lab book includes a table showing the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science and Engineering Practices covered in each investigation, making it easy to use with the EQuIP rubric from Achieve. Additionally, it includes information on related skills, estimated completion times for the investigations, equipment tips, teaching tips, answers, sample data, and graphs in the teacher information pages. An accompanying CD with editable Word files for all of the student pages allows teachers to adjust lessons to meet their needs.

Geothermal Economic Survey Released

According to a new issue brief based on a the survey, “The Additional Economic Benefits of Geothermal Energy,” substantial revenues from taxes and royalties to state and local governments, long-term local employment and millions of dollars in environmental benefits have been delivered by the geothermal industry. This supports reports from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) that geothermal power is a long-term consumer bargain for the western power grid.

The survey was conduced by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) and found:

  • In 2013, geothermal power producers paid $29 million dollars in annual property taxes, including $21 million dollars to the State of California.
  • A 50-MW geothermal plant will require 310 person-years of construction and manufacturing employment.
  • An average 50-MW facility will create permanent employment for about 100 people.

GEA Issue Brief geothermal power employed personsGEA notes that properly developing the remaining identified geothermal resources estimated by the U.S. Geologic Survey to exist in the State of California alone could add 2,500 permanent on-site jobs, another 20-30 million dollars in property tax revenue for the state and almost 15,000 construction and manufacturing jobs.

The Issue Brief was prepared by GEA’s Analyst & Research Project Manager Benjamin Matek. He said, “The report supports the view of the industry, EIA and others that geothermal development is by far among the most economically beneficial out of the renewable resources available to western states.”

“These plants bring substantial economic benefits to communities through permanent employment, property taxes, rents and royalties,” added Matek. “Building one small geothermal plant in a community can generate $6.3 to $11 million dollars in property taxes that can be used toward education or other local services and provide 20-30 permanent jobs.”