Rwanda’s Prez Paul Kagame Calls for Clean Energy

The 140 MW Oklaria 1 geothermal plant was recently commissioned in Naivasha, Kenya and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame was on hand for the event. He is advocating for more invest14131-President-Paul-Kagamement in renewable energy as Africa struggles with lack of electricity, and said this is a must for the country, and for Africa, to see an economic transformation.

“European countries are producing more electricity than Africa… what are they doing with their electricity that we can’t do?” asked Kagame. “This project that has been opened to start producing electricity is important not only to Kenya, but to Rwanda and East Africa,” Kagame said referring to the Oklaria 1 geothermal facility.

Kagame said it’s time Africa began a debate to address energy challenges on the continent and suggested governments to engage the private sector. “The debate is about having sufficient electricity to power industry, school, homes and the whole economy as it should be… we need to have a conversation between government and business,” he said.

HE-in-alkaria-geothermal-plantHe stressed that this needs to be an open dialogue, not one entity dictating to another about what should happen.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta agrees with Kagame’s call to action on reliable electricity as a foundation for economic growth and stability. “I am proud to be associated with President Kagame and others who have demonstrated willingness to the progress of our region.”

Early this year, Rwanda signed an agreement with Kenya to import 30MW as part of adding up to 70MW to be connected to the national grid this year. Infrastructure Minister, James Musoni, said the electricity will be connected to the national grid by October 2015. Rwanda’s current power generation capacity is 160MW. The country targets to have 563MW by 2018.

KenGen Commissions Geothermal Plant in Kenya

Kenya continues to rise as one of the leading countries tapping into geothermal energy. The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has inaugurated the 140 MW Oklaria 1 power plant, the last phase of the 280 MW geothermal facility. KenGen believes the additional electricity produced will help further stabilize volatile electricity costs throughout the country.

H.E PresideKenGen logont Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda presided over the geothermal plant commissioning event accompanied by his host H.E President Kenyatta.

According to KenGen, who says the plant has been supplying power to the national grid since December 2014, the Fuel Cost Component (FCC), the single biggest item on the bills, fell to to a low of KShs/kWh 2.51 in February 2015. This represents a 65 percent drop in the FCC. As a result, it has led to a decline in the overall cost of power to consumers. The addition of geothermal power has also helped to mitigate dependence on hydro power; in recent months, Kenya has had no rainfall and as a result, there has been below average inflow of water into hydro dams.

“KenGen is proud to be on the lead in moving the country towards self sufficiency of reliable and affordable and renewable source of energy, which is also available almost 24/7,” said Managing Director and CEO Eng. Albert Mugo.

Today, KenGen is adding 1575 MW of power geothermal power to the national grid, surpassing hydro for the fourth month in a row. At U.S. 7.2 cents per kilowatt hour,  geothermal energy is among the cheapest renewable sources of electricity in the country and the world.

“The country has not experienced power rationing despite low water levels in the hydro generation dams on the Tana Cascade. “This is because the 280 MW project has helped to bridge the power deficit,” concluded Mugo.

Alstom to Build a Geothermal Plant in Indonesia

PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy has awarded Alstom a €61 million contract to supply and install a 30 MW geothermal plant for the Karaha Power Plant in West Java, Indonesia. Alstom will design, supply, install and commission the entire power plant expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

According to Alstom, Indonesia houses the world’s largest potential geothermal source which is estimated to be nearly 30,000 MW. However, recent figures indicated that Indonesia is not harnessing the potential of geothermal energy, with the source geothermal-plant-lahendong-indonesiacontributing only 5 percent of its estimated capacity into the power mix. The Indonesian Authority has been taking advantage of its natural assets and has committed to building several geothermal-related contracts in the past few years.

“We are delighted to play a key role in helping Indonesia achieve its energy goals,” said Steven Moss, Vice President in charge of Renewable Steam Plants at Alstom. “This installation reinforces Alstom’s continued commitment to the geothermal markets and the importance of this renewable fuel source.”

Rony Gunawan, CEO of PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy added, “The competitiveness of Alstom’s offer including quality, environment, health and safety, was key in the awarding of the contract. We are looking forward Alstom improving capability and effectiveness to manage the project.”

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.”

Alt Electricity Surpasses Natural Gas

According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, new renewable energy sources generated more capacity than natural gas in 2014. Sources including biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar and wind provided 49.81 percent (7,663 MW) of new electrical generation brought into service. Natural gas accounted for 48.65 percent (7,485 MW). By comparison, in 2013, natural gas accounted for 46.44% (7,378 MW) of new electrical generating capacity while renewables accounted for 43.03% (6,837 MW).

Biomass Photo Joanna SchroederNew wind energy facilities accounted for 26.52 percent of added capacity (4,080 MW) in 2014 while solar power provided 20.40 percent (3,139 MW). Other renewables – biomass (254 MW), hydropower (158 MW) and geothermal (32 MW) – accounted for an additional 2.89 percent.

For the year, just a single coal facility (106 MW) came online; nuclear power expanded by a mere 71MW due to a plant upgrade; and only 15 small “units” of oil, totaling 47 MW, were added.

Renewable energy sources now account for 16.63 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.:

  • water – 8.42%
  • wind – 5.54%
  • biomass – 1.38%
  • solar – 0.96%
  • geothermal steam – 0.33%

Renewable energy capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.14%) and oil (3.94%) combined.

“Can there any longer be doubt about the emerging trends in new U.S. electrical capacity?” noted Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Coal, oil, and nuclear have become historical relics and it is now a race between renewable sources and natural gas with renewables taking the lead.”

GEA Rolling Out Industry Assesment

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is rolling out an industry assessment and early results show that there were 3,150 permanent, onsite employees, or 1.17 permanent jobs per megawatt installed, at geothermal power plants in California and the West. According to GEA, this is 19 times that of reported onsite employment of wind projects and 5 times reported onsGEA logoite employment for solar projects.

“In addition to environmental and reliability benefits, geothermal power has important economic values to local communities,” noted Ben Matek, GEA’s Industry Analyst & Research Projects Manager. “While geothermal produces many more construction and manufacturing jobs, as do most technologies, we believe it is a leader in creating stable, permanent employment in the communities in which geothermal plants operate.”

GEA will be releasing employment and other data on the U.S .and global geothermal power industry at its State of the Geothermal Energy Industry Briefing taking place at in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. Event speakers are all confirmed and include experts in geothermal development, finance, technology and policy. The GEA will distribute the 2015 installation of its annual industry update to attendees of this event that will include statistical updates on the U.S. and global geothermal market including new capacity online, how much is developing and in what regions around the world.

Sessions include discussions on key opportunities and obstacles for industry growth in the U.S. and around the world, multilateral and private finance, the role of technological advancements in geothermal development, and policy and regulatory issues impacting the geothermal industry.

IRENA & ADFD Fund 5 Renewable Energy Projects

Five renewable projects in developing countries have been awarded USD 57 million in concessional loans by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD). The projects have a combined total capacity of 35 megawatts and will bring power to more than 200,000 people in rural communities. The loans will go to projects located in Argentina, Cuba, Iran, Mauritania and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

IRENA Renewable Energy cycle 2 fundingRenewable energy offers the prospect of clean, affordable power to the 1.3 billion people currently off the electricity grid,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin at a press conference during IRENA’s fifth Assembly. “While renewable energy resources are abundant in many communities suffering from energy poverty, finance is still a key challenge for deployment. That is why the partnership between IRENA and ADFD is so important as a pioneering effort.”

According to IRENA, this is the second loan cycle of seven, which together will commit USD 350 million over seven years to the deployment of renewable energy in developing countries, with a total project value of an estimated USD 800 million. Projects approved for funding in the second loan cycle include solar, hydro, hybrid (wind and solar) and geothermal energy. The organization said the projects selected represent a mix of renewable energy sources, are innovative, potentially replicable or scalable, and will improve energy access.

“As part of its mandate to work on projects with a profound impact on the economies of developing countries, ADFD has collaborated with IRENA to support the renewable energy sector as a tool for economic and social development,” said Mr. Adel Abdulla Al Hosani, director of pperations department in ADFD. “Towards this priority, we are keen to support the economic development and deployment of sustainable energy projects in countries with immense clean energy potential, but lacking necessary financial resources and project management expertise.”

The IRENA/ADFD Project Facility pioneers the support of renewable energy as a viable and sustainable focus for foreign development assistance that offers long-term social and economic benefits to developing countries.

Geothermal Data System Steams Into New Entity

The National Geothermal Data System (NDGS) has been spun off into a new non-profit company: USGIN Foundation, Inc. The company will commercialize the technology and infrastructure at the national and international level. The project was launched through funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with the grant period ending December 31, 2014. The project was developed by Arizona State Geologist (AZGS) on behalf of the Association of American State Geologists.

NGDSLogoBigAccording to AZGS, the NDGS system is intended to increase geothermal exploration and development across the country by providing free, open source access to any digital data that can help, not just limited to traditional geothermal data.

The project was officially launched by DOE Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz at the White House Datapalooza earlier this year. To date the database has more than 65 sources located in the 50 US states serving more than 10 million data records including information on 3 million oil and gas wells, over 700,000 well logs, up to a million water wells, and tens of thousands of maps, documents, and reports. In Arizona specifically, every oil, gas, geothermal, and CO2 well is online in the NGDS, along with numerous other datasets.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will be streaming NGDS data into their online Global Renewable Energy Atlas with contributions from AZDS’ content models and interchange formats to the National Data Repositories coalition that has created a new online Business Rules Library for data management in the global upstream petroleum industry. Anyone can set up their own node in the network using free, open source software at the NGDS website as well as stream data to their own portal.

Enel Green Power Starts Geothermal Plant

The Bagnore 4 geothermal power plant located in the municipalities of Santa Fiora and Arcidosso, near Grosseto, in the Italian region of Tuscany is online and grid connected. The project was completed by Enel Green Power and has an installed capacity of 40 MW and will generate up to 310 million kWh per year. Bagnore 4 joins the 20 MW Bagnore 3 plant and is composed of two 20 MW turbines.

Enel Green Power logoThe construction of the new plant involved a total investment of around 120 million euros, partly financed with funds from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The project is in line with the growth targets set out in Enel Green Power’s 2014-2018 business plan, which calls for around 600 million euros of investment in geothermal power in Tuscany.

The company says its new plant was designed to meet the highest international standards and to employ the most environmentally friendly technology available. Bagnore 4 also features a sophisticated monitoring and remote diagnostics system to ensure high reliability and efficiency.

Geothermal Energy Outlook 2015

According to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), the U.S. and global geothermal markets are expected to grow in 2015. The U.S. market may grow slowly while state and federal policies are adjusted, but with continued pressure to address climate change and a growing recognition of the important values of geothermal power to grid reliability, that is expected to improve. However, global markets are expected to see stronger growth with continued expansion while U.S. is expected to make forward progress.

The forecast for geothermal energy growth comes on the heels of a strong 2014. GEA reports that the world market reached upwards of 12.7 GW of operational geothermal power in 24 countries, reflecting about 700 MW of combined added growth. By Geothermal Energy Plantcomparison, the global industry added about 600 MW in 2013. As of the end of 2014, there are also 11.7 GW of capacity additions in development and 1.8 GW of power under construction in 80 countries.

The World Bank is aiding in global growth through its focus on early risk mitigation. In tandem to this work, governments continue to develop and adopt policies to meet electricity demand. GEA forecasts the forward-moving trajectory will continue for at least another decade and globally, geothermal energy production should reach at least 20 GW by 2024.

2014 highlights include:

  • This year emerging economies in East Africa, Central America, and the South Pacific experienced the fastest growth, and each of these regions had some notable developments:
  • In the East Africa region, a new 280-MW addition at the Olkaria field in Kenya now has the world’s largest flash plant, and Kenya added 300 MW of capacity overall. In Ethiopia, a partnership between the government and the World Bank expects to expand electricity access where it is most needed by adding four million more people to the grid in the next five years. Geothermal would be the second largest source of power supply in East Africa by 2040.
  • In Central America, Costa Rica received a $550 million loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency toward planned capacity of three geothermal plants each totaling 55 MW. El Salvador reached the milestone of producing 25% of its electricity from geothermal energy with an aim to achieve 40% in the near future.
  • In the South Pacific, Indonesia is leading in developing capacity and could surpass the U.S in installed capacity in the future. Financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency with equipment from Ormat, construction began in Indonesia on what will be the largest geothermal plant ever built, the 330MW Sarulla project. In the Philippines, the Energy department announced plans to increase installed capacity of geothermal power to 3.3 GW by 2030.

The 2015 geothermal outlook will be discussed in more detail, including the roles global companies and governments will play during the State of the Geothermal Industry Briefing taking place Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Washington, DC.

 

 

Ormat to Expand Kenya Olkaria III Geothermal Plant

Ormat - Kenya Geothermal PlantOrmat Technologies has announced they are expanding their Oklaria geothermal energy complex located in Kenya. The company has signed an amended and restated Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited (KPLC).

Under the terms of the agreement, Ormat expects to increase the generating capacity of the complex by 24 MW, bringing the complex’s total capacity to 134 MW. The fourth plant is expected to come on line in the second half of 2016 and to sell electricity under a 20 year PPA with KPLC.

“Ormat’s Olkaria geothermal complex provides clean, reliable and firm power to over 200,000 Kenyan households, increasing the complex by an additional 24 MW will further benefit the Kenyan people,” said Ormat CEO Isaac Angel. “We see Kenya, with its progressive renewable energy policy, as an important market for us and where we will continue to explore additional projects. The synergies that derive from adding units to the existing complex allow smaller plants to be a cost effective and provide the additional power that the country needs in record speeds.”

CRS Announces Green-e Certification

A new Green-e certification program has been launched by the Center for Resource Solutions. The program is targeted to organizations that build clean energy projects or contract for renewable energy from these facilities. Apple, who received the 2014 Green Power Leadership Awards, is the first company to participate in Green-e Direct, which certifies the energy that the company generates from renewable resources and purchases directly including solar, wind and geothermal energy.

Green-e worked closely with Apple to develop the new certification option that offers independent, third-party oversight over the renewable electricity’s chain of custody beginning with generation and ending at retirement. Green-e Direct also offers participants assurance that the electricity will not be double-counted or double-claimed by regulations or other electricity users, and confirmation that the electricity meets the environmental quality requirements in the Green-e Energy National Standard.

Green-e Direct“We developed this new Green-e certification option so that renewable energy leaders like Apple can have the assurances and recognition of Green-e certification for their direct renewable energy purchases and onsite generation,” said Jennifer Martin, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions. “We are excited to continue working with Apple as they set the example for companies looking to power their operations with 100% renewable energy.”

Green-e Direct is intended to encourage long-term commitments by organizations that want to reduce the environmental impact of their electricity use, while providing a way to help recognize and promote leading companies that invest in clean energy. Renewable electricity certified through Green-e is subject to an extensive third-party verification process that ensures the energy meets the highest standards for quality in North America, and is eligible for use in a wide range of environmental standards, including LEED, B Corp., and Cradle to Cradle.

Martin added, “Green-e Direct reduces some of the complexity and uncertainty for companies that contract directly for clean energy. They want a clear message to their stakeholders about the difference they are making, and we can guide them through the complicated tracking and claims process, while certifying their clean energy use.”

Green-e Direct is available through Green-e, a nonprofit certification program that certifies renewable energy that meets environmental and consumer protection standards developed in conjunction with leading environmental, energy, and policy organizations.

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Renewable Energy Stats

For the first time the U.S. Census Bureau is now publishing economic census statistics for wind, geothermal, biomass and solar electric power generation. Between 2007 and 2012 revenues rose 49 percent from $6.6 billion to $9.8 billion. The electric power generation industry saw an overall decline of 1.2 percent in revenues from $121.0 billion to $119.5 billion between 2007 and 2012. The overall decline was driven by the fossil fuel electric power generation industry, which saw revenues decrease from $85.4 billion to $79.7 billion, or 6.7 percent, during the same five-year period.

Renewable Energy RevenueIn the 2007 Economic Census, wind, geothermal, biomass, and solar electric power generation were included in the broad “other electric power generation” industry but were not given separate designations. Beginning in the 2012 Economic Census, these industries had been broken out with the “other electric power generation” industry limited to only tidal electric power generation and other electric power generation facilities not elsewhere classified. Among the newly delineated industries (wind, geothermal, biomass, solar and other electric power generation), the number of establishments more than doubled in five years, from 312 in 2007 to 697 in 2012.

“As industries evolve, so does the Census Bureau to continue to collect relevant data that informs America’s business decisions,” said Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson. “Industries that use renewable energy resources are still relatively small, but they are rapidly growing.”

Specifically revenues for the wind electric power generation industry totaled $5.0 billion in 2012, the highest revenues among the industries using renewable energy resources. Hydroelectric power generation followed with revenues of $2.4 billion. Geothermal electric power generation had revenues of just under $1 billion ($995.4 million), followed by biomass electric power generation, with $934.6 million in revenues, solar electric power generation, with $472.4 million, and other electric power generation, with $59.0 million.

Together, these industries were a relatively small portion of the electric power generation industry, collectively accounting for just 8.2 percent ($9.8 billion) of total industry revenues in 2012. Fossil fuel and nuclear electric power generation are still the major revenue sources of the electric power generation industry, comprising 66.7 percent ($79.7 billion) and 25.1 percent ($29.9 billion), respectively, of total revenues.

Enel Green Power to Construct Geo/Biomass Plant

Geothermal energy in ItalyEnel Green Power has begun construction on its “Cornia 2″ geothermal power plant in Tuscany. When complete, this will be what the company believes is the first plant in the world that will use biomass to heat the geothermal steam as a means to increase energy efficiency as well as electricity output of the geothermal cycle.

The biomass will be sourced locally within a 70 km radius from the plant and produce 5 MW of power. Utilizing the biomass, the steam entering the plant will be heated to raise the initial temperature to between 370°-380° from 150°-160°. This will increase net capacity for power generation due to the greater enthalpy of the steam and the enhanced efficiency of the cycle caused by lower humidity in the generation phase. Currently the plant has 13 MW installed capacity. When the upgrades are complete in early 2015 the biomass/geothermal plant will increase capacity by 37 Gwh.

“Thanks to its century-long experience in geothermal energy, Tuscany is already in the future,” said the CEO of Enel Green Power, Francesco Venturini, “Hybrid technologies are the new frontier of renewable energy in our efforts to optimize performance, and this facility, which offers an innovative approach to integrating biomass and geothermal energy, is a replicable model that can open new prospects for the development of energy, the economy and employment for local communities.”

U.S. Renewable Energy Industry Ready to Step Up

A new goal was announced during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing this week to double renewable energy in the 21 member economies by 2030. The renewable energy industry collectively came out and said they are ready to do their part. This new goal was a follow-up to last year’s commitment to encourage technology transfer and efforts to lower costs and attract private investment to the renewable energy industry.

“We appreciate the leadership that President Obama and the rest of these world leaders are showing on the critical task of rapidly scaling up low-carbon energy sources,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “Here in America, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Vision for the growth of our industry, we can quadruple wind power by 2030 and save consumers money doing it, if policymakers keep supporting state renewable standards and federal tax incentives to attract the necessary private investment.”

Linda Church Ciocci, executive director, National Hydropower Association said on behalf of the hydro electric industry, “Hydropower is poised for growth and ready to meet America’s renewable energy goals. From powering the 97 percent of the nation’s dams that remain unpowered to upgrading our existing facilities, opportunities exist to double hydropower’s contribution to the electricity grid, while strengthening our economy and providing more Americans access to clean, low-cost electricity.”

“GEA applauds the APEC goal of doubling renewable power,” added Karl Gawell, executive director, Geothermal Energy Association. “New geothermal power development underway in the U.S. and nearly all of the APEC countries will provide more than electricity, building thousands of megawatts of new geothermal power will spur economic growth, create new jobs and ensure environmental health for future generations.”

The highlight of the summit was a surprise negotiated emissions deal between the U.S. and China to curb climate change. The deal includes new targets for the U.S. and China to stop emission growth by 2030 and to create momentum around climate talks leading into the global climate conference taking place in Paris in 2015. Continue reading