Thursday, April 12, 2007

Geothermal power for the entire U.S.

From the Energy Blog...

The following is a summary—newly posted on the Energy Blog—of claims made by MIT's Jefferson Tester and his team that studied the capacity of geothermal energy in the U.S.

  • Geothermal resources are available nationwide, although the highest-grade sites are in western states.
  • Geothermal energy using enhanced geothermal system (EGS) technology would greatly increase the fraction of the U.S. geothermal resource that could be recovered commercially.
  • The United States, generating 300 megawatts, is already the biggest producer of geothermal.
  • If geothermal is going to be anything more than a minor curiosity, it has to reach at least the level of hydro and nuclear power, or 100,000 megawatts out of 1 million—one-tenth of total capacity," he said.
  • The study found that geothermal could supply a substantial portion of the electricity the United States will need in the future, probably at competitive prices and with minimal environmental impact.
  • The process involves drilling to as deep as 30,000 feet, pumping water under pressure into fractures to break apart underground rock formations and freeing up reservoirs.
  • Seismic activity is a risk, he said. "The big challenge is to show you can do it not only in California, but also in the Midwest and ultimately on the East Coast, where you have to go deeper."
  • Among geothermal's advantages are its below-ground, out-of-sight nature, making it easier to site, and its high capacity and because, unlike solar or wind, it runs a the time. Environmental impacts are "markedly lower than conventional fossil-fuel and nuclear power plants."
  • Meeting water requirements for geothermal plants may be an issue, particularly in arid regions."
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    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    New technique reveals Earth's internal heat

    From MIT via Science Daily...
    A 'seismothermometer' of the Earth's temperature at extreme depths.

    "High-resolution images that reveal unexpected details of the Earth's internal structure are among the results reported by MIT and Purdue scientists in the March 30 issue of Science....

    The technique—akin to medical imaging such as ultrasounds and CAT scans—led to detailed new images of the boundary between the Earth's core and mantle. These images, in turn, help researchers better understand how and where the Earth's internal heat is produced and how it is transported to the surface. They also provide insight into the Earth's giant heat engine--a constant cycle of heat production, heat transfer and cooling.

    Years of work by Ping Wang, EAPS graduate student at MIT, led to the possibility for high-resolution imaging, and in collaboration with EAPS mineral physicist Dan Shim, the team produced maps of temperature and heat flow some 3,000 kilometers below the Earth's surface, using the data to provide a kind of "seismothermometer" of the Earth's temperature at extreme depths...."

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    U.S. increases geothermal tax credit

    From Raser Technologies via Business Wire...
    Up from 1.9 to 2.0 cents per kilowatt hour

    "Raser Technologies, Inc. (RZ) announced today that the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service released the 2006 Inflation Adjustment Factor (IAF) as it relates to Section 45 of the Internal Revenue Code. This annual adjustment increases the amount of tax credit available for geothermal and other qualified energy projects from 1.9 cents per kwh to 2.0 cents per kwh. The IAF adjustments are implemented annually.

    The Company has announced its intention to develop geothermal projects utilizing advanced binary heat recovery systems. “We believe that this increase will help to further stimulate the development of geothermal resources in the United States,” said Brent M. Cook, CEO.

    This and other incentives should assist in moving our nation towards greater energy independence. We believe that the energy policy of the United States should continue to emphasize clean, renewable energy sources and provide incentives for their development.”

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    States in U.S. reach renewable energy milestone

    From Renewable Energy Access...
    Renewable Electricity Standards Toolkit

    "The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) projects that 21 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted renewable electricity standards are on track to reduce their global warming emissions by 108 MMT of carbon dioxide by 2020.

    By 2020, the UCS projects the state standards will produce more than 46,000 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable power, enough to meet the needs of 28.5 million typical homes. State renewable electricity standards are expanding, with at least 10 more states considering adopting a requirement or raising existing targets.

    The success of state renewable energy standards is helping build momentum for a federal standard of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. The federal standard would increase renewable energy output nearly four times over current state standards.

    To help track and compare state standards, UCS has developed a new, one-stop resource, the Renewable Electricity Standards Toolkit, which includes summaries of all 22 standards, as well as maps illustrating existing standards and projections for future renewable energy development. It offers a database with detailed information about state standards, ranging from how renewable energy technologies are defined to how standards are enforced."

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    Raser gets more resource

    From Montara Energy Ventures...
    Company secures 7 more geothermal leases in Utah

    "Raser Technologies announced...that it has secured seven more geothermal leases in Utah, adding 13,887 acres to its portfolio. Investors seemed to like the news sending to stock up more than 3% on the news. However, investors should realize that development of geothermal resources take years; greenfield development is slow and fraught with difficulty. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see a company approach the challenge with obvious passion and enthusiasm."

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    Monday, April 9, 2007

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Prospectus for Investment

    Atlantic Geothermal, LLC has prepared a prospectus for investment that is now available by email request.

    Videos: Business responds to climate change

    From Sea Studios Foundation via

    "Across the U.S., an increasing number of businesses are becoming serious about addressing climate change. The Sea Studios Foundation recently launched a short film illustrating how major corporations are investing time and money in energy efficiency and renewable energy."

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    U.S. Geothermal expands development activities

    Press Release from U.S. Geothermal [February 6, 2007]...

    "U.S. Geothermal Inc., a renewable energy development company focused on the production of electricity from geothermal energy, announced today that it has acquired additional geothermal energy rights in the area of their Neal Hot Springs project located in eastern Oregon..."


    Sunday, April 8, 2007

    Utility adds more renewable geothermal energy

    From Pacific Gas and Electric Company...
    Enough renewable electricity for more than 125,000 PG&E customers

    "Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced it has entered into contracts with IAE Truckhaven I, LLC and Northwest Geothermal Company to purchase up to a total of 169 megawatts (MW) of renewable geothermal energy resources to help meet its customers’ future electricity needs. Electric generation from these renewable energy resources will provide enough power to supply more than 125,000 PG&E customers.

    The addition of this geothermal generation further adds to PG&E’s diverse and renewable energy resources and ensures that more than thirty percent of our northern and central California customers’ energy needs will come from hydroelectricity and renewable sources,” said Fong Wan, vice president of Energy Procurement. “These new resources will add to a generating portfolio that already has one of the lowest rates of air emissions in the country....

    California’s RPS Program requires each utility to increase its procurement of eligible renewable generating resources by 1% of load per year to achieve a 20% renewables goal. These two contracts increase PG&E’s 2005 RFO procurement to approximately 2.5% of load, 2.5 times the annual target. The RPS Program was passed by the Legislature and is managed by California’s Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission."

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    HTHP - High Temperature, High Pressure

    From World Oil...
    HTHP conditions are more severe than 'conventional' well equipment is designed for. But proven solutions are available...

    "Today's deep drilling ventures are harnessing an impressive array of technological tools to explore deeper, geopressured formations accompanied by high mud weights and vexing high temperatures.

    Yesterday's challenge on exploratory wells was to obtain an electric log and get off the job before a well-control situation tilted prospect economics. This article points out the factors to be considered if the oil/gas operator wants to do more than look and see. What should he be prepared for? What is different about making a producer out of that deep, hot hole? What points need to be addressed to avoid turning that potentially high-rate dream into a completion engineer's nightmare?"

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    Stirling engine linked to geothermal power

    From Wikipedia...
    Stirling engine

    "Some believe that the ability of the Stirling engine to convert geothermal energy to electricity and then to hydrogen may well hold the key to replacement of fossil fuels in a future hydrogen economy."

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    Hawaii has great energy potential

    From the Associated Press (AP) and news reports...

    "With its ocean breezes, ample sunlight, pounding waves and a continuously erupting volcano, Hawaii seems blessed with the means to produce clean electricity and achieve energy independence...." »CBS News »Los Angeles Times »Guardian Unlimited »Forbes »

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    Saturday, April 7, 2007

    Fund to insure geothermal explorers in East Africa

    From Reuters via Renewable Energy Access...
    Great Rift Valley has potential to produce 50% of capacity for East Africa

    "The United Nations and World Bank have launched a fund to help insure energy explorers hunting geothermal power sources under Africa's volcanic Great Rift Valley, officials said [March 22]. The Rift has the potential to produce more than 400 megawatts of geothermal electricity, U.N. experts say, or more than half east Africa's total power generation capacity, including all its power stations and hydropower dams."

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    Advisory council visits geothermal site in Nevada

    From the Lahontan Valley (Nevada) News...
    Two dozen landowners in the area receive royalties for having the geothermal plant resources snake on or below their properties.

    "Members of an advisory committee to the Bureau of Land Management toured sites in Churchill County on Thursday to gain further understanding of how public lands and resources are managed in Nevada.

    The 15-member Resource Advisory Council, comprised of academic, business and public representatives, drove from Carson City and visited the Stillwater Geothermal Plant ....

    At the Stillwater Geothermal Plant, the group first visited an injection well, which pumps cooled geothermal water back into the ground. Brad Pratt, representative from Enel North America, explained to the group the details of the production wells, the amount of power generated from them and the reasons behind the placement of injection wells.

    The production well at Stillwater Geothermal, first drilled in 1988, cost about $1.3 million - a figure which is doubled these days, Pratt said. Two dozen landowners in the area receive royalties for having the geothermal plant resources snake on or below their properties.

    The geothermal plant uses about 25 percent of the power it generates and sells the remainder to Sierra Pacific Power Company.

    Enel North America, which purchased the geothermal plant from Ormat, plans to build new plants next year at Salt Wells and on 240 acres adjacent to the existing plant in Stillwater...."

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    Experts pool ideas on global warming

    From the Arizona Daily Star...
    Rep. Grijalva sponsors session on energy solutions

    "Tax breaks for geothermal energy exploration, not just oil exploration.

    Federal subsidies for solar energy to match those given to nuclear energy, and for mass transit to match those given to highways.

    Incentives, not just regulation.

    Above all, collaboration and cooperation.

    Those were some of the ideas floated Friday by about 25 experts in various environmental fields who met at a global warming round table sponsored by U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., to coincide with the release of a new international report on the subject."

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    Thursday, April 5, 2007

    Mining heat from the earth

    From the Christian Science Monitor...
    New techniques could expand the capabilities of geothermal power, producing 10 percent of U.S. electricity by 2050.

    "Here's one vision for easing America's energy and emissions woes: Hundreds of drilling rigs are deployed throughout the country. But they're not prospecting for oil; they're looking for underground rock hot enough to produce steam-driven electricity. The potential? Enough power to provide 10 percent of US electricity by 2050 – with near-zero emissions of greenhouse gases. That's the promise of "enhanced geothermal systems," or EGS, says a recent report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass."

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    Wednesday, April 4, 2007

    Calpine a big turnaround story?

    From Blogging Stocks...
    "Calpine's assets include 84 natural gas-fired and geothermal power plants, which have a capacity of nearly 25000 megawatts...."