Archive | Geothermal

'Hot Water' Life Found in Wyoming Lake

BOZEMAN, Mont., Oct. 5 (UPI) — A rare oasis of life has been found among geothermal vents in Wyoming’s Yellowstone Lake, the first such discovery in a freshwater system, scientists say.

Montana State University researchers have found a colony of moss, worms and varieties of shrimp in inky-black, 90-degree F water in a cauldron of nutrients and gases, a university release said Monday.

The geothermal vent is almost 100 feet below the surface of Yellowstone Lake and a third of a mile offshore, where the worms and shrimp live among approximately two feet of moss that encircles the vent.

“This particular vent seemed unique relative to all other active vents thus far observed in the lake in that it is robustly colonized by plants,” the researchers said.

The team explored the lake bottom with a remotely operated vehicle.

“The proliferation of complex higher organisms in close association with a Yellowstone Lake geothermal vent parallels that documented for deep marine vents, although to our knowledge this is the first such documentation for a freshwater habitat,” the researchers wrote in an article published in the journal Geobiology.

The key to survival in this unusual environment is the nutrients contained in the vent water, scientists say, which feed the moss, which then feeds the shrimp and worms.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Geothermal, Other0 Comments

Geothermal Power Gaining Attention

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) — The heat in the upper six miles of Earth’s crust contains many times the energy found in all the world’s oil and gas reserves combined, experts say.

Despite the abundance, researchers say, only 10,700 megawatts of geothermal electricity generating capacity have been harnessed worldwide, Inter Press Service reported.

The oil, gas, and coal industries have been providing cheap fuel by omitting the costs of climate change and air pollution from fuel prices, environmentalists charge, so little investment is being made in geothermal energy, which has been growing at scarcely 3 percent a year, the report said.

About half the world’s existing generating capacity is in the United States and the Philippines, with Indonesia, Mexico, Italy, and Japan accounting for most of the remainder. About two dozen countries convert geothermal energy into electricity.

El Salvador, Iceland, and the Philippines get 26 percent, 25 percent, and 18 percent, respectively, of their electricity from geothermal power plants.

In 2006, a team of scientists and engineers assembled by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology assessed U.S. geothermal electrical generating potential.

Geothermal electricity technology involves drilling down to the hot rock layer, fracturing the rock and pumping water into it, and then extracting the superheated water to drive a steam turbine.

The MIT team said the technology would provide enough geothermal energy to meet U.S. needs 2,000 times over.

About 152 power plants are under development in 13 U.S. states and are expected to nearly triple U.S. geothermal generating capacity, now at about 3,000 megawatts.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Coal, Electricity, Geothermal, Other0 Comments

U.S. Energy 'appetite' Trimmed in 2009

LIVERMORE, Calif., Aug. 24 (UPI) — Americans are using less energy overall and availing themselves of more renewable energy sources, a report says.

Data released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory showed the United States used significantly less coal and petroleum in 2009 than in 2008 while utilizing considerably more wind power.

And while there was a decline in natural gas consumption, solar, hydro and geothermal power use was up, the laboratory said.

“Energy use tends to follow the level of economic activity, and that level declined last year,” A.J. Simon, an LLNL energy systems analyst, said.

“At the same time, higher efficiency appliances and vehicles reduced energy use even further,” he said. “As a result, people and businesses are using less energy in general.”

Wind power increased dramatically in 2009, and since most of that energy is tied directly to electricity generation it helps decrease the use of coal for electricity production, he said.

“The increase in renewables is a really good story, especially in the wind arena,” Simon said. “It’s a result of very good incentives and technological advancements.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Coal, Consumption, Electricity, Geothermal, Natural Gas, Other, Solar, Wind0 Comments

U.K. Begins Geothermal Effort

REDRUTH, England, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Britain could soon have its first operating commercial geothermal plant after exploratory drilling was authorized in Cornwall, officials said.

Engineers will begin drilling a 2.8-mile-deep borehole early next year at a site near Redruth, England, The Guardian reported this week.

It is the first project in an emerging geothermal power sector in the United Kingdom, where the government hopes the technology could provide between 1 and 5 gigawatts of renewable electricity by 2030, the British newspaper said.

Geothermal energy involves pumping water up to 3 miles underground where it is heated by naturally occurring hot rocks before being pumped back up to the surface to either be converted into electricity or used as a source of renewable heat.

Unlike wind power, geothermal can operate steadily 24 hours a day.

Cornwall is expected to prove the best site for geothermal power, as research in the 1970s and ’80s found significant opportunities within the county’s granite bedrock, The Guardian said.

If successful in its exploratory drilling, the Redruth project would produce 10 megawatts of electricity and 55 megawatts of renewable heat for the local community.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electricity, Geothermal, Other0 Comments

National Geothermal Institute Established

RENO, Nev., May 17 (UPI) — Federal officials have given the University of Nevada-Reno a $1.2 million grant to establish the nation’s first geothermal energy training program.

U.S. Department of Energy officials said the grant will be used by the university to develop and operate the National Geothermal Institute, a consortium of top geothermal schools. The consortium will include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, Stanford University, the Oregon Institute of Technology, the University of Utah and possibly others as the program expands.

Officials said the institute, which will involve all facets of geothermal energy production, is envisioned to augment the University of Nevada’s Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy by providing relevant research and trained graduates for the geothermal industry.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Geothermal, Other0 Comments

Wind Energy Projects Receive Credit Boost

OTTAWA, March 25 (UPI) — Wind energy projects run by Wind Works Power Corp. received a boost with a $10 million credit facility that will go toward developing capacity in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Wind Works Power Corp. said it was pledged the line of credit after an investment agreement signed with Kodiak Capital Group LLC of New York. The agreement covers a

a $10 million equity line of credit that Wind Works will use to expand projects in its portfolio.

Wind energy received a major boost worldwide amid controversy over the impact of hydrocarbons use on climate change and also the volatile conditions in the crude oil market.

In the poorer countries hit by oil price spikes through 2009 renewable energy generation, including wind power, became an urgent priority. U.N. cash helped poorer countries start renewable energy projects in Africa and the Caribbean, though on a small scale compared to those countries’ energy needs.

However, the less-developed countries still lag behind industrial nations in optimum use of renewable energy because the technologies they apply in harnessing wind power and other renewable sources are often primitive. Lack of cash resources has come in the way of developing nations adopting renewable energies as efficiently as in the industrial world.

In North America and Europe, wind energy, wave energy and geothermal power have caught on with impressive results, attracting new investment.

Wind power development in North America received an unexpected setback as security authorities found that wind energy farms obstructed proper functioning of radar.

The most publicized obstacles to wind power expansion have been complaints over their visual impact and the potential for bird and bat deaths. Less known is the conflict with radar systems, highlighted by military authorities.

More than 9,000 megawatts worth of wind capacity, nearly as much as was installed in the United States in 2009, had to be canceled because of those security concerns.

Wind farms create “cones of silence,” making it difficult for primary radar systems to detect airplanes as they fly over them. Planes with transponders can communicate with air traffic control but many smaller planes don’t have transponders.

Analysts said the conflict over radar would need to be addressed for wind farms to thrive and attract more investment. The latest credit accord indicated that investment climate for wind farms could be improving.

Following the agreement signing, Wind Works filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to register 10 million shares of common stock. Wind Works will draw down on the credit facility, in amounts and timing at its sole discretion, and will issue common stock to Kodiak as the facility is utilized. The company won’t be able to draw down the equity line of credit with Kodiak until the registration statement is declared effective by the SEC.

Wind Works plans to use the funding from the equity line of credit to further develop its project portfolio. The company’s holding consists of equity interests in 23 wind energy projects in Canada, the United States and Europe for a total capacity of 367 megawatts.

Wind Works President and Chief Executive Officer Ingo Stuckmann said the credit facility facility “offers us access to the capital markets that we believe provides more flexibility, and ultimately less dilution, than traditional financing vehicles.”

The funds will enable the company to expand its operations and advance its project portfolio “to the point we can generate revenue in the near term, thereby adding value to the company and increasing shareholder value,” Stuckmann said.

Kodiak Capital Group, LLC, which was founded in 2009 and has headquarters in New York, assists growth companies in their long-term strategy by providing capital and business solutions.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Geothermal, Military, Other, Wind0 Comments

German Renewable Industry Booming

BERLIN, March 24 (UPI) — Countering Germany’s overall economic trend, the renewable energy industry boomed in 2009, supplying more than 10 percent of the country’s energy for the first time.

“We have made delightful progress,” German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said upon unveiling of the renewable data Wednesday in Berlin. “Germany is a global market leader in the field of renewable energies.”

Renewables — including biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, wind and solar energy — accounted for 10.1 percent of the overall energy mix, up from 9.3 percent in 2008. Renewables produced 94 billion kilowatt hours of power in 2009, a share of 16.1 percent, up from 15.2 percent in the previous year.

That puts Germany in a comfortable position when it comes to reaching its targets of boosting renewables in the energy mix and at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewables in 2009 avoided 109 million tons of emissions; Germany has reduced its emissions levels by 28 percent compared to 1990 levels.

Roettgen said it was “very realistic” that Germany before 2020 reaches its target of a 30 percent renewable share in the power mix and by the same year reducing its emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels.

The German renewable energy sector has benefited from a generous feed-in-tariff provided by famous renewable energy law, or EEG.

Last year, the German renewable energy industry unlocked investments worth some $23 billion, in a year when the overall economy contracted by 5 percent. The sector employs 300,500 people, that’s almost double the 2004 figure.

“The sector is growing against the trend and it remains a job and economic motor,” Roettgen said.

It’s not all positive news, however: The solar energy industry has turned into a problem child.

The feed-in tariff requires large utilities to buy up power generated by solar panels at prices several times the market value. This has led to German companies leading the global solar power market but also in an excess capacity within relatively chilly Germany: The country in 2009 accounted for more than half of global panel installations, meaning that billions of dollars in subsidies go to their owners. Despite those massive subsidies, solar accounts for less than 1 percent of the overall energy mix in Germany.

This over-funding “discourages technological advances and lowers the acceptance of renewables with the public,” Roettgen said, adding that subsidy cuts were imminent. “We don’t want to use the EEG to subsidize solar investment funds that enjoy double-digit returns.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Energy & Fuels, Energy Industry, Geothermal, Hydroelectric, Solar0 Comments

$400 Million for Indonesia's Geothermal

JAKARTA, March 23 (UPI) — Indonesia’s massive geothermal energy potential has been boosted by a $400 million investment fund plan to help double the sector’s energy capacity, the World Bank announced.

The $400 million plan, endorsed by the Trust Fund Committee of the Clean Technology Fund is designed to support the Indonesian government’s long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2020.

The plan will involve co-financing from the multilateral CTF to increase large-scale geothermal power plants and to boost programs to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy by creating risk-sharing facilities and addressing financing barriers to small- and medium-scale investments.

By 2020, the Indonesian government hopes to provide electricity access to 90 percent of Indonesia’s population; about 65 percent currently have access.

The $400 million funding follows an Indonesian energy and mineral resources ministry announcement earlier this month saying it had revised the country’s geothermal potential to 28,100 megawatts, up from 27,000 megawatts a decade ago.

The ministry’s geological agency said that with 30 years of operation, Indonesia’s revised geothermal potential was equal to 12 billion barrels of oil. That compares with the country’s current oil reserves of 6.4 billion barrels, the agency said.

Indonesia’s national energy policy aims to obtain 9,500 megawatts of power from geothermal sources by 2025. Less than 1,200 megawatts of geothermal energy has been explored, according to the agency.

“Indonesia has the largest geothermal energy potential in the world,” said World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Katherine Sierra in a statement announcing the $400 million plan.

“The co-financing will help Indonesia reduce the use of fossil fuels to meet its rapidly growing energy needs. It also gives a clear signal on the practical actions developing countries can take to combat global climate change,” she said.

Sierra, along with Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, vice president for knowledge management and sustainable development at the Asian Development Bank, point out in an editorial in The Jakarta Post Tuesday that Asia’s energy demand is projected to almost double by 2030. Unless development and consumption patterns shift, they said, the region would soon become the largest source of new greenhouse gas emissions.

Dennis Tirpak, a climate change expert at the World Resources Institute, said the $400 million funding was a positive step that can help jump-start Indonesia’s geothermal industry, ClimateWire reports. He pointed out, however, that Indonesia also needs long-term policy changes, particularly relating to fossil fuel subsidies, if it aims to achieve lasting changes to its energy structure.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Consumption, Electricity, Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Other0 Comments

Nuclear Power a Possibility for Indonesia

JAKARTA, March 17 (UPI) — Indonesia’s House of Representatives gave a green light to the government’s plan to build nuclear plants.

That decision Monday came after the parliamentary commission for energy, technology and the environment visited the country’s National Nuclear Energy Agency, which is known as Batan, during the weekend.

“Indonesia can no longer rely on non-renewable energy sources such as gas and coal to generate electricity in future,” said Teuku Riefky Harsya, chairman of the commission, in a statement.

Coal is estimated to account for 44 percent of state-owned utility PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara’s total energy production this year with natural gas another 26 percent.

Hudi Hastowo, head of Batan, told The Jakarta Globe the agency wouldn’t operate nuclear plants but would act as a supporting partner in providing technical advice.

Building a nuclear plant was a long-term project for Indonesia, Hastowo said, that could take at least 10 years.

“We now have to convince all stakeholders to support the plan,” he said.

The agency has carried out a feasibility study on the construction of nuclear plants in Indonesia, covering such issues as safety and the environment. Batan said the country’s uranium reserves in Kalimantan are capable of producing 1,000 megawatts of electricity for 150 years.

As for safety, Hastowo said that Indonesia would carefully evaluate safety measures in building nuclear power plants because the agency is party to the 1994 Vienna Convention on Nuclear Safety.

Noting that the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency is “very strict” in issuing permits for a country to build a nuclear power plant, he said that an IAEA inspector last November unofficially endorsed Indonesia’s capacity to build a nuclear power plant.

While Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s administration has yet to present a detailed proposal to Parliament on the building of nuclear facilities, the Antara news agency reported the president as saying, “I believe that nuclear power plants will not leak if managed properly.”

But the nuclear option “carries high-level risks for which Indonesia is not well prepared,” said Richard Tanter, an expert on Indonesia’s nuclear program at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

“There are very serious volcanic and seismic risks,” Tanter said.

Indonesia, faced with increasing electricity needs, encounters regular blackouts that hamper industrial production and discourage investors.

Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya, a campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said it was too early for Indonesia to embark on the nuclear path, the Globe reports.

Soeriatanuwijaya said the government should first explore geothermal energy. Indonesia’s untapped geothermal energy accounted for 40 percent of the world’s total reserves, he said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Coal, Electricity, Geothermal, Natural Gas0 Comments

Obama Sets Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) — The federal government will reduce its greenhouse gas pollution by 28 percent by 2020, U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday.

Hitting the pollution reduction target will reduce the government’s energy use by the equivalent of 646 trillion BTUs — equal to 205 million barrels of oil and taking 17 million cars off the road for a year, Obama said in a statement.

“As the single largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy, the federal government spent more than $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel in 2008 alone,” he said.

The president said the cumulative saving would be the equivalent of $8 billion to $11 billion in avoided energy costs through 2020.

“As the largest energy consumer in the United States, we have a responsibility to American citizens to reduce our energy use and become more efficient,” Obama said. “Our goal is to lower costs, reduce pollution, and shift Federal energy expenses away from oil and towards local, clean energy.”

Federal departments and agencies can achieve greenhouse gas pollution reductions by measuring current energy and fuel use, being more energy efficient and moving to clean energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal, Obama said.

On Oct. 5, Obama signed an executive order that set measurable environmental performance goals for federal agencies.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Cars, Electricity, Geothermal, Ozone, Solar0 Comments

No Posts in Category
Advertisement