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Geothermal Power Technology

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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 18:03:48

Geothermal Exploration Policy Mechanisms: Lessons for the United States from International Applications


According to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimate, the United States has nearly 40
gigawatts (GW) of power generation potential from identified and unidentified conventional
geothermal resources (Williams et al. 2008a).1 To realize these resources, geothermal project
developers must overcome several obstacles that are unique among the renewable energy
technologies. One significant barrier in geothermal project development is the high investment
risk during the resource exploration phase, which can make financing a geothermal project
difficult as compared to other renewable energy sources, including wind and solar (Salmon et al.
2011).

Many federal and state policies provide incentives to renewable energy sources, including
geothermal; however, these policies rarely differentiate between the technologies, with the
common exception of the level of remuneration provided (e.g., the amount of a rebate or tax
credit). These incentives, therefore, may not adequately address the more nuanced support
required to advance geothermal technologies (Doris et al. 2009). For example, at present many
geothermal policies support the operational phase of the project, but much of the risk is in the
development phase. If policy-makers wish to incentivize development of geothermal power
capacity, policies may need to address exploration risks specifically, thereby improving
developers’ access to financing through this vital stage in the development cycle.


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Re: THE Geothermal Power & HVAC Thread (merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 19:45:39

Exploiting the potential of geothermal district heating

Recent turbulence in Ukraine has led to an even more intensified hunt for secure sources of energy for Europe. Geothermal district heating (GeoDH) is one of the solutions being touted as a valuable and immediate option for the alleviation of Central and Eastern Europe's dependency on Russian gas.

While over 25 % of the EU population lives in areas directly suitable for GeoDH, the significant potential of deep geothermal is not yet being fully exploited in Europe. The work of GEODH, a project funded under the European Commission's Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE), may help to change this. GEODH has recently presented for the first time the potential of geothermal district heating in Europe on an interactive map.

The map, based on research undertaken by the GEODH team, reveals some interesting findings. For example, we see that GeoDH can be developed in all 28 EU countries and that geothermal can be installed with existing DH systems during extension or renovation, replacing fossil fuels. Additionally, new GeoDH systems can be built in many regions of Europe at competitive costs. The map also shows that the Pannonian basin (Hungary, Romania, Croatia and Serbia) is a place of particular interest when looking at potential development in Central and Eastern Europe.

Geothermal heating and cooling brings many advantages: not only does it provide local, baseload and flexible renewable energy, it also allows for a diversification of the energy mix, and protection against volatile and rising fossil fuels prices.

That's why the GEODH project team is working to achieve increased awareness on the potential applications and benefits of DH&C with geothermal energy. The interactive map is just one aspect of consortium's activities. The team is working to develop a set of recommendations for removing barriers and improving regulatory frameworks. They are also nurturing a better understanding of GeoDH related technologies, costs and financing, and aim to transfer best practices to national and local authorities.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 17 Jul 2014, 19:44:04

Energy Department Announces Up to $31 Million for Initial Phases of Enhanced Geothermal Systems Field Observatory

As part of the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department today announced up to $31 million to establish the initial phases of the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE), a field laboratory dedicated to cutting-edge research on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). EGS are engineered reservoirs, created beneath the surface of the Earth, where there is hot rock but limited pathways through which fluid can flow. During EGS development, underground fluid pathways are safely created and their size and connectivity increased. These enhanced pathways allow fluid to circulate throughout the hot rock and carry heat to the surface to generate electricity. In the long term, EGS may enable domestic access to a geographically diverse baseload, and carbon-free energy resource on the order of 100 gigawatts, or enough to power about 100 million homes.

“The FORGE initiative is a first-of-its-kind effort to accelerate development of this innovative geothermal technology that could help power our low carbon future,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Dave Danielson. “This field observatory will facilitate the development of rigorous and reproducible approaches that could drive down the cost of geothermal energy and further diversify our nation’s energy portfolio.”

The research and development (R&D) at FORGE will focus on techniques to effectively stimulate large fracture networks in various rock types, technologies for imaging and monitoring the evolution of fluid pathways, and long-term reservoir sustainability and management techniques. In addition, a robust open data policy will make FORGE a leading resource for the broader scientific and engineering community studying the Earth’s subsurface. These significant advances will reduce industry risk and ultimately facilitate deployment of EGS nationwide.

The FORGE initiative is comprised of three phases. The first two phases focus on selecting both a site and an operations team, as well as preparing and fully characterizing the site. In Phase 1, $2 million will be available over one year for selected teams to perform analysis on the suitability of their proposed site and to develop plans for Phase 2. Subject to the availability of appropriations, up to $29 million in funding is planned for Phase 2, during which teams will work to fully instrument, characterize, and permit candidate sites.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 18 Jul 2014, 21:04:39

100 GW Of US Geothermal Power Will Push US Past Gas

Natural gas has been having a field day in the US energy profile for the past dozen years or so, but it looks like the sleeping giant of US geothermal power is being nudged out of its stupor. Yesterday, the Energy Department announced that it is plunking down $31 million to rev up a cutting edge geothermal demo project that could enable the US to tap into an estimated 100 gigawatts of geothermal power.

The new geothermal project, called FORGE for Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy, is just one of a package of clean energy investments that President Obama has been rolling out in recent days.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 31 Jul 2014, 20:53:52

Three Geothermal Bills Look to Speed Up US Development

n Tuesday, July 29, there were two hearings in U.S. Congress subcommittees that are significant to the geothermal industry. A House subcommittee discussed three bills, with two specifically relating to geothermal development, while a Senate subcommittee looked at permitting needs.

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources (of the Committee on Natural Resources) covered three bills. In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn referred at length to current setbacks for geothermal that could be improved with legislation. “The geothermal NEPA review process requires over 175 document sets for each project,” the Chairman explained. “This is not 175 required documents — but document sets — which equates to hundreds or even thousands of pages of documents for one project. These requirements are significant setbacks and lead to extremely long delays in geothermal production.”

The Subcommittee also released a visual timeline which documents the disparate treatment geothermal projects face compared to wind and solar. “It’s shocking that federal agencies treat geothermal projects so harshly under NEPA,” notes Karl Gawell, GEA’s Executive Director. “This means that heavy-handed NEPA requirements are tipping the scales against geothermal energy.”


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 05 Aug 2014, 18:37:18

Innovative ADB loan to help unlock Indonesia’s geothermal energy potential

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a loan of up to $50 million, supported by the Clean Technology Fund, to share risks with the private sector during the project development and exploration phase of the Rantau Dedap geothermal project in Indonesia.

“This innovative loan demonstrates the depth of ADB support for deploying clean energy technologies that can significantly displace coal and oil-fired power,” said Lazeena Rahman, Investment Specialist in ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department. “In addition, it will help unlock Indonesia’s geothermal potential by bridging a key financing gap in the market.”

Indonesia has an estimated 29,000 MW of geothermal resource potential, but less than 5% of this potential has been developed. Proving commercial viability for a geothermal project requires a much higher upfront investment than for any conventional fossil fuel project. As such, the lack of an early-stage risk sharing option remains a fundamental obstacle to geothermal power expansion not just in Indonesia, but globally.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 06 Aug 2014, 19:16:02

Is the US Geothermal Industry Back on Track?

The U.S. geothermal industry has limped its way through the past few years with little growth, leading many companies to abandon plans and shift their business elsewhere.

While industry activity moved overseas to more promising developing markets like East Africa and Turkey, those that have stayed in the U.S. have been fighting for regulation easements, federal and state incentives and resource assessments — and it looks like all that work is starting to take shape, according to a panel conference call during the Geothermal Energy Association’s (GEA) National Geothermal Summit held in Reno, Nevada.

“The geothermal industry is poised for really strong growth in the years ahead, the question is what happens at the state level,” said GEA executive director Karl Gawell. “We can’t count on Congress any time soon, so we’re relying on states like California and Nevada.”

California has been forwarding a geothermal bill (S.B. 1139) that calls for 500 MW of geothermal procurement by 2024, which is separate from the state renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The panelists were confident that this bill would pass, which would be great news for the Salton Sea Initiative. This plan calls for the development of 1,700 MW of geothermal in the area by 2032, with hopes that it will revitalize the community.

“While the transfer of water is causing Salton Sea to recede, the good thing is that there is plenty of geothermal under [the seabed],” said Carl Stills, energy manager of the Imperial Irrigation District. “We see [the Salton Sea Initiative] as the perfect nexus between water and energy. S.B. 1139 would help that initiative, and it is picking up momentum and nearly becoming policy."

In Nevada, officials are looking at revamping its RPS since it already surpassed its previous goals of 20 percent by 2020 and 25 percent by 2025 set in 2007, and geothermal players are hoping that it will open its doors to significant development. Nevada also allows companies to purchase renewable energy directly from a utility, which is why Apple moved a portion of its data center operations to the state. The data centers are now powered by geothermal energy and other renewables.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 26 Aug 2014, 17:21:03

Geothermal Visual: Borrowing a 'Play Fairway' from the Oil and Gas Industry

The map below is shaded grey in the project areas for the geothermal teams that were chosen by the Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office to receive funding and support in the current “Play Fairway” award opportunity.


Image

The Geothermal Technologies Office announced up to $4 million for eleven projects for the Play Fairway Analysis, a subsurface mapping technique already used for oil and gas exploration. The awards go to: Utah State University in Logan, UT; ATLAS Geosciences Inc. in Reno, NV; Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM; Cornell University in Ithaca, NY; Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources, Olympia, WA; University of Utah/EGI in Salt Lake City, UT (Univ. Utah receives awards for two separate projects in this category); University of California, Davis in Davis, CA; Ruby Mountain Inc. in Salt Lake City, UT; Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada, Reno in Reno, NV; and University of Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Sat 13 Sep 2014, 18:09:15

Geothermal Energy: Investing in America’s Vast Renewable Resource

Less than one half of one percent of America's electricity comes from geothermal energy sources. Yet the geothermal energy potential found within just nine Western states could supply 20% of the country's electricity. Further, a new technology inspired by fracking could be a game-changer for America's geothermal energy hopes. So, with so much potential, how do investors make money on any future boom in geothermal energy?


What's the future of geothermal energy?

There are currently just over 3,000 megawatts of geothermal energy capacity in the U.S., which accounts for less than one half of one percent of America's electricity generating capacity. One reason why geothermal energy is such a small portion of capacity is because it's expensive to find, and the industry has wasted a lot of money drilling dry holes in the past. Further, it requires extensive reports and environmental permits. On top of that, because the best geothermal energy sources are near fault lines, there has been a link between geothermal energy and increased earthquakes.

That being said America is beginning to see increased investments in geothermal energy. There are currently more than 200 geothermal energy projects in various stages of development representing nearly 8,000 megawatts of capacity. One of the drivers of these new projects is a new technology called an enhanced geothermal system, which uses a technology similar to the hydraulic fracturing used for oil and gas wells. The technology can create a geothermal energy source by simply finding hot rocks instead of needing to find a hot water source as it can inject cold water that then turns to steam when it comes in contact with the rocks.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 20 Oct 2014, 18:54:47

Geothermal power industry lost steam but may be poised for comeback

Geothermal power was once king of California's renewable energy. So many companies were clamoring to transform steam into electricity that they sucked the world's largest geyser field dry.

But the industry's shortsightedness — and its slowness to innovate — left geothermal floundering for three decades in the shadows of the solar and wind energy juggernauts. Now, industry leaders say the energy harnessed from the Earth is poised for a renaissance, powered by new technology that will boost production, pare costs and expand its reach.

"We had been in a gradual decline, but we've turned the corner," said Doug Hollett, director of the federal Energy Department's Geothermal Technologies Office. "The growth curve for geothermal is extremely exciting."

Some impetus for the change has come from within. The geothermal industry's not-so-politically-savvy leaders, mostly geologists and mechanical engineers, had since the 1980s been eclipsed by hard-charging solar and wind energy developers who play the lobbying game, and play it well.

Geothermal's leaders watched and learned. Their challenge now, they say, is regaining some of the lost political and financial ground.

"We thought our competitors were fossil fuels," said Bob Sullivan, senior vice president of Ormat Technologies Inc., the nation's largest geothermal developer. "Now we're finding that our competitors are other renewable technologies."

Although geothermal companies are unlikely to be the energy giants that solar and wind producers have become, new technology could enable the industry to grow far beyond the Western states.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 22 Oct 2014, 17:23:58

China ramping up geothermal energy investment

Pictures from Sunday's smog enshrouded Beijing Marathon did little to enhance China's reputation as one of the world's most polluted nations. While such characterizations are well-founded, Party officials in the nation's capital are not idly sitting on their hands waiting for the next sky-blue day, even if reforms are seen by many as too little, too late.

In a new move aimed at cleaning up the air across China, state-owned energy behemoth Sinopec (中国石化) has announced it is diving into the Middle Kingdom's almost untapped geothermal energy reserves. Development of this economy is expected to be concentrated in Sichuan, Tibet and Yunnan, where geothermal activity is at its most abundant.

Generating sustainable electricity from superheated underground water is a concept that has been around for more than a century. However, less than 30 countries currently employ the technology used to harness subterranean steam and heat most often associated with hot springs and geysers and turn it into energy. China is one of these, but until now, production has been on a minuscule scale.

Following its establishment of dedicated geothermal entity Star Petroleum, Sinopec has invested a reported one billion yuan (US$163 million) in ten experimental power generation facilities on the east coast. Plans are now underway to considerably expand operations. Zhou Zongying, an employee with knowledge of the research, told South China Morning Post:

So far, geothermal energy's development has been limited by the high initial investment required, but as more local governments are imposing restrictions on coal-fired heat and power generation, geothermal energy will have more room for development.

The geothermal sphere of China's economy is barely in its infancy despite lofty goals announced nearly a decade ago. Statistics compiled by the Geothermal Energy Association for 2013 show China produced only 27 megawatts of electricity from this type of energy — 0.008 percent of that harnessed by world leader, the United States in the same year. Growth is initially expected to be strongest in the radiant heating sector — replacing some coal use — with high-capacity electricity generation coming later.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Sat 25 Oct 2014, 16:58:46

Geothermal energy: Indonesia passes law to tap volcano power

The Indonesian parliament on Tuesday passed a long-awaited law to bolster the geothermal energy industry and tap the power of the vast archipelago’s scores of volcanoes.

Made up of thousands of islands stretching from the Indian to the Pacific Oceans, Indonesia is home to some 130 volcanoes and is estimated to hold around 40 percent of the world’s geothermal potential.

However it produces only a tiny fraction of its energy by converting underground heat into electricity, and lags far behind others such as the United States and the neighbouring Philippines.

Red tape and legal uncertainty have long held back the industry and obstructed much-needed investment, but the government hopes the new law will speed up the development of the sector.

Most importantly, it stipulates that exploration for geothermal energy and development of plants is no longer considered mining.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 27 Oct 2014, 16:37:55

New Mapping Tool Shows U.S. Geothermal Plants and Heat Potential

A new mapping tool from the U.S. Department of Energy lets users see how geothermal power plants across the country are taking advantage of the heat stored within the earth’s crust.

Most of the nation’s 154 operational and planned geothermal plants are clustered in western states, where geothermal heat potential is especially high (red areas). Notably, the map identifies two areas that appear ripe for new geothermal development: one in the Great Plains and another at the border of Virginia and West Virginia.


Image

This map shows locations of existing and in-development geothermal plants, over a base layer that shows geothermal heat flow potential in different parts of the country. Red indicates high heat flow potential, and blue is low potential. Numbers indicate multiple power plants are clustered in an area. An interactive version of this map is available at energy.gov.

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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 05 Dec 2014, 17:13:35

World Bank Highlights Geothermal Energy Expansion in Developing Countries

The World Bank's Global Geothermal Development Plan (GDDP) has mobilized US$235 million towards scaling up geothermal energy, a source of low-carbon baseload power for many developing countries. The GDDP's efforts focus on overcoming limited capacity and capital for early-stage exploration, a key obstacle to expanding geothermal in developing countries.

Speaking at the second GDDP roundtable on 24 October in Copenhagen, Denmark, Anita Marangoly George, of the World Bank's Energy and Extractives Global Practice, said development partners and governments must work together to mitigate exploratory risks and encourage the private sector to scale up.

The event, co-organized by World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), brought together government and donor representatives, technical experts and private developers from more than 30 countries to assess progress and lessons learned in geothermal development, specifically regarding exploration data management, risk mitigation options and financing alternatives for geothermal investments. During the meeting, participants recognized increasing momentum for geothermal energy in low- and middle-income countries. They also highlighted the GGDP's contribution to developing a pipeline of resource validation projects and drawing attention to geothermal's potential in transitioning to renewable energy in developing countries.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 18 Dec 2014, 16:30:05

Geothermal Energy in 2014: Emerging Economies Power Up

Geothermal power in 2014 witnessed continued growth, more countries developing projects, and an increase in on-line capacity of between 4% and 5% for the third year in a row. With 700 MW (megawatts) of new additions, the global market reached upwards of 12.7 GW (gigawatts) of geothermal power operational throughout 24 countries. By comparison 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. These trends show that geothermal’s place in the global energy market is secure and steady.

To maintain this growth, national-level governments sought policies that will support in-house electricity generation without adding to the threat of global warming. Meanwhile, multi-lateral organizations focused on early risk mitigation. The global geo power industry is on track to reach 20 GW of on-line capacity, if not more, by 2024.

International Market Developments: U.S. companies are taking their experience and technology overseas and inspiring other nations to create favorable conditions for trade. Emerging economies in East Africa, Central America, and the South Pacific experienced the fastest growth this year. Some highlights:

Central America: Costa Rica received a $550 million loan from Japan for geothermal projects totaling 165 MW, and El Salvador reached a new milestone, with 25% of its electricity coming from geothermal.

East Africa: The world’s largest flash plant is a new 280-MW addition at the Olkaria field in Kenya. Meanwhile Ethiopia and the World Bank plan to add four million people to the grid in the next five years.

South Pacific: Construction began in Indonesia on what will be the largest geothermal plant ever built, the 330-MW Sarulla project. The Philippines’ Energy department announced plans to increase geothermal to 3.3 GW by 2030.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 16 Jan 2015, 16:11:44

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.

According 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.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby diemos » Sat 17 Jan 2015, 14:16:15

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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 18 Jan 2015, 08:47:11

FYI: the USGIN Foundation, Inc. Will not spend one $ developing geothermal resources. They will be providing some data to the companies that would determine if such resources. Of course, every bit might help...even this little bit.

As my favorite philosopher said long ago: "To be...not to seem to be". LOL.
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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby hvacman » Mon 19 Jan 2015, 14:23:11

RM - great link on the physical realities of geothermal energy.

I'd like to clarify a very common misnomer about a popular HVAC system that is often referred to as "geothermal heat pumps". These heat pumps do NOT actually use that internal "geothermal" heat coming from the earth's bowels, as described in this article. Rather, it uses the "near surface" mass storage energy capacity of the ground within 300 feet of the surface. This earth volume is much more affected by the long-term heat flux flowing into it and out of it from the surface than from below. The near-surface ground (down to 300') tends to reach thermal equilibrium at a temperature matching the annual average outside air temperature, which may be just 50 degrees F in the midi-west or in the mountains. That is why in the industry, we call the heat pumps that use heat from the ground "ground-source" heat pumps, not geothermal. If you have a very high heating demand in a year-round cool climate, it is very possible over a few years to cool down your patch of "ground" so much that the ground actually drops to below 40 deg. F and your heat pump output plummets. On the other hand, in a hot climate, the AC side of the heat pump can reject so much heat into the ground that the ground temperature builds up over a few years to be too hot for the AC system to work properly.
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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 19 Jan 2015, 16:18:56

Geothermal overtakes gas as NZ’s second electricity source

Geothermal power generation is now this country’s second most important electricity fuel source behind hydro, according to MightyRiverPower.

The company says geothermal output – the only renewable not dependent on the weather – surpassed gas-fired generation during the December quarter, having increased by more than 150% in the past decade.


Mighty River has poured $1.4 billion into geothermal investment, boosting geothermal output from 6.5% of national supply, to 16%.


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