A New Era for Geothermal Energy in Alberta?

Standard thinking for decades has been that geothermal technology is too costly and inefficient to be a significant source of energy. But a growing number of experts say the time may be right for geothermal to assume a higher profile, especially in ‘perfectly situated’ Alberta.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.cbc.ca

>” […] The economics of renewable energy projects are improving as governments begin to introduce carbon taxes and other fees on large carbon-emitting facilities, such as coal power plants.

Geothermal power plants turn hot water into electricity. Companies drill underground for water or steam similar to the process of drilling for oil. The heat is brought to the surface and used to spin turbines. The water is then returned underground.

“I think Alberta is perfectly situated to make the technology work,” said Todd Hirsch, chief economist with ATB Financial. “All the geothermal energy experts say it is all wrong for Alberta. You have to go down so deep to get any heat. Well actually, we have experience drilling through four miles [6.4 km] worth of rock to get at other things that are valuable.”

Hirsch describes geothermal as “a perfectly green, perfectly renewable source of electricity.” He also suggests geothermal could be a boon for the province, where companies have had a knack for developing “marginal resources” such as the oilsands.

“I think geothermal energy might be one that Alberta wants to champion specifically because it doesn’t work here,” said Hirsch. “If we can make it work here in Alberta, then it is a cinch to sell the technology to the Chinese and the Germans and everyone elsewhere geothermal doesn’t work.” […]

What are the costs?

Geothermal power plants cost more money than natural gas facilities. For some perspective, consider the Neal Hot Springs plant in Oregon that was constructed in 2012 for $139 million for 22 megawatts of production.

The Shepard natural gas power plant in Calgary began operating this year with a total cost of $1.4 billion for 800 megawatts of electricity. In this comparison, the geothermal facility costs three times as much per megawatt of power.

Enbridge, a part-owner of the Neal Hot Springs plant, has said the plant saves about 159,000 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide emissions compared to a similar-sized natural gas facility, and about more than 340,000 tonnes per year compared to a coal power plant.

Coal facilities supply nearly 40 per cent of electricity in Alberta.

While the NDP government has yet to announce a specific policy, the party ran on a campaign platform in the recent election pledging to phase out coal.

Premier Rachel Notley has announced an increase to the province’s carbon pricing rules and is expected to announce significant climate change policies this year. Such changes improve the economics of renewable energy projects, such as geothermal.

“It requires a long-term vision to develop,” said Dunn. “How much do we want to invest in the future?” “<

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

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Focus on financing energy efficiency

“EEFIG’s report states that energy efficiency investment is the most cost effective manner to reduce the EU’s reliance, and expenditure, on energy imports costing over €400 billion a year. Today, this makes energy efficiency investments strategically important due to high levels of energy imports, energy price instability and the need for Europe to transition to a competitive low carbon and resilient economy. EEFIG’s members see energy efficiency investing as having a fundamental and beneficial role to play in the transition towards a more competitive, secure and sustainable energy system with an internal energy market at its core.

EEFIG participants believe that the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) should put energy efficiency first and that it is essential in the context of the Energy Union to reframe the role that energy efficiency plays in how Europe plans for, finances, and constructs its energy system.”

Energy in Demand - Sustainable Energy - Rod Janssen

When we are discussing the EU’s energy efficiency strategy, the elephant in the room is money: where does the funding come from and will there be enough to meet investment needs. On the one hand, most energy efficiency measures are considered to be cost effective and thus it is in the interest of consumers to take such action. However, energy efficiency investments can often have a high up-front cost, making it difficult to justify such expenditure in a fragile economic situation.

The European Commission and the UNEP Finance Initiative set up a group of experts to address that elephant in the room, knowing that the elephant would not go away until there was a sustainable way forward. That group has now produced a major report that goes a long way to address this need.

The Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) has just launched its final report “Energy Efficiency –…

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UK Energy Efficiency Requirements and Business

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Proposals for an Energy Savings Opportunity Schemes have been published by the UK Government that will make it compulsory for large companies to undertake energy audits.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>An ESOS assessment would undertake a review of the total energy use and energy efficiency of the organisation, including the measurement of an energy intensity ratio (e.g. energy use per employee or per unit of output) and, as appropriate, considering the variation in energy use over time within key buildings, key industrial operations, and key transport activities (exempting de minimis energy use).

The review would need to be proportionate and sufficiently representative “to permit the drawing of a reliable picture of overall energy performance” of the organisation and present clear information on potential savings, which identify and quantify cost-effective energy savings opportunities.

These should be, wherever practical, based on life cycle assessments (LCA) instead of simple payback periods (SPP), as the former are more realistic.

All procedures for doing this are outlined under the international standard for energy management, ISO 50001, with which all energy and facility managers are encouraged to become competent.

The Government has come under sustained criticism recently for failing to do enough to promote energy efficiency.<

See on theenergycollective.com

Cambridge Plans Massive Energy Efficiency Retrofit

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

This medieval English city is investing $1.5 billion for energy upgrades for the entire city.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>It’s one thing to build super-energy-efficient new homes and offices – it’s another matter entirely to bring ancient buildings up to par. But the medieval university city of Cambridge, England, plans to do just that with a $1.5 billion retrofit program.

The newly launched Cambridge Retrofit Project aims to reduce carbon emissions from buildings 30% before 2050 through a massive, city-wide retrofit scheme.  […]

While the primary goal is reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions, the program also aims to build up local businesses, create warmer homes and increase the value of properties.

Energy savings alone are expected to be worth $2.3 billion and the city’s carbon footprint, currently 830,000 tons a year, is expected to fall 1% a year, eventually reaching 500,000 tons a year as a result of the retrofit program.<

See on www.sustainablebusiness.com

Three Types of Climate Action for Europe and Central Asia Region

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Under current trajectories, the world is headed toward a world that will be 4 degrees warmer by the end of this century.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>[…] However, as we try to show in our recent publication, Growing Green: the Economic Benefits of Climate Action, strategic investment in climate action can benefit these countries in the medium- and long-terms – thus offsetting the negative consequences of these investments.

Above all, countries need to focus on three types of climate action: climate action as aco-benefit, climate action as an investment, and climate action as insurance.

This first area of climate action is simply a co-benefit of policies that make sense even if we were not concerned about climate change. These are things like supporting energy efficiency investments or restoring degraded soils to make agriculture more productive (while also increasing carbon storage in soils).

The second area is what we call climate action as an investment. This gets at the issue of how countries can benefit from greening their economies – doing well by doing good. What we have seen in the last few years is that new firms emerge in countries that have implemented ambitious green policies early and take advantage of the economic opportunities that have sprung from these policies. […]<

See on blogs.worldbank.org

Concern about emissions trading scheme affecting the impact of renewables

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Deep problems in Europe’s carbon trading scheme – its flagship climate change policy – are set to cancel out over 700m tonnes of emissions saved through renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts, according to a new report.

The study, by carbon trading thinktank Sandbag, found that a huge oversupply of carbon pollution permits means many are being banked to enable emissions after 2020, when efforts to tackle global warming should be intensifying. These emissions, nearly equivalent to Germany’s annual carbon pollution, will cancel out efforts made in other areas to cut carbon.

The report also warns that Europe’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) is a “global dumping ground” for “dubious” carbon permits created by projects around the world.

See on energyindemand.com

Wind Power Urged to Compete with Fossil Fuels Head-on: Scientific American

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

The industry must fight the perception that wind energy cannot compete with fossil fuels

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Borrowing a page from environmentalists

To that end, some wind power advocates argued that the industry should borrow a page from the environmental movement by challenging renewable energy naysayers head on and ratcheting up its rhetoric on wind energy’s environmental benefits relative to fossil fuels rather than seeking to peacefully coexist alongside the oil, coal and gas sectors.

Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation and one of several high-profile environmental leaders addressing the Chicago conference, told AWEA members that they represent “an insurgent industry” that is “taking on an incumbent industry that plays hardball.”

“I would urge you all to become more aggressive,” he added, “because if you don’t be more creative, more aggressive, more willing to take risks, this industry will move along at a pace that will not solve our problems.”

See on www.scientificamerican.com

New Wyoming lithium deposit could meet all U.S. demand

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

The U.S. currently imports more than 80% of the lithium it uses, with the silvery metal winding up in batteries from cell phones to electric cars.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

“University of Wyoming researchers found the lithium while studying the idea of storing carbon dioxide under ground in the Rock Springs Uplift, a geologic formation in southwest Wyoming. University of Wyoming Carbon Management Institute director Ron Surdam stated that the lithium was found in underground brine. Surdam estimated the located deposit at roughly 228,000 tons in a 25-square-mile area. Extrapolating the data, Surdam said as the uplift covered roughly 2,000 square miles, there could be up to 18 million tons of lithium there, worth up to roughly $500 billion at current market prices.”

See on www.mining.com

Europe’s Most Advanced Paper Recycling Plant Opened in UK – Waste Management World

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

A recycled paper mill claimed to be the most advanced in Europe has been officially opened by Michael Fallon, the UK’s minister of state for business & energy, at Partington Wharfside, Trafford.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

SIACA said that the mill will help to some 450,000 tonnes a year of used paper from export by recycling it within the UK – reducing carbon emissions by 84,011 tonnes per year – equivalent to taking 28,000 cars off the road each.

Economic boost

According to the company PM-11 has led to the creation of 94 direct jobs plus opportunities for contractors and other roles.

“This cutting edge facility shows how state of the art technology and innovation can help drive growth. It’s a real boost for the economy and will create new jobs for Partington and the local area,” commented Fallon.

See on www.waste-management-world.com