Renovation Nation Highlights Green Building Collaboration

The Discovery Channel’s nationally televised show Planet Green Renovation Nation will highlight a uniquely green home in Boulder, Colo. The show’s host, Steve Thomas, visits green building projects across the nation and explores all aspects of environmentally friendly home renovation and new construction. The Discovery Channel film crew recently documented a collaborative project of Ellis Construction, Namaste` Solar, Automatic Solar and Colorado Geothermal Drilling at the home in Boulder.

Currently in development, the project will integrate numerous green features and follow the guidelines set by the City of Boulder’s Green Points and Green Building Program. Upon completion, the home will be near net zero in regard to energy consumption. Renovation Nation will feature a number of green aspects, including a geothermal heating system, solar photovoltaic array and solar hot-water-heating system.

“Our interest in this project is the combination of different technologies – geothermal, PV and solar thermal – and how they will all work together to reduce energy cost and the carbon footprint for the homeowner,” says Dan Rau of Colorado Geothermal Drilling.

“Boulder, Colorado, is a national front-runner in the advancement of renewable energy technology and green building practices, due in part to the city’s progressive Green Points and Green Building Program. This opportunity will lend credibility and national exposure to builders, organizations and citizens affecting these new practices and policies, as well as a chance to report on something positive in these challenging economic times,” adds David Ellis of Ellis Construction.

Australia Announces Geothermal Drilling Funding

Australia’s Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, reports that MNGI Pty Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Petratherm, and Panax Geothermal Ltd. are successful applicants for funding under the first round of the government’s Geothermal Drilling Program.

The Geothermal Drilling Program will support the high cost of drilling deep geothermal wells by providing grants on a matching funding basis. Funding also will help finance geothermal proof-of-concept projects.

Geothermal energy producers pump water below ground, sometimes as deep as 3.1 miles, where it is heated by “hot rocks.” The heat energy is used to generate electricity.

MNGI Pty Ltd. has been awarded a $7 million grant for The Paralana Project. The Paralana Geothermal Energy Project is an engineered geothermal system (EGS) project that aims to demonstrate a successful, robust and innovative geothermal heat exchanger in the Adelaide Fold Belt. It aims to prove EGS technology with the heat exchanger within insulator (HEWI) model in order to bring forward geothermal development and investment across Australia by considerably lowering drilling costs and risks.

Panax Geothermal Ltd. also has been awarded a $7 million grant for The Limestone Coast Geothermal Project. The Limestone Coast Geothermal Project is designed to deliver the first conventional geothermal energy development based on a deep and insulated sedimentary basin heated by conduction from underlying hot basement rocks. Success will prove the concept for the Limestone Coast where a resource potential of around 1,500 MW has been inferred, and could open up a new geothermal play for Australia.

The Limestone Coast Geothermal Project is based on the concept that commercially viable geothermal reservoirs can be utilized where they are buried under a thick layer of sedimentary rocks with low thermal conductivity.

EDIN Announces Three New Pilot Projects

The International Partnership for Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) recently announced three new pilot projects in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica and across the Pacific.

Launched in August 2008, EDIN is an international partnership between Iceland, New Zealand and the United States to further the use of energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies in island nations and territories.

The choice of the U.S. Virgin Islands as the U.S. pilot project reflects a desire to bring about fundamental changes to the way energy is used in the territory. U.S. Virgin Islands effort will focus on deploying the maximum amount of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies to achieve specific and measurable clean energy targets. A specific work plan is under development to identify key needs, projects and goals that EDIN will help U.S. Virgin Islands achieve.

The approach and plan will build upon the experience that the U.S. has gained through participating in the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to meet 70 percent of the state’s energy needs with clean energy sources by 2030. Both the Hawaii and U.S. Virgin Islands efforts will focus on using indigenous renewable energy resources and improved energy efficiency. Addressing technology, policy and finance aspects will be part of this effort to achieve their goals.

The Icelandic auth-orities introduce the Commonwealth of Dominica as Iceland’s Pilot Project Partici-pant for the EDIN Partnership. Dominica has significant geothermal resources, and Iceland has longstanding expertise in using this sustainable energy source for economic, social and environmental benefits. When the oil crisis struck Iceland in 1973 and 1979, Iceland changed its energy policy, deemphasized oil, and turned to domestic energy resources using hydropower and geothermal. As a result, Iceland is a world leader in the use of renewable energy; 81 percent of the nation’s primary energy consumption and 99.9 percent of electricity generation now is from renewables. The partnership with Dominica will build on Iceland’s proven model of transition from a fossil-fuel-dependent economy to a clean energy economy.

An important aspect of the initiative is capacity-building within relevant Dominican governmental institutions. With this purpose in mind, the United Nations University Geothermal Training Programme in Iceland and short courses held on various continents in geothermal training are open for qualified candidates from energy institutions in Dominica.

Iceland’s Island Growth Initiative, introduced in 2007, initiated Icelandic-Caribbean cooperation, and was the cornerstone to collaboration between the two countries in the field of energy.

New Zealand’s initial project under the EDIN Partnership is to assess the potential for geothermal electricity generation within a number of Pacific Island Nations, including U.S. Territories. New Zealand’s leading Earth systems research institute – New Zealand’s GNS Science – is carrying out the assessment, and the work is sponsored by a number of New Zealand Ministries. The study will be based on existing literature and knowledge of the geothermal potential of Pacific Islands.

Geothermal resources have the potential to provide base load electricity at a fraction of the cost of diesel generation, which is used as the main source of electricity in many Pacific Islands. Eighteen island nations will be considered in this report, which will include detailed assessments for islands that have high geothermal potential together with an assessment of their grid capacity and load factors. All of this data is essential for considering the fit of geothermal to the existing grid infrastructure. The report will be completed in mid-June.