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geothermal power

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Danfoss and A.P. Møller Holding A/S has entered into a strategic partnership to develop and explore the potential of an industrialized approach to geothermal energy in Denmark.

The geothermal potential in Denmark is quite high and geothermal energy as a clean energy option has the potential to play a greater role in future energy systems. Geothermal heat supplements other renewable energy sources very well and can, when combined with heat pumps, cover 15-30 per cent of the heat demand in large district heating systems.

Geothermal energy has the potential to play an important role in the transition to a heating supply based on renewable energy sources. Fully built out geothermal energy, in combination with heat pumps, can cover 10-15 percent of Denmark’s total energy need and play a key role in ensuring security of supply in the future’s green energy supply.

To utilize the great potential of geothermal energy as a clean and sustainable energy source on a larger scale than has been pursued so far presents exciting business perspectives. Potentially, geothermal energy can be for the heating system what wind is for the electricity system. And as district heating is a prerequisite for the use of geothermal heat, we see good business potential in this ambitious project, and are keen to support the project as it offers good opportunities to further develop our heating business as well as it offers attractive socio-economic perspectives of a large-scale shift to renewable energy,” says Lars Tveen, President Danfoss Heating Segment.

The Chairman of the Danfoss Board, Jørgen M. Clausen, inspired A.P. Møller Holding to investigate the potential of industrialized low-temperature geothermal energy in Denmark. Together, Danfoss and A.P. Møller Holding have a unique set of competences within district heating systems, energy supply and exploration, development and extraction of underground resources.

I have been interested in geothermal energy in Denmark for many years. However, high-temperature geothermal energy is only available in few areas of Europe such as Iceland. The concept I have been developing is based on low-temperature geothermal energy utilized in a decentralized setup with many smaller entities, which makes it easy to fit in to urban areas. I am convinced that the combined expertise and competencies from A.P. Møller Holding and Danfoss will serve as the right outset to industrialize the utilization of low-temperature geothermal energy, which we have in abundance, to the benefit of Denmark,” says Jørgen M. Clausen.

The partnership with A.P. Møller Holding is anchored in Danfoss Heating and the segment has allocated a group of experts to the project to support overall in terms of our unique position and district heating insights as to energy supply and district heating systems in Denmark. Furthermore, the project group will focus on unveiling the tools and policy framework needed for unlocking the potential of geothermal energy in Denmark.

Sustainable district heating from the underground

According to a study by the International Agency for Renewable Energy, IRENA, geothermal heat is one of the most cost-effective measures to reduce CO2 emissions. IRENA estimates that it is economically cheaper to increase the share of geothermal energy in the heating sector than to increase the proportion of biomass in the areas where geothermal resources are present.

Although the geothermal resources in the Danish subsoil are significant, there are only three smaller Danish geothermal plants. One of the reasons why geothermal systems are not widespread are the economic risks associated with the drilling.

Source: Danfoss

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Sector adds record 167 GW of generating capacity,expands 8.3% in 2017

By the end of 2017, global renewable generation capacity increased by 167 GW and reached 2,179 GW worldwide, according to new data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Capacity Statistics 2018 is the most comprehensive, up-to-date and accessible figures on renewable energy capacity statistics. It contains nearly 15,000 data points from more than 200 countries and territories.

This latest data confirms that the global energy transition continues to move forward at a fast pace, thanks to rapidly falling prices, technology improvements and an increasingly favourable policy environment, said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Renewable energy is now the solution for countries looking to support economic growth and job creation, just as it is for those seeking to limit carbon emissions, expand energy access, reduce air pollution and improve energy security.”

“Despite this clear evidence of strength in the power generation sector, a complete energy transformation goes beyond electricity to include the end-use sectors of heating, cooling and transportation, where there is substantial opportunity for growth of renewables,” Mr. Amin added.

Solar PV grew by a whopping 32% in 2017, followed by wind energy, which grew by 10%. Underlying this growth are substantial cost reductions, with the levelised cost of electricity from solar PV decreasing by 73%, and onshore wind by nearly one-quarter, between 2010 and 2017. Both technologies are now well within the cost range of power generated by fossil fuels.

China continued to lead global capacity additions, installing nearly half of all new capacity in 2017. 10% of all new capacity additions came from India, mostly in solar and wind. Asia accounted for 64% of new capacity additions in 2017, up from 58% last year. Europe added 24 GW of new capacity in 2017, followed by North America with 16 GW. Brazil set itself on a path of accelerated renewables deployment, installing 1 GW of solar generation, a ten-fold increase from the previous year.

Off-grid renewables capacity saw unprecedented growth in 2017, with an estimated 6.6 GW serving off-grid customers. This represents a 10% growth from last year, with around 146 million people now using off-grid renewables.

Highlights by technology 

Hydropower: The amount of new hydro capacity commissioned in 2017 was the lowest seen in the last decade. Brazil and China continued to account for most of this expansion (12.4 GW or 60% of all new capacity). Hydro capacity also increased by more than 1 GW in Angola and India.

Wind energy: Three-quarters of new wind energy capacity was installed in five countries: China (15 GW); USA (6 GW); Germany (6 GW); UK (4 GW); and India (4 GW). Brazil and France also installed more than 1 GW.

Bioenergy: Asia continued to account for most of the increase in bioenergy capacity, with increases of 2.1 GW in China, 510 MW in India and 430MW in Thailand. Bioenergy capacity also increased in Europe (1.0 GW) and South America (0.5 GW), but the increase in South America was relatively low compared to previous years.

Solar energy: Asia continued to dominate the global solar capacity expansion, with a 72 GW increase. Three countries accounted for most of this growth, with increases of 53 GW (+68%) in China, 9.6 GW (+100%) in India and 7 GW (+17%) in Japan. China alone accounted for more than half of all new solar capacity installed in 2017. Other countries that installed more than 1 GW of solar in 2017 included: USA (8.2 GW); Turkey (2.6 GW); Germany (1.7 GW); Australia (1.2 GW); South Korea (1.1 GW); and Brazil (1 GW).

Geothermal energy: Geothermal power capacity increased by 644 MW in 2017, with major expansions in Indonesia (306 MW) and Turkey (243 MW). Turkey passed the level of 1 GW geothermal capacity at the year-end and Indonesia is fast approaching 2 GW.

Source: IRENA

Central America’s vast geothermal potential could be a key tool in low-carbon economic development according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), if regional governments can adopt the policy and regulatory frameworks necessary to support its deployment. Central American countries, which currently rank among the world’s top countries in terms of the share of installed geothermal energy, have the potential for 20 times the currently installed capacity.

A workshop in El Salvador, organised by IRENA and LaGeo, El Salvador’s state-owned generator of electricity from geothermal resources, and in association with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeitis (GIZ), sought to identify the measures that may unlock the region’s vast geothermal potential.


Central America holds some of the world’s most promising geothermal resources, that if utilised can help the region secure and deliver, inexpensive electricity while stimulating low-carbon economic growth,” said Gurbuz Gonul, Acting Director of Country, Support and Partnerships at IRENA. “Through the sharing of knowledge, experience and lessons learned from the leading geothermal countries in Central America, this workshop will help establish the building blocks for the stable, long-term policy framework needed to overcome barriers in geothermal development,” added Mr. Gonul.

The region’s leading countries with the highest geothermal capacity are Costa Rica – 207 MW, El Salvador – 204 MW and Nicaragua – 55 MW. Geothermal power could satisfy nearly double the region’s predicted electricity demand through 2020. Expansion of geothermal in the region is hampered by several barriers, including a lack of adequate policies and regulations for the use and development of geothermal resources.

Geothermal energy has proven to provide stable and affordable electricity, and offers flexibility through the direct use of geothermal heat in domestic, commercial and industrial sectors,” added Mr. Gonul of IRENA.

IRENA started implementing a regional capacity building program in Central America under the Global Geothermal Alliance, a multistakeholder initiative aiming to increase the share of geothermal energy in the global energy mix. The capacity building program is supporting the development of capabilities of various stakeholders along the geothermal value chain in Central American countries. This workshop constitutes part of this programme, strengthening the institutional and human capacities of the region, in the areas of geothermal technology, policy, regulation and finance.

Source: IRENA

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With 40% of the population living less than 100 km from the coast, the sea offers enormous potential as an energy source, both in France and worldwide. In addition to energy from tides and currents, the ENGIE Group is also developing another innovative area of expertise that contributes to the energy transition: thermal energy from the sea. Marine geothermal energy makes use of the difference in temperature between warmer surface water and the cold water found at greater depths. Although this geothermal power plant system is already a reality in Paris using water from the River Seine, the Group is now developing two entirely new and unique projects using seawater in Marseille and Réunion. The Thassalia project in Marseille was inaugurated on 18 October.

A new solution has been developed in Marseille to take advantage of locally available renewable energy by using the thermal energy held in the Mediterranean Sea. As a partnership between the public sector, the Euroméditerranée Development Agency, local authorities, regional authorities and private enterprises (Constructa, Foncière des Régions and ENGIE), this project is an excellent example of how innovation is driving the energy transition and energy efficiency. It is therefore consistent with plans to turn the Euroméditerranée district into an example of a sustainable city.


The Thassalia marine geothermal project has been designed specifically to meet the needs of Marseille’s Euroméditerranée Eco-City business centre. This is the largest urban regeneration program in Southern Europe and is the first project of its kind to generate central heating, water heating and air conditioning services on such a scale using seawater, a fact that imposes significantly higher technical constraints, especially in terms of corrosion control.

Built at the Marseille-Fos Port, the Thassalia marine geothermal power station is the first in France, and even in Europe, to use the sea’s thermal energy to supply linked buildings in the city of Marseille with power for heating and cooling. The plant covers some 500,000 m² while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% and water consumption by 65%.

Marine geothermal energy makes use of the difference in temperature between warmer surface water and the cold water found at greater depths. Water is pumped from the sea through 1 km-long pipelines to coastal facilities, where heat exchangers and heat pumps are used to meet heating or cooling needs. The heated or cooled water is then pumped to individual buildings.



A 3 km grid will provide energy to the buildings during the construction and renovation of the zone, spanning from the CMA-CGM Tower to Marseille Cathedral. Currently, the connected buildings are the Docks (Constructa), the Calypso and the Hermione (Euromedcenter), and the Golden Tulip. The Constructa towers will soon be connected: the Marseillaise, the Floreal (Euromedcenter), Castel, and the Parc Habité d’Arenc, whose main client will be Nexity.

ENGIE’s innovative solution has been made possible thanks to the expertise of its subsidiaries, ENGIE Cofely as regards thermal aspects, and Climespace for district cooling networks. Every technical element of the power station has been created by the company’s teams; Ineo and Cofely handled electricity, Axima and Cofely covered internal networks, with Axima also providing half of the refrigeration units.

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Exergy continues its growth in the Turkish market. The Italian company, market specialist in the design and manufacturing of Organic Rankine Cycle systems, known for its pioneering Radial Outflow Turbine technology, has signed a new contract with repeat customer Bestepeler Enerji Üretim Ticaret A.s for the supply of a 24 MWe geothermal ORC power plant for a geothermal field located in Aydin region – Germencik area.

Exergy will provide the client with a two pressure level ORC system equipped with 2x Radial Outflow Turbines, one for each pressure level, to produce totally 24 MWe of electricity from a medium enthalpy geothermal fluid. These large turbines continue to show the suitability of the Radial Outflow configuration in all sizes. The ORC cycle will employ an air cooled condensing system, thus avoiding the use of water.

Equipment for the ORC unit will be manufactured in the Exergy Turkish workshop in Izmir, allowing the client to take advantage of an increased feed-in-tariff that the Turkish Ministry assigns to Made in Turkey technologies. The factory, which has been open for 2 years, has already produced 20 turbines suitable for the increased feed-in-tariff. The signing of this new contract raises the EXERGY portfolio to 360 MWe, with 336 MWe representing geothermal applications.

Geothermal energy needs specific standards for its definitive deployment in Spain. This is one of the conclusions of the seminar on “New advances in shallow geothermal energy” organised as part of GENERA 2016 by the Illustrious Official College of Geologists (ICOG) and the Association of Renewable Energy Companies (APPA).

According to geologist Albert Pujadas, technical director at Quali Geotermia, “the regulatory framework is a vital element for the deployment of quality geothermal energy in Spain”. However, the sector is currently facing a range of problems relating to legislation. “Regulations are confusing, disorganised, slow to implement with each Autonomous Community having its own criteria” complains Pujadas. This is why we need to have “a specific, more unified and simpler set of regulations” adds the geologist.

One of the fundamental aspects of shallow geothermal installations is to guarantee the availability of the resource. For this, Benito Rivera, head of Geothermals at the College of Geologists, recommends the Geothermal Protection Perimeter. This perimeter would “regulate the resource and avoid its over-exploitation”, he points out. Along these lines, he advocates geological and hydrogeological probes that establish collection models that can be integrated into the installation. “These allow for efficient location, guaranteeing the resource and earning client confidence”, explains the expert.

Manuel Regueiro, president of the ICOG, recalled that “knowledge of the terrain can achieve better returns from geothermal installations”. The College has proposed that the political parties help stimulate geothermal energy in Spain as part of the review of the basic documentation contained in the Technical Building Code (CTE) to introduce geothermals into the construction and refurbishment of buildings. Similarly it has proposed a white paper on Low Enthalpy Geothermals to promote proper legislation and financial aid to develop geothermal energy in buildings.

In this regard, José María González, director general of APPA, has supported extending the debate on renewables “so that it goes beyond its use for electricity to include thermal energy”, in which geothermals play a prominent role. González recalled that in Spain “80% of the energy we use comes from abroad” pointing out that “we spend 40 billion euros importing energy from overseas… with more than 50% of all the energy we consume still originating from petroleum”. According to the director general of APPA, the geothermal sector contributes €30m to the Spanish economy however only plays a modest role in the energy mix.

A coalition of 38 countries and over 20 development and industry partners have joined forces to increase the share of geothermal energy in the global energy mix. Launched at a high-level event at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), the Global Geothermal Alliance, an initiative facilitated by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) aspires to achieve a 500 per cent increase in global installed capacity for geothermal power generation and a 200 per cent increase in geothermal heating by 2030.

“Geothermal has proven its potential to be part of both the global climate and energy action agenda,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “While geothermal can provide baseload power at some of the lowest costs for any power source, it remains under-developed. The Global Geothermal Alliance will provide a platform for partners to share best practices, further reduce costs and get the most benefit out of this sustainable energy resource.”

Nearly 90 countries have potential for geothermal energy resource development; however, just 13 gigawatts of installed capacity exists worldwide.

A proven technology, the main obstacle for geothermal power investment and development has historically been the high upfront costs of surface geophysical studies and drilling to explore for geothermal resources. But once a geothermal project is in operation, it can generate electricity at a low cost. The Alliance will aim to overcome these barriers by mitigating risks, promoting technological cooperation, coordinating regional and national initiatives and facilitating geothermal energy investments into energy markets.

In two years of preliminary consultations, the GGA has gathered substantial support from governments, leading industry players, development partners, regional and national institutions and non-governmental organisations. The initiative was initiated in September 2014 at the Climate Summit organized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

From left to right: Minister Ségolène Royal, France; President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Iceland; Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA

Turboden, a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), leader in Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbogenerators for distributed power generation employing renewable sources and waste heat, announces the successful operation of an innovative 6 MW (gross) geothermal power plant in Japan.

The plant has been built in cooperation with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the largest geothermal power generation developer in Japan.

The plant, commissioned in June 2015, is the first Turboden plant in Japan, fed by a two-phase geothermal resource at ca. 140°C. In particular, after the separation, the steam phase condenses in the evaporator, while the preheater receives only a liquid phase.

For this project, Turboden supplied its highly efficient ORC turbine and process engineering along with commissioning and start-up of the plant.

Along this growth in the Asian market, Turboden has recently been selected to supply a 50 MW (gross) geothermal plant in the Philippines.

Last September Turboden, in consortium with the Spanish Company TSK, has been awarded the turnkey construction of the 50 MWe geothermal power plant in Oriental Mindoro: four ORC turbogenerators will deliver electric energy to the local Electric Cooperatives, ORMECO and OMECO.

Emerging Power Inc (EPi) is the first private investor in Renewable Energy in The Philippines, aiming at a total installation of 300 MW portfolio in the next three years. The listed miner Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) is the major shareholder of EPi. The plan provides for full completion of the 50 MW capacity, before the end of 2017, which consists of different project phases.

Turboden turbogenerators will be installed at two different well pads where geothermal source is separated into steam and brine before feeding the ORCs. Turboden has tailored optimized machines according to the characteristics of the geothermal source, of the ambient condition and of the environment.

The organic fluid expands into a multistage axial turbine, a proprietary technology of Turboden, in order to produce mechanical power and then electricity through the alternator. The organic fluid was selected to maximize the efficiency.

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Exergy has signed a contract with EDA Renováveis for the construction of a 4 MW geothermal binary plant in the Azores, Portugal. The plant will be built on Terceira island in an area called Chambre-Pico Alto. The plant is planned to be fully operational by the beginning of 2017.

The scope of the contract is to realize a turnkey solution for the construction of the Pico Alto geothermal power plant utilizing the geothermal resource available from the existing wells in the most efficient way. The design and manufacturing of the ORC plant and the engineering, procurement and construction phases will be carried out by Exergy together with CME, a well-established international EPC company with headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal.

The resource is at high enthalpy and both vapor and liquid phases are exploited after separation. The use of the binary technology has been preferred to the traditional flash power plants due to its better fitting to the environmental constraints and its higher capacity of adapting to the variation in resource flow rate and pressure.

The plant will exploit the resource by means of an efficient cycle design that utilizes the heat available either in the geothermal brine and steam flows in its heat exchangers. No extra water will be used thanks to the direct air cooling of the working fluid. The highest possible conversion efficiency will be reached thanks to the Radial Outflow Turbine specifically designed for EDA Renováveis by Exergy’s engineers.

A groundbreaking ceremony for Pico Alto project was held on Terceira on 22nd October, organized by EDA Renováveis and chaired by the Regional Secretary of Tourism Mr. Vítor Ângelo de Fraga and the Chairman of EDA Renováveis Prof. Duarte José Botelho da Ponte. Taking part in the ceremony, EXERGY’s CEO Claudio Spadacini.