By utilizing Web-based technology, organizations involved in geothermal energy can realize significant cost-savings, in a paperless environment, through efficiencies in critical aspects of projects.

Technology to Aid Geothermal Industry Growth

Dan Liggett | geoAMPS

It has been a banner year for geothermal energy. At the dawn of 2014, it appears the industry can expect further growth.

In November 2013, 100 percent of all new electricity capacity originated from clean, renewable sources, including wind, solar, hydropower and bioenergy. Geothermal energy also contributed to this new capacity.

Geothermal energy – which is, just as the word suggests, heat from the Earth – is assuming an increasingly important role in meeting energy needs worldwide. In fact, mankind has used geothermal as a source of power for centuries.

The geothermal industry grew substantially in 2013, and is projecting continued growth through the remainder of the decade. Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), reports there have been technological developments aiding geothermal development and new projects announced in every region of the world.

In 2013, the industry surpassed 12,000 megawatts (MW) of operating geothermal power, with approximately 600 MW of new geothermal power coming online globally. New geothermal power has come online in Kenya, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Turkey and Mexico, and in the United States in Oregon, Nevada and Utah. Additional projects in development stages will increase geothermal capacity by about 30,000 MW.

The GEA reports there are 70 countries advancing nearly 700 geothermal projects. The geothermal power industry should put 500 to 1,000 MW online each year for the next decade. There have been new geothermal geologic studies or exploration projects in the United States and several other countries.

All of this is exciting news for an industry that only six years ago had 46 countries developing or considering geothermal projects.

GEA President Craig Mataczynski of Gradient Resources, has challenged the industry to provide 5 percent of total U.S. electricity production. Geothermal resources, already entered into the National Geothermal Data System, are more than enough to reach that goal.

What is needed now, the GEA acknowledges, are advancements in geothermal resources technology and power system technology.

geoAMPS, a technology company located in the Columbus, OH, area, applauds the GEA’s challenge and has joined the effort of meeting that goal by providing software solutions that increase the efficiency of completing and operating geothermal projects through development, construction and ongoing operational stages.

“At geoAMPS, we believe that 5 percent of electricity production through geothermal is achievable,” Yogesh Khandelwal, President and Chief Executive Officer of geoAMPS, said. “In fact, by utilizing technological advances, there is every reason to believe that an even greater percentage of electricity production can be provided through this clean and renewable source of energy.”

Advances in technology have spurred the development of wind, solar, biomass and other sources of clean, renewable energy. Yogesh said there is every reason to believe that the same can happen for the geothermal industry.

“The future is exciting for the geothermal industry, and all of us at geoAMPS are excited to be a part of it,” he said.

Web-based software, operating through a central database, automates many tasks through each stage of construction and operation of geothermal energy projects. The software helps to ensure that geothermal projects are completed on schedule and within budget. That, in turn, provides incentives for completion of even more geothermal projects.

By utilizing this technology, organizations involved in geothermal energy can realize significant cost-savings, in a paperless environment, through efficiencies in critical aspects of projects.

Web-based software streamlines the process of acquiring land and right-of-way necessary to complete a project. Organizations can easily update tract and ownership information, as well as the progress of negotiations, construction, etc. Once agreements have been reached, the software automates much of the complex and time-consuming process of tracking and issuing ongoing payments to property owners, tax officials or other entities. Such timesaving tools have simplified what has been a significant pain point for organizations in the renewable energy industry.

Another benefit of the software is that it can integrate with a geothermal organization’s financial and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems for seamless transfer of data between all systems. This can further increase the audit controls and efficiencies within the organization’s processes. SCADA is important to any geothermal project, as its purpose is to monitor, control and alarm plant or regional operating systems from a central location.

An effective web-based software is a powerful tool that aids the ongoing maintenance of a geothermal project.

altAMPS is one of a suite of Web-based software products provided by geoAMPS. The software comes with a Forms Builder module. This module assists the organization with inspections of the infrastructure on a regular schedule. Inspection reports are maintained in the central database, providing an up-to-date record that ensures inspections are completed, and not repeated unnecessarily. The software also triggers automated notifications of when an inspection is needed or has been scheduled, as well as the specific area of the project or section of equipment that needs addressed.

altAMPS is software specially developed to meet the needs of the alternative energy industry.

2013 was an exciting year for the geothermal industry. Yet, the industry has positioned itself for even greater growth in the immediate future. Technology developments will help make the geothermal industry’s continued growth a reality.

 

 

Dan Liggett is Communications and Public Relations Manager for geoAMPS, a technology company in the Columbus, OH, area that specializes in software solutions to manage land rights and infrastructure assets. For more information, call 614-389-4871 or visit www.geoamps.com.

 

 

 

 


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