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Northern Marianas plan second attempt on geothermal RFP

Saipan, Northern Marianas (source: flickr/ ctsnow, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 3 Jan 2014

Funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is now issuing a new request for proposals for geothermal exploration.

It seems now that the Northern Mariana Islands are now taking a second attempt on geothermal exploration. In 2013, an RFP ended in a legal confrontation between the winner of the RFP Australian KUTh Energy and the island administration, as reported by ThinkGeoEnergy.

As announced yesterday, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. of the Northern Marianas, is now planning to issue two request for proposals to help the islands move toward renewable energy.

These two proposals are for geothermal exploration and for the integrated resource planning, which will focus on developing new energy sources for the Commonwealth. These comes after the recent release of the results of the “Renewable Energy Integration Study,” which identified the type of alternative energy sources that can be reliably integrated into the Saipan electrical grid. This according to CUC executive director Alan Fletcher.

He said the geothermal project and the integrated resource plan and energy supply analysis will be funded by grants CUC received from the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (in the U.S.).

“Available information suggests that the geothermal gradient beneath Saipan may be sufficiently steep to provide geothermal energy to generate electricity. To address this potential, CUC is soliciting proposals from qualified firms to collect and evaluate scientific data to better determine the potential for development of geothermal energy on Saipan,” according to Fletcher.

He said the technical complexity of this project and the need to collect and evaluate extensive data will require the successful proposer to provide expertise in various professional disciplines, conduct exploratory drilling, and provide equipment and materials necessary to complete the work.

The “Integrated Resource Plan” or IRP will help to create a “roadmap” for developing new energy supplies in CNMI. Generally, Fletcher said, the IRP will develop strategies of how the CNMI can reduce fossil fuel dependency, while providing reliable generation and distribution at the least cost possible for consumers.”

One can only hope that this will now see geothermal seeing a real evaluation and potential development.

Source: Saipan Tribune