This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
Calpine to Boost Geysers Geothermal Production by 80 Megawatts
Calpine Corporation launched a five-year effort on May 31st that aims to increase geothermal power production at The Geysers by up to 80 megawatts. Located about 100 miles north of San Francisco, California, The Geysers is the oldest source of geothermal power in the United States and the country's largest geothermal power complex. Its rare high-temperature geothermal fields produce steam rather than hot water, allowing Calpine to generate power using relatively simple power plants that mate a steam turbine to a generator. Calpine owns 19 of the 21 power plants at The Geysers, and together its plants produce 725 megawatts of geothermal power.
The new project includes a two-year drilling effort to expand steam production at The Geysers. Calpine will also rebuild eight older geothermal turbines to make them more energy efficient. Calpine anticipates spending $200 million to initiate the refurbishment and exploration phase of the program and will consider further development at The Geysers if the company is able to enter into long-term power sales contracts. Calpine entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 2005 and is currently restructuring its debt. While Calpine is the leading power producer at The Geysers, Western GeoPower Corporation is also developing a 22.5-megawatt power plant at The Geysers, and in May the company signed a power purchase agreement with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). See the Calpine and PG&E press releases and the Western GeoPower Web site.
Efforts are also underway to develop new geothermal resources in Nevada. In late May, Ormat signed a power purchase agreement with Nevada Power Company for the sale of energy produced at the Grass Valley Geothermal Power Plant. To be located in Lander County in northern Nevada, the plant is expected to produce 18 to 30 megawatts of power when it comes online in late 2010. Meanwhile, Raser Technologies, Inc. has been awarded a project area permit by the State of Nevada, allowing the company to begin drilling for geothermal hot water at its leased properties in Nevada. The company has signed an agreement with UTC Power to provide up to 135 small geothermal power systems for use in three power plants, each of which will produce about 30 megawatts of power. UTC Power's PureCycle geothermal system was first installed at Chena Hot Springs Resort in Alaska last year as a DOE demonstration project. See the Ormat press release and the Raser Technologies press releases on its project permit and its agreement with UTC Power.