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U.S. Geothermal Prepares to Build a 10-Megawatt Plant in Idaho

May 3, 2006

U.S. Geothermal, Inc. told its contractor on April 27th to proceed with the engineering, procurement, and construction of a 10-megawatt geothermal power plant in central Idaho, the first geothermal power plant in the state. The Raft River Geothermal Project will be located about 10 miles north of the Utah border and will sell its power to the Idaho Power Company. Ormat Nevada, Inc. is supplying the power plant, which will use the geothermal heat to vaporize an organic fluid. The organic vapor will spin a turbine that drives a generator to make electricity, and then the vapor will be condensed and reused, in what is called a binary cycle power plant. U.S. Geothermal is currently negotiating long-term financing for the plant and expects to have it in place by June 1st. The company plans to begin operating the power plant in mid to late 2007 and is also preparing plans for a second 20-megawatt plant at the site. See the press release (PDF 39 KB) and the project description on the U.S. Geothermal Web site. Download Adobe Reader.

Ormat Nevada is also supplying a 10-megawatt power plant as an add-on to an existing 23-megawatt geothermal plant in central Utah. The Blundell geothermal plant, owned by PacifiCorp Energy, uses "single-flash" technology, in which the hot, pressurized geothermal fluid is piped into a tank where much of it instantaneously boils, or "flashes," into steam, while the rest of it forms a hot brine. The new Ormat power plant will use the hot brine to generate more power before pumping it back into the underground geothermal reservoir. See the press releases from PacifiCorp and Ormat.

Ormat has been busy lately, as it also supplied a binary cycle power plant for a one-megawatt solar trough project in Arizona that was dedicated in April. In addition, the company has been applying its technology to recover heat from gas turbines at natural gas compressor stations. As of January, the company had 27 megawatts of such "Recovered Energy Generation Systems" under construction. See the Ormat press releases on the solar plant and recovered energy systems.

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Content Last Updated: 02/03/2006