U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Geothermal Technologies Office
Geothermal Power Plants Planned for Idaho, Oregon, and California
August 2, 2006
A renaissance in geothermal power production is well underway, as new
geothermal power plants are proposed or under construction in both new
and old locations. U.S. Geothermal Inc. broke ground on July 29th on a
13-megawatt (MW) geothermal power plant in Raft River, Idaho. The site
is both a new and old geothermal location: it will be the first
commercial geothermal plant in Idaho, but it's also the site of a DOE
geothermal test facility that operated between 1974 and 1982. See the
U.S. Geothermal press release (PDF 39 KB).
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Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. is also planning to push into new
territory with plans to build the first geothermal power plant in
Oregon. A recent review of the geothermal resource at the company's
Crump Geyser Geothermal Project in south-central Oregon set the
minimum capacity for power production at 40 MW and found it likely
that the site can produce 60 MW of power. Based on the results, the
company intends to press ahead with exploratory drilling into the
geothermal reservoir. Northwest Geothermal Company has also set its
sights on Oregon. The company, a joint venture of Davenport Power LLC
and Vulcan Power Company, aims to develop a 120-MW power plant on the
western flank of Newberry Volcano, 25 miles south of Bend, Oregon.
On July 28th, the company signed a contract to provide geothermal power
to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). See the press releases
from Nevada Geothermal Power, Davenport Power, and PG&E.
The Geysers in northern California could again support a geothermal power plant.
PG&E has also signed a contract for geothermal power in the more
traditional stomping grounds of southern California. Iceland America
Energy (IAE) plans to build a 50-MW plant near the Salton Sea in
California's Imperial Valley. Meanwhile, a Canadian company plans to
bring geothermal development back to California's oldest geothermal
site, The Geysers in northern California. Western GeoPower Corp. has
acquired a lease for a section of the geothermal area where PG&E
formerly operated a 62-MW plant. Steam pressure declined at the plant
in the 1980s, and the plant was shut down in 1989 and eventually
dismantled. But thanks to a project to inject water into the steam
field, Western GeoPower believes the site could now support a new
30-MW power plant. See the IAE Web site and the Western GeoPower press release.