U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Geothermal Technologies Office
Construction Underway on First Geothermal Power Plant in New Mexico
September 10, 2008
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Raser Technologies, Inc.
announced in late August that construction has begun on the first
commercial geothermal power plant in New Mexico. Located near Animas in the southwest corner of the state,
the 10-megawatt (MW) Lightning Dock geothermal power plant will
produce power using modular "PureCycle" power units from UTC Power, a
subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation. First deployed at Chena
Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2006, the PureCycle
units use relatively low-temperature geothermal resources to vaporize
an organic fluid, using that vapor to spin a small generator to
produce power. According to Raser, 45 PureCycle units will be combined
to form the 10-MW plant. The modular, prefabricated system will allow
Raser to build the power plant in only 6 months and easily
accommodates Raser's plans to eventually expand the plant to 20-25 MW.
See the press releases from the governor (PDF 79 KB) and Raser, the technology
descriptions from Raser and UTC Power, and the article from this
newsletter on the Chena Hot Springs project. Download Adobe Reader.
Raser Technologies is currently building the 10-megawatt Thermo geothermal plant in Utah, using the same modular technologies that will be employed at its New Mexico facility. Enlarge this image.
Credit: Raser Technologies, Inc.
The PureCycle system's ability to produce power from low-temperature
resources (as low as 195°F, according to UTC Power)
also simplified project development for Raser, as the company is
drawing on a geothermal well that was drilled 20 years ago, but was
abandoned because the resource was not hot enough for the technology
available at that time. Armed with the UTC Power technology, Raser is charging
ahead with eight geothermal power projects, including three projects
in Nevada, three in Utah, one in Oregon, and the New Mexico project.
The company has made the most progress at its 10-MW Thermo geothermal
power plant near Beaver, Utah, where it began placing PureCycle units
in August. On September 3, the company announced that it had set its first
50 PureCycle units in place. Raser ordered 90 PureCycle units from UTC
Power in 2007, and in April 2008 it ordered another 110 units, which will
give the company the ability to build 40-45 MW of geothermal power
capacity at its various project locations. See Raser's project list
and its press releases on the Thermo geothermal power plant and its
PureCycle unit purchases.
Geothermal power plants are also under development in California and
Nevada. The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) approved two
geothermal power contracts in late July: San Diego Gas and Electric
Company (SDG&E) will buy 40 MW of power from a plant in California's
Imperial Valley that Esmeralda Energy Company plans to build by
December 2010, while Southern California Edison will buy 30-100 MW of
power from a plant that Ormat Technologies, Inc. plans to build near
Wister, California, by June 2012. Ormat builds and operates geothermal
power plants throughout the United States, and on September 4, the company
earned approval to begin building the 49.5-MW Faulkner 1 geothermal
power plant in Blue Mountain, Nevada. Nevada Geothermal Power Inc.
(NGP) developed the Blue Mountain project, which is located about
20 miles west of Winnemucca. When the facility is completed next year,
it will sell its power to the Nevada Power Company. See the press releases from the