Performance testing at San Emidio geothermal plant ongoing

The San Emidio geothermal power station is undergoing performance testing in anticipation of its full commissioning.

U.S. Geothermal Inc. said that its engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor has started performance testing on the new 8.6 net MW San Emidio power plant. Performance testing includes guaranteed output, capacity, reliability and continuous operation tests that the plant must pass to achieve both commercial operation under the power purchase agreement (PPA) and substantial completion under the EPC contract.

The plant has undergone component commissioning during the past three weeks and has operated at generation levels of up to 9 MW net (12 MW gross). During commissioning and performance testing, all power generated is sold under the PPA at a rate of $50 per MWh until commercial operation is achieved. Upon acceptance of commercial operation by NV Energy, the power rate will increase to $89.75 per MW-hour with a 1% annual escalator.

The San Emidio geothermal project is comprised of approximately 22,944 acres of private and federal Bureau of Land Management administered land that contains a proven geothermal reservoir that is estimated to be capable of producing up to 44 MW of power at a 90% probability.

Other activities at US Geothermal include the Neal Hot Springs project, which currently consists of 9.6 square miles of geothermal energy and leased surface rights. The property is located in eastern Oregon; approximately 90 miles northwest of Boise. A new 23 MW net binary cycle power plant is under construction starting in April 2011. A 25 year term PPA has been executed with Idaho Power Company to purchase the full output from the power plant at a levelized price of $117.65 per MWh.