Ormat geothermal plant operating in Nevada

The McGinness Hills geothermal power plant is now operating in Lander County, Nev., Ormat Technologies, Inc. said in a July 26 news release.

The plant has met the requirements set out by its lenders to fully meet its covenants, after it started delivering power to the grid on June 15. The plant has been selling power to NV Energy (NYSE: NVE) under a 20-year power purchase agreement at approximately half of the full energy price. Full energy prices are expected to be paid upon NV Energy’s approval of the Commercial Operation Date (COD). With the addition of McGinness Hills, Ormat’s total portfolio generating capacity grows to 586 MW.

“We are thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with NV Energy as we expand our geothermal portfolio,” said Yoram Bronicki, president and CEO of Ormat. “Today’s announcement, coupled with the opening earlier this year of the 18 MW (net capacity) Tuscarora power plant, reinforces Ormat’s commitment to expanding the renewable energy market across the state of Nevada and throughout the world.”

Ormat said the McGinness Hills plant is a successful greenfield project categorized as a blind system. Blind geothermal systems are defined as having no surface hot springs or fumaroles, which it considers the future of geothermal’s growth in the West.

The power plant features the Ormat Energy Converter, a power generation unit that converts low-, medium- and high-temperature heat into electrical energy. With the McGinness Hills project, advance techniques were implemented that can provide over 10% improvement in brine use efficiency.

Not only does this help the state realize its RPS (renewable portfolio standard) goals, it promotes the use of renewables and delivers the benefits that come along with them, Bronicki said.

Earlier this year, NV Energy approved the commercial operation date for the Tuscarora geothermal power plant in Elko County, Nev. Following approval, the plant is receiving full energy prices and was also given retroactive payments associated with the January 11, 2012 commercial operation date.

Ormat calls itself the only vertically integrated company primarily engaged in the geothermal and recovered energy power business. The company designs, develops, owns and operates geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants. It also designs and manufactures geothermal energy power units.