U.S. Geothermal reports Q42013 progress on various fronts

U.S. Geothermal (TSX: GTH)(NYSE MKT: HTM) said Jan. 13 that it made progress on several projects in the fourth quarter of 2013, including the Neal Hot Springs project in Oregon.

At Neal Hot Springs, all three units have been and are operating smoothly, with fourth quarter availability of 94.7%. December generation averaged 27.7 net megawatts per hour for all hours the plant was in service.

Total generation for the fourth quarter at Neal Hot Springs was 53,550 megawatt-hours, which is a result of excellent availability and low seasonal temperatures. This compares to 25,836 megawatt-hours for the third quarter, 30,015 for the second quarter, and 46,159 for the first quarter.

Under the terms of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), November and December generation for 2013 was paid at a seasonally adjusted price of $118.80 per megawatt-hour, which is 120% of the 2013 average contract price, while October was paid at the average 2013 contract price of $99.00. For 2014, the average contract price will increase from $99.00 to $102.78 per megawatt-hour.

As for other projects:

  • San Emidio, Nevada – The plant performance was exceptional, with fourth quarter availability of 98.3%, the company said. December generation averaged 9.96 net megawatts per hour for all hours the unit was in service. Total generation for the fourth quarter was 21,103 megawatt hours. This compares to 18,318 megawatt-hours for the third quarter, 18,039 for the second quarter, and 19,157 for the first quarter. Under the terms of the project’s PPA, generation during the quarter was paid at the price of $90.27 per megawatt-hour. There is no seasonal adjustment under this power purchase agreement. For 2014, the contract price will increase from $90.27 to $91.17 per megawatt-hour.
  • Raft River, Idaho – The plant performance was exceptional, with fourth quarter availability of 99.2%. December generation averaged 10.2 net megawatts per hour for all hours the plant was in service, the company said. Total generation for the fourth quarter was 21,742 megawatt-hours, as a result of excellent availability and low seasonal temperatures. This compares to 18,688 megawatt-hours for the third quarter, 17,247 for the second quarter, and 19,670 for the first quarter. Under the terms of the PPA, November and December generation for 2013 was paid at a seasonally adjusted price of $71.36 per megawatt-hour, which is 120% of the 2013 average contract price, while October was paid at the 2013 average contract price of $59.47. For 2014, the average contract price will increase from $59.47 to $60.72 per megawatt-hour. In addition to the price paid for energy, Raft River currently receives $4.75 per megawatt-hour under a separate contract for the sale of Renewable Energy Credits.

“Our operating team has done an outstanding job this past quarter, particularly considering the unseasonably cold weather that each of our plants experienced during November and December. Our units are all performing with high availabilities, and with output that is at or above what we had expected,” said Dennis Gilles, Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Geothermal. “As a result of this strong fourth quarter, we anticipate our year end to be well within the range of guidance provided earlier, and we look forward to excellent results for the coming year.”

In the project development category:

  • El Ceibillo, Guatemala – Evaluation and testing of well EC-1, which found a higher than anticipated resource temperature of 526°F (274°C), was completed. Based on the results of EC-1, a second round of drilling was planned, and on Jan. 9 drilling began on a series of eight to ten 650 foot (200 meter) gradient wells that will be used to further map the underlying geothermal resource and assist with identifying future drilling targets. This second round drilling program is expected to continue over the next three to four months.
  • San Emidio, Nevada – U.S. Geothermal has completed evaluation and testing of wells OW-12 and OW-10, and we have applied for and are waiting on the issuance of drilling permits from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) before drilling additional wells to further define the resource. Also, a detailed development schedule for the Phase II project was submitted to NV Energy, the power off-taker, and the company is awaiting NV Energy’s approval.

U.S. Geothermal is operating geothermal power projects at Neal Hot Springs, Oregon, San Emidio, Nevada, and Raft River, Idaho. The company is currently developing a second phase project at San Emidio, as well as El Ceibillo, an advanced stage, geothermal prospect located within a 24,710 acre energy rights concession area located 8.5 miles from Guatemala City, the largest city in Central America.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.