U.S. Geothermal touts Cal-ISO interconnection for 30 MW project

U.S. Geothermal subsidiary Western GeoPower (WGP) received a fully executed large generator interconnection agreement (LGIA) with the California ISO (Cal-ISO) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for the planned WGP Geysers project in northern California, U.S. Geothermal said March 8.

The WGP Geysers project is one of four projects under development by U.S. Geothermal. Testing at the project site has determined that a steam source capable of supporting a 30 MW power plant exists on that property.

The company said that PG&E is responsible for the design, engineering and construction of the planned interconnection facilities, which are part of the development plan for the WGP Geysers project that is currently scheduled to begin power sales by mid-2018.

U.S. Geothermal said it is having discussions with several interested parties with respect to a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) for the project, and that once a PPA is obtained, the company will pursue funding for construction of the project.

In addition to the grid connection facilities covered in the LGIA, a 1.7-mile, 115-kV transmission line will be required for the WGP Geysers project, the company said.

The LGIA is the most critical document in the overall process of interconnecting the planned power plant to the PG&E transmission system, and it provides for up to 35 MW of transmission capacity, U.S. Geothermal said. The LGIA also allows for a commercial operation date as early as June 1, 2018.

An engineering study completed by the Cal-ISO estimated the construction cost for the interconnection facilities would be $1.9m.

The LGIA “allows us to gain access to the transmission grid and means that we can now offer a firm delivery date in our PPA negotiations,” Dennis Gilles, CEO of U.S. Geothermal, said in a statement.

A $1m deposit for financial security in connection with the LGIA was made Feb. 5, 2016, the company said.

The planned WGP Geysers project is in Sonoma County, about 90 miles north of San Francisco. The site is within the broader Geysers geothermal field in the region, U.S. Geothermal has noted.

The WGP Geysers project qualifies for a federal 30% investment tax credit, U.S. Geothermal said.

Earlier this year, in an update on activities, U.S. Geothermal said besides the 45 MW of projects it has operating, the four projects under development total about 68 MW. Besides the WGP Geysers project, the others under development are a second phase of the San Emidio project in Nevada (10 MW), the El Ceibillo project in Guatemala (25 MW) and the Neal Hot Springs project in Oregon (3+MW).

U.S. Geothermal on March 8 said that its growth strategy is to reach 200 MW of generation by 2020 through a combination of internal development and strategic acquisitions.