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Vulcan Power to decide soon on Patua project in Nevada

Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 24 Jul 2009

Vulcan Power Co. "expects to make a decision within four to six weeks whether it's going to develop a power plant in Churchill County, Nevada.

Reported locally, Vulcan Power Co. “expects to make a decision within four to six weeks whether it’s going to develop a power plant in Churchill County, Nevada.

The company is testing the flow and temperature of the geothermal resource at its Patua property about 15 miles southeast of Fallon to determine if it’s sufficient to drive the turbines at a geothermal plant.

“The probability is greater than 50 percent that we will go ahead,” said Bob Warburton, acting chief executive officer of privately held Vulcan.

Warburton also is a director of Boston-based Denham Capital, which invested$145 million in Vulcan a year ago.

The project could bring new employment to the Fallon area as well as to Reno, where Vulcan operates an office to oversee its Nevada holdings. Construction of a power plant likely would employ about 200 people, Warburton said. Construction would require 12 to 16 months.

Construction of a 60-megawatt power plant would require an investment of about $200 million. Vulcan hasn’t disclosed the capacity of the plant that it’s considering at Churchill County.

Vulcan estimates that about 25 workers would be needed to staff the plant once it’s in operation. The company expects to hire many of those workers locally.

He said Vulcan also is looking to expand the staff of its Reno office, which currently employs four. The company has 23 workers in Fallon as it conducts drilling and other testing of the Patua property.

If the current tests of the geothermal reservoir are positive, Warburton said Vulcan is confident it can raise the money to build the plant even in today’s tight credit markets.

Electric transmission lines, a major headache for many geothermal projects,are within a few miles of the Patua property. Vulcan has kept NV Energy, a likely purchaser of power from the plant, informed about its progress at the site.

If Vulcan decides to go forward with a geothermal plant at Patua, the company expects to spend nine to 12 months to nail down financing and government permits before construction begins.

The Patua property is part of approximately 160,000 acres of geothermal leases that Vulcan holds on public and private lands in Northern Nevada.”

Source: Lahonton Valley News