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Californian $1.5m grant to help evaluate potential 50MW power development

Wilbur Hot Springs, California (source: flickr/ dwhartwig, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 6 Jul 2011

A California Energy Commission US$1.5m grant for Renovitas LLC will help the company to conduct a two-phase project at Wilbur Hot Springs in California to determine if there is sufficient geothermal potential for a 50 MW power plant project.

Renovitas, LLC “has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the state to conduct a two-phase project at Wilbur Hot Springs in western Colusa County to determine if there is sufficient geothermal potential to support the development of a 50-megawatt power plant, state officials said Tuesday.

The California Energy Commission gave out $5.5 million in grants for four geothermal projects in an effort to meet the state’s 33 percent renewable energy goals.

Funds for the projects come from the Energy Commission’s Geothermal Resources Development Account Program.

“Currently, geothermal produces more than 6 percent of California in-state electricity production with the potential for more,” Energy Commission Vice Chair James Boyd said in a statement. “These projects will further develop California’s geothermal resources and help advance California’s clean energy goals.”

The company will have to provide a $2.2 million match to the project, Boyd said.

The first phase involves administrative activities, pre-drilling geology work, geophysical programs and gathering subsurface information to better determine the resource potential and locations for drilling temperature gradient and exploratory wells.

The second phase involves the drilling of three to four temperature gradient wells and two slim-hole exploratory wells.

Commission staff will request approval for the second phase at a future business meeting after Renovitas has made reasonable progress in securing a California Environmental Quality Act permit from the appropriate lead regulatory agency, state officials said.

In neighboring Lake County, Layman Energy Associates, Inc. of San Luis Obispo received $2.4 million to drill and test a new exploratory well to confirm the presence of a commercially productive, liquid-dominated hydrothermal resource near the southeast margin of The Geysers.

Source: Colusa Sun Herald