Calpine receiving grant to Study Flexibility Enhancements at The Geysers

Calpine receiving grant to Study Flexibility Enhancements at The Geysers Geothermal plant at the Geysers, California/ U.S. (source: ThinkGeoEnergy, creative commons)
Francisco Rojas 1 Oct 2014

Calpine will receive a $3 million USD grant for Advancing Utility-Scale Clean Energy by California Energy Commission to Study Flexibility Enhancements at The Geysers geothermal area.

In a recently released press release, Calpine Corporation, on behalf of its subsidiary Geysers Power Company LLC (The Geysers), announced today that it has been selected by the California Energy Commission (CEC) to receive a $3 million grant for “Advancing Utility-Scale Clean Energy.” Calpine will match the grant award, which will fund a study to investigate how generation at The Geysers may be modified to enhance flexibility and address the greater demands imposed on the grid by intermittent renewables.

“The Geysers is a true treasure of California,” said Joseph Ronan, Senior Advisor of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Calpine. “In continual operation for over 50 years, this keystone resource will continue to play a major role in helping California meet its renewable energy and climate objectives for years to come.”

The Geysers is the world’s largest geothermal resource developed for electric generation and produces approximately 6 million megawatt hours of reliable, low-carbon energy annually accounting for more than 15% of the delivered renewable energy in California.

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) also offered support of the project in a letter submitted with the proposal. “As the integration of renewable resources progresses, it will be increasingly common to experience periods in which it is difficult for the electric power system to accommodate all available renewable generation. Consequently, it will become increasingly valuable to be able to shift the output of renewable resources, such as The Geysers, through enhanced modeling and/or additional investment in controls and associated equipment,” said Mark Rothleder, Vice President of Market Quality and Renewable Integration at CAISO.

“While The Geysers currently offers a considerable amount of flexibility and shaping to the system, we have been analyzing new ways to operate our facility with even greater responsiveness to changing demand. This grant will enhance our ability to support the reliability needs of the system from this renewable and low-carbon resource,” said Jim Kluesener, Calpine’s Vice President of Geothermal Operations. “We are appreciative of the support from the CEC and other California energy stakeholders in considering the role of The Geysers in meeting the challenges associated with integrating other renewable technologies into the grid.”

The CEC solicited grant proposals to help “fund applied research and development projects that develop emerging utility scale renewable energy generation technologies and strategies to improve power plant performance, reduce costs, and expand the resource base.” The funding is contingent upon approval at a public business meeting of the CEC in November and execution of a grant agreement. The solicitation comes from funds awarded by the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, an electricity ratepayer surcharge established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in December 2011. The EPIC funds clean energy technology projects that promote greater electricity reliability, lower costs and increased safety.

Source: Press Release by Calpine via Business Wire