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Fires raging in California damage facilities at geothermal plants at the Geysers

Geothermal plant at the Geysers, California/ U.S. (source: ThinkGeoEnergy, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 15 Sep 2015

Fires raging in California have effected geothermal power operations of Calpine at its plants at the Geysers. The company had to evacuate staff and has damaged five cooling towers and some power lines and communications. So far the plants continue though to operate at two-thirds of their capacity.

As reported in dramatic news coverage from California yesterday, the wild fires raging on have also affected the Geysers geothermal field in Sonoma County and Lake County.

The area which is host to 14 geothermal plants, has seen some serious fires. It is now reported that five cooling towers have burned at Calpine’s Geysers geothermal power generation facility.

As the LA Times reports, the geothermal facility “continues to produce electricity at more than two-thirds of its full capacity, said Brett Kerr, a spokesman for the plant’s operator, Houston-based Calpine.

In addition to the five cooling towers, the facility has sustained damage to some power lines and communications. But the powerhouses themselves have not been damaged by the fires, Kerr said. At 725 megawatts of power, the Geysers provides more than 10% of Calpine’s electricity generation in California and employs about 300 workers and 150 contractors.”

A spokesperson for California Independent System Operator, which manages California’s electric grid, said that the damage to the Geysers geothermal power facilities don’t have an effect on the reliability of electric supply in California.

Source: LA Times, SF Gate