Interview series: Ross Beaty, CEO of Magma Energy Corp.

Interview series: Ross Beaty, CEO of Magma Energy Corp. Ross Beaty, Magma Energy Corp. (source: Sigtryggur Ari/ DV)
Alexander Richter 20 Sep 2010

ThinkGeoEnergy interviews Ross Beaty, CEO of Magma Energy Corp. and hears about the current status of the company's developments internationally.

The GRC Annual Meeting and GEA Trade Show in Sacramento brings together geothermal leaders from North America and other parts of the world. So I am very pleased for the CEO of Magma Energy Corp, Ross Beaty giving ThinkGeoEnergy the opportunity to answer a few questions.

Ross Beaty is a geologist and resource company entrepreneur with a career of over 38 years in the international minerals industry. Mr. Beaty founded Magma Energy Corp to focus on international geothermal energy development. The company is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange with a current market capitalization of Can$346m (US$338m).

How would you describe your company and your key activities?
Magma Energy Corp is a geothermal power company with currently 186MW of geothermal power production. It operates, develops, explores and acquires geothermal energy projects. Magma also has an extensive portfolio of properties throughout the western United States, Iceland and Latin America. It operates a geothermal power plant in Nevada (Soda Lake) and two more in Iceland (Svartsengi and Reykjanes).

The company’s core mission is to become a leading pure-play geothermal power company. Magma Energy has an extensive project pipeline of 193 MW proved reserves, 171 MW indicated resources and 990 MW inferred resources, verified under the Canadian Geothermal Reporting Code.

What are your key projects in the United States and what is their development status and outlook?

Our company operates the Soda Lake geothermal power plant in Nevada, currently operating at 13.5 MW gross. We have drilled three new wells since our acquisition of the property in 2008, and are in the process of expanding the output to 23.1MW, which is the nameplate capacity of the 2 plants at the facility. The planned expansion is eligible for stimulus package funding (30% treasury grant) and is going to be online in the coming months.

We also started the 14 MW gross expansion as part of phase 2. The project can tap into a DOE award of US$5million for innovative exploration and drilling. This phase 2 will also include a new plant on site, which should be online before 2014 in order to qualify for stimulus funding.

Magma Energy furthermore has four properties with a great deal of prior information and exploration work, Thermo in Utah, Panther Canyon, McCoy and Desert Queen in Nevada. The McCoy property has a US$5million innovative exploration and drilling grant. We also expect to have 14 MW gross from one of these properties online before 2014 in order to qualify for stimulus funding. Another 36 MW gross are expected to go online in 2014, and additional 50 M” gross in 2015.
In total this would provide us with an additional 100 MW gross capacity from our properties in the United States, excluding our capacity at Soda Lake.

What do you consider the key obstacles and challenges for increased development in the U.S.?

The greatest challenges that we see in the U.S. are the permitting process, which clearly introduces delays to the development plan, and the continuing uncertainty around the extension of the Production Tax Credit (or comparable programs).

What do you think holds back speedier development of geothermal energy projects globally?

I think one of the main issue is the general lack of broad awareness of geothermal energy, its potential and the geothermal energy industry. It is promising though that countries with geothermal potential are in the process of implementing favorable policies.

What are your expectations for the event in Sacramento and who do you look forward meeting at your booth at the Trade Show?
We are proud to contribute two technical papers to the GRC conference, and will take advantage of the opportunity to schedule business development meetings with partners. The event is also an opportunity to come together as Magma Energy team members from all over the world will be attending.

We will be available to all of our stake holders at our booth and look forward to the informal networking which leads to transfer of information and technology.
We only host a booth twice per year, at the GEA Trade Show and at the CanGEA Annual Conference, and look very much forward to meeting all interested parties and stakeholders.