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LA Times sees geothermal on the verge of revival in California

Hudson Ranch I geothermal power plant, January 2012, Salton Sea, California/ U.S. (source: EnergySource)
Alexander Richter 28 Jan 2020

With two new geothermal projects kicking off with PPAs signed and 100% renewable energy goals set, California could see a revival of geothermal power project development, so the LA Times.

In an article published last week, Sammy Roth of the LA Times writes about why “geothermal energy is poised to start growing again in California.”

The recent news on power purchase agreements signed for geothermal power projects, from a new Ormat plant and a new plant in the Salton Sea, are for the first new plants built in California in nearly a decade so the article.

Describing it as a turning point for geothermal, this is seen as a sign for the critical role geothermal could play in the drive of California towards cleaner energy sources.

With a target of 100% renewable energy fuelled electricity generation in the state by 2045, the pressure is on the energy providers to find and source renewable energy.

So while geothermal is seemingly a more costly option than solar and wind, the value proposition runs deeper. So while legislators have rejected plans on requiring more geothermal power previously, they now seem to consider doubling geothermal capacity by 2030.

With its potential, geothermal energy can live up to those expectations with an expansion beyond traditional high-temperature geothermal resources, tapping also deeper, lower-temperature resources.

One of the key elements mentioned is the 24 hour availability at no emissions and industry representatives, such as Paul Thomsen from Ormat and Tim Latimer of Fervo Energy make a valid case for geothermal. And with that utilities are still paying premiums for PPAs with geothermal facilities.

The PPA prices mentioned are a $0.074/ kWh for the Hell’s Kitchen plant to be built by Controlled Geothermal Resources and $0.068/ kWh for the Casa Diablo IV project by Ormat, these according t the utilities involved.

So while small, so the article, these new contracts are seen as a start.

Source: LA Times