News

CalEnergy remarkets power from geothermal facilities in California

CalEnergy Unit 5, Imperial Valley/ California (source: landmark-ca.com)
Alexander Richter 21 May 2013

MidAmerican Holdings and TransAlta form new entity to remarket 340 MW of geothermal electricity generation capacity from 10 geothermal plants in California.

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. and TransAlta Corp. have joined forces and founded CAlEnergy LLC, a new special purpose entity to remarket electricity from the 10 geothermal power plants that the companies own in the state of California, as announced in a statement before the weekend.

MidAmerican Geothermal, subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables (and essentially MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.) holds 50% in those 10 geothermal facilities in the Imperial Valley in California, with Canadian TransAlta owning the other 50%. The facilities: Vulcan, Del Ranch, Elmore, Leathers, CE Turbo, Salton Sea I – V have a combined capacity of 326 MW. The plants are operated by MidAmerican Geothermal.

The 340-megawatt contract capacity available for this remarketing initiative is one of the largest single geothermal remarketing exercises to be pursued in North America, which will extend the operating life of all 10 facilities in the Imperial Valley region of California for another 25 years.

“CalEnergy has developed an exciting strategy for marketing the output of these facilities,” said Bill Fehrman, president of MidAmerican Renewables, whose parent company is MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. “The formation of CalEnergy, LLC ensures our existing facilities in the Salton Sea field remain in our renewable energy portfolio for years to come.”

Over the next three to seven years, eight of 10 geothermal generating facilities operated by CalEnergy Operating Corporation in the Known Salton Sea Geothermal Resource Area field will reach their original design life of 30 years.

CalEnergy, LLC, which is in discussions with a number of California and Arizona-based utilities interested in contracting for the energy output of the facilities. The majority of the geothermal facilities have been in operation for more than 20 years and have been under long-term power purchase agreements since their initial construction.

New capital improvement plans will sustain the facilities for more than 25 years. A new contract structure has been adopted that will market the existing plants as a portfolio, or fleet of plants, rather than as individual plants. The recontracting effort and infusion of capital will help maintain operations that currently employ a staff of more than 200 and continue to provide the largest source of tax revenues for Imperial County, Calif.

Source: TransAlta news announcement