Sonoma utility deliberates pilot testing of frontier geothermal technologies

Sonoma utility deliberates pilot testing of frontier geothermal technologies Map of Geothermal Opportunity Zone, GeoZone (source: Sonoma Clean Power RFI)
Carlo Cariaga 27 Feb 2023

Sonoma Clean Power is set to to decide on cooperation agreements that may involve pilot projects showcasing new and innovative geothermal technologies in California.

Sonoma Clean Power (SCP), the public power provider for the Sonoma and Mendocino counties in California, U.S., is currently considering cooperation agreements with Eavor Technologies, Chevron New Energies, and Cyrq Energy. Each of these three companies is developing innovative technologies that will accelerate geothermal utilization and energy storage.

The Community Advisory Committee of SCP recommended board approval of the agreements on 16 February. The board of the SCP is then set to decide on the agreements by 2 March. Each of proposed agreements will call for the building of a demonstration power project with an initial 20-MW capacity that can be scaled up to 200 MW.

In 2021, the SCP solicited for the interest of partners to accelerate the development of incremental geothermal resources in a Geothermal Opportunity Zone (GeoZone). SCP’s objective for the GeoZone is to adequately address the environmental, transmission, permitting, water and public education needed to enable 500 MW of incremental geothermal development in the region. The key requirements for potential partner projects were scalability, a small surface footprint, and minimal water coming in or going out.

Both Eavor and Chevron proposed closed-loop technologies while Cyrq proposed an integrated solar and geothermal facility.

If the cooperative agreements are approved by the SCP board, the agency will be holding the first stakeholder meeting by June 2023. The SCP is also in negotiations for a grant from the Department of Energy to help reduce the cost of the pilot projects that will be paid for by customers. The grant sought ranges from USD 4 million to 50 million, but SCP CEO Geof Syphers believes that the projects could end up with funding in the middle of this range.

Source: North Bay Business Journal