Last week, U.S. Geothermal Inc. and Enbridge Inc. hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the first commercial geothermal power plant to be built in the State of Oregon. The Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Plant located near Vale, Oregon, was developed by U.S. Geothermal. Canadian Enbridge is an equity partner in the venture.
FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and Douglas Schultz, Director of Origination for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO), along with other national, state, and county government officials, were on hand to participate in the event. Chairman Wellinghoff was previously a member of U.S. Geothermal’s Board of Directors prior to accepting his FERC commission, and was on the Board at the time development of the project was first undertaken. Mr. Schultz leads the LPO’s lending activities focused on innovative alternative energy projects in the United States including solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, clean fossil, nuclear, and the related transmission and extraction infrastructure.
The Neal Hot Springs Project was the first geothermal project to obtain a loan guarantee under the DOE’s Title XVII loan guarantee program, which was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to support the deployment of innovative clean energy technologies. The Neal Hot Springs deployed the first of its kind binary cycle process, utilizing a supercritical cycle that uses R134a refrigerant as the working fluid, an innovative air-cooled condenser, as well as pre-fabricated modular construction of major plant components.
“We are extremely pleased to be honored with such distinguished guests at our grand opening celebration for our Neal Hot Springs project. We are very excited to unveil not only U.S. Geothermal’s first power plant in Oregon, but also the first commercial geothermal power plant in the State,” said Mr. Dennis Gilles, Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Geothermal Inc. “The completion of this historic renewable energy plant marks an important step in expanding the contribution of geothermal energy in the United States to help meet our country’s effort to become more energy independent.”
“As an energy delivery company, Enbridge is proud of its growing list of renewable and alternative energy technology projects,” said Chuck Szmurlo, Vice President, Alternative and Emerging Technology, Enbridge Inc. ” Over the past few years we’ve invested more than three billion dollars in a variety of green power projects, creating a strong base of assets which now includes investments in 12 wind farms and four solar facilities with a capacity to generate over 1,700 MW of emissions free energy.”
“Geothermal energy is a natural progression for Enbridge’s renewable energy portfolio. As owners and operators of solar and wind projects, we understand that in order for renewable energy to become a larger part of the electricity system, we need to deal with the intermittent nature of the source – the sun isn’t always shining and the wind doesn’t blow all the time, but the heat of the earth is constant and not intermittent,” Szmurlo added.”
Source: Company release via Marketwire