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Electric utilities: Why Geothermal?

Why should electric utilities buy geothermal power?

The most common factors affecting a utility's decision to purchase electricity from geothermal producers are:

  • Regulatory requirements - renewable portfolio standards, PURPA;
  • Economics - price when procuring energy;
  • Dispatchability - how geothermal fits into the utility's energy profile;
  • "Least-cost, best-fit" - economics and dispatchability;
  • Non-price attributes - geothermal is considered a firm resource unliek wind; and
  • Transmission - ability to provide energy to the utility.
Seven electric utilities in four states purchase or plan to purchase electricity from geothermal producers.

Electric utilities which purchase geothermal energy

UTILITY

STATE

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO)
HI (RPS)

Puna Geothermal Venture has a contract to deliver 30 MW to Hawai'i Electric Light Co. (HELCO), a HECO subsidiary.

Renewable Hawai'i, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of HECO has issued three renewable energy project proposals 29-Nov-2005d Lanai, and the Big Island of Hawai'i.

Nevada Power Company
NV (RPS)

In November 2002 Nevada Power signed long-term contracts with:

  1. Earth Power Resources, Inc., to build a binary geothermal plant in Elko County; and
  2. Subsidiaries of Ormat Nevada, Inc., to build flash-steam and binary geothermal plants in Churchill County.

Sierra Pacific and Nevada Power Company issued a Request for Proposals for Renewable Energy and Renewable Energy Credits in June 2003.

Northern California Power Agency (NCPA )
CA (RPS)
NCPA owns and operates two 55-MWe geothermal power plants and the associated steam field in the Geysers Known Geothermal Resource Area (KGRA).
PacifiCorp
UT
PacifiCorp owns and operates the 26.1-MWe Blundell geothermal plant.
Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E)
CA(PRS)
PG&E geothermal operating capacity is 149.9 MWe from 8 operating contracts (January 2004).
Sierra Pacific Power
NV (RPS)
Sierra Pacific purchases power from 10 geothermal plants in Nevada.

Sierra Pacific and Nevada Power Company issued a Request for Proposals for Renewable Energy and Renewable Energy Credits in June 2003.

Southern California Edison (SCE)

CA (RPS)
SCE geothermal operating capacity from 21 operating contracts is 888.6 MWe (31 July 2003).

 

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Updated 29-Nov-2005

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