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Posted on 16. April 2010
US Geothermal Awarded Guatamala Rights
Idaho, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com]

U.S. Geothermal Inc. said that its subsidiary, U.S. Geothermal Guatemala S.A., was recently awarded a geothermal energy rights concession in Guatemala. The concession area is located 14 miles southwest of Guatemala City and contains 24,710 acres of energy rights located in the center of the Agua and Pacaya twin volcano complex.
Studies indicate that Guatemala has a large untapped geothermal energy potential of up to 4000 MW.

A key asset included in the concession, the company said, is the El Ceibillo geothermal project which has nine existing geothermal wells of depths ranging from 560 to 2000 feet drilled during the 1990s and a significant amount of geophysical and other technical data.

Six of the wells have measured reservoir temperatures in the range of 185 to 204°C. Fluid sample and rock cutting data from the wells suggest the existence of a deeper, higher-permeability reservoir at this site with temperatures ranging from 210 to 230°C. These wells have high conductive thermal gradients that indicate rapidly increasing temperatures with depth, U.S. Geothermal said. Two wells are currently producing steam for local industrial use.

"This concession meets our criteria as an advanced-stage geothermal project with a known steam reservoir occurrence. Our director, Dr. Leland Mink, was involved in geothermal development in Guatemala during the 1980s and has considerable knowledge of the concession. The concession also contains several unexplored prospective areas that have extensive geothermal manifestations such as fumaroles, thermal springs and gas vents where magma or hot igneous rocks at shallow depth are releasing gases or interacting with groundwater," said Daniel Kunz, president and CEO of U.S. Geothermal Inc.

El Ceibillo is located in an industrial zone with major electrical transmission and distribution lines nearby. The company has already completed preliminary reservoir, transmission and environmental studies for the project and plans to engage in detailed testing and studies to quantify the electrical generating capacity of the El Ceibillo geothermal resource by deepening a number of the existing wells. Planning is also underway for exploration and testing of at least four additional prospects containing fumaroles and hot springs that are located within the concession area.

"It is too early to assign total megawatt potential for the numerous geothermal sites within this large concession area . We are looking into sourcing development finance through international finance institutions such as Overseas Private Investment Corporation, International Finance Corporation and the Inter-American Development Bank who provide both equity funds and project loans," Kunz said.

Studies indicate that Guatemala has a large untapped geothermal energy potential of up to 4000 MW. For over 10 years, Ormat has been active in Guatemala and currently operates two geothermal power plants there with combined annual production of approximately 50 MW.
26.05.2010 15:01
U.S. Geothermal Inc.: Idaho Public Utilities Commission Approves Neal Hot Springs Power Purchase Agreement

BOISE, IDAHO -- (Marketwire) -- 05/26/10 -- U.S. Geothermal Inc. (TSX: GTH)(NYSE Amex: HTM) ("U.S. Geothermal"), a renewable energy company focused on the development, production and sale of electricity from geothermal energy, today announced that the Idaho Public Utilities Commission has approved the Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA") for the Neal Hot Springs project. U.S. Geothermal's wholly owned subsidiary, USG Oregon LLC, signed the PPA with Idaho Power Company in December 2009. The PPA has a term of 25 years and provides for the purchase of up to 25 megawatts ("MWs") of certified renewable power. Beginning in 2012, the flat energy price is $96 per MW hour. The price escalates annually by 6 percent in the initial years and by 1.33 percent during the latter years of the agreement. The approximate 25-year levelized price is $117.65 per MW hour.

Neal Hot Springs is being developed as an improved technology binary cycle power plant with a planned annual average net output of 22 MWs.

The project is negotiating with the U.S. Department of Energy for a low cost $102.2 million loan for 75% of the maximum total project costs. In addition, with construction continuing this year, the project will qualify for an approximate $34 million cash grant from the U.S. Department of The Treasury upon commercial operation of the plant. USG Oregon LLC initiated construction by having drilled two production wells that have a combined output rating, subject to drilling necessary injection wells, of nearly 15 MW.

Two smaller drill rigs are currently working on an extensive temperature gradient well drilling program at the project. Ten small diameter wells have already been completed and an additional three wells are planned with variable depths down to 2,000 feet. The drilling has identified an enlarged high temperature geothermal anomaly and extended the length of the known production zone by approximately one mile to the southeast. The results of this drill program are being incorporated into a reservoir model to help pinpoint the location of the remaining full size production and injection wells to be drilled.
14.07.2010 18:35
TAS Energy Selected as Innovative Clean Energy Technology Supplier for the US Geothermal Neal Hot Springs Project

U.S. Geothermal has selected TAS Energy Inc. ("TAS") to supply high efficiency, modular, clean energy power plant technology for its Neal Hot Springs geothermal power plant in Eastern Oregon.

U.S. Geothermal Inc., a renewable energy company, on June 10, was offered a conditional commitment for a $102.2-million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy ("DOE") to construct the planned 22-megawatt-net power plant at Neal Hot Springs. This is the first geothermal project to be offered a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee under 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.

"This conditional commitment provides our company with access to low cost capital and is a major milestone accomplishment. Neal Hot Springs is one of several important development opportunities for U.S. Geothermal that we believe will emerge over the next year or two, and we are grateful for this critical vote of confidence from the Department of Energy. We look forward to continued growth as a producer of clean, green electricity to our home region and beyond for years to come," said U.S. Geothermal President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Kunz.

"There has never been a better time in the history of the power business to capture under-utilized resources in the geothermal and waste heat segments, and convert that thermal energy into baseloaded, green power while simultaneously reducing emissions," said Craig Hurlbert, CEO of TAS. "We are excited about this relationship with U.S. Geothermal and look forward to many more projects together."

TAS was selected as technology of choice because the TAS power plant offers many advantages over traditional binary plant systems. The innovative high efficiency Organic Rankine cycle plant delivered using TAS modular design practices provides improved plant capital costs and optimized life cycle performance. In addition, the TAS plant utilizes a non-flammable working fluid in the system that represents a low hazard and environmental impact. The Neal Hot Springs facility will consist of three modular TAS power plants. Each modular unit is a fully functional power plant, allowing U.S. Geothermal to maximize project capital efficiency while bringing incremental power to market as the geothermal resource is further developed. The TAS modular plants will be factory built and designed for efficient, low risk site construction.

The Neal Hot Springs project will create high-quality American manufacturing and construction jobs. "TAS is excited to be a part of the Neal Hot Springs project where over 95 percent of the content of the TAS power plant is expected to be supplied by manufacturers from U.S. factories," said TAS founder and Chief Technology Officer, Tom Pierson.


TAS designs, builds, commissions and services modular energy conversion systems with global installations in North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Middle East. TAS achieves its customer's goals of energy efficient solutions through its pre-engineered, standardized systems optimized for energy efficiency and balanced for first cost effectiveness. TAS solutions include large tonnage chilling systems, turbine inlet chilling systems, industrial process cooling systems and modular geothermal and heat recovery energy systems. The Renewable Energy Systems division of TAS provides Organic Rankine Cycle Power Solutions from 0.5 - 15.0 MW's for Geothermal, Waste Heat, and Solar Thermal applications. TAS is headquartered in Houston, Texas but has a global presence with regional offices in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. http://www.tas.com/
19.07.2010 14:01
U.S. Geothermal Initiates $30 Million Vendor Financed Construction Agreement for San Emidio

BOISE, IDAHO -- (Marketwire) -- 07/19/10 -- U.S. Geothermal Inc. (TSX: GTH)(NYSE Amex: HTM), a renewable energy company focused on the development, production and sale of electricity from geothermal energy, announced today that it has entered into an agreement for the engineering procurement and construction of a new 8.6 net megawatt ("MW") modular binary cycle power plant at its San Emidio project.

TAS Energy Inc. of Houston, Texas through a FORTUNE 500® engineering, procurement and construction company ("EPC Contractor") will manufacture the plant. The agreement calls for the EPC Contractor to provide a non-recourse project loan for the $30 million construction capital together with an Engineering, Procurement and Construction services contract for Phase 1 of the San Emidio project in northern Nevada. The construction loan is expected to be repaid with long term financing from available sources such as the Section 1705 loan guarantee program from the U.S. Department of Energy ("DOE") which we expect to apply for in the near future. Under the terms of the agreement, the parties have established an exclusivity period during which final terms and conditions of certain definitive agreements will be negotiated.

"This is a fully financed, turnkey engineering, procurement and construction arrangement," said Daniel Kunz, President and CEO of U.S. Geothermal Inc. "We are excited to get construction started this year, which will insure that our 35 net MW San Emidio development project qualifies for the special 30% Investment Tax Credit cash grant."

The project will construct a new water-cooled binary cycle power plant with an estimated output of 8.6 net MW of renewable baseload electricity. No well drilling is required for Phase 1 since production and injection wells are currently in use by the existing San Emidio power plant which will be replaced with the new plant. The anticipated Phase 1 commercial operations date is 4th quarter of 2011.

The $200 million San Emidio project is a planned two-phase development. The $30 million Phase 1 is planned at 8.6 MWs net and the $170 million Phase 2 is planned at 26.4 MWs net. Phase 2 is expected to be completed in late 2013, subject to satisfactory completion of new well drilling, a transmission upgrade and obtaining the required permits. Phase 2 reservoir resource expansion efforts are already underway using funding assistance from a $3.77 million DOE Innovative Exploration Grant awarded to U.S. Geothermal in 2009. Approximately 3 MWs of the Phase 1's output is sold through 2017 under the terms of an existing power purchase agreement ("PPA") with Sierra Pacific, a subsidiary of NV Energy. U.S. Geothermal Inc. is currently negotiating with a number of interested parties for a new 35 MW PPA for the project.
U.S. Geothermal Repowers and Expands in Nevada

Setting out to rebuild and nearly triple the output of an obsolete 3.6 MW binary power plant 100 miles north of Reno, plans call for adding a new facility that will lift total production to 35 MW.

by Ted J. Clutter, Contributor
Published: 26. August 2010

Nevada -- In the wind-swept desert of northern Nevada, U.S. Geothermal Inc. has set out to rebuild and nearly triple the output of an obsolete 3.6 MW (net) binary power plant, then add a new facility that will increase total production to 35 MW.

Located about 100 miles north of Reno, San Emidio is U.S. Geothermal’s second producing power operation with a proven subterranean reservoir, following its successful startup of the Raft River project in southeastern Idaho. The company is also developing Oregon’s first geothermal power project with a power purchase agreement (PPA) at Neal Hot Springs.

U.S. Geothermal bought the San Emidio project (pictured above with plant manager Butch Mayfield) for $16.6 million in April 2008 from Empire Geothermal LLC and Mike Stewart. According to U.S. Geothermal President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Kunz, the property has a vintage 3.6 MW (net) Ormat binary power plant built in 1987 and over 2,000 acres of private and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) geothermal leases. The deal also included more than 5,000 acres of BLM leases and groundwater rights for power plant cooling at nearby Granite Creek.

With two geothermal production wells and several injection wells, the San Emidio power plant provides 2.5 to 3 MW to NV Energy subsidiary Sierra Pacific Power Co. The facility’s output is delivered via a 60 kV intertie under a PPA that is in force until 2017.

When U.S. Geothermal acquired the San Emidio power plant, it was in disrepair and not operating efficiently. Since then, the company has invested nearly $600,000 in repairs and upgrades to the facility and well field, increasing output by one-third with attendant cash flow. “We’ve improved systems at the old power plant for better cooling through the tower, retooled one of the turbines, and improved maintenance standards,” said U.S. Geothermal Chief Operating Officer Doug Glaspey. “And we’ve rebuilt both well field production pumps since we acquired the project.”

A recent independent engineer’s estimate of the geothermal reservoir put likely power production potential at 44 MW. With that knowledge, U.S. Geothermal plans a two-phase, $157-million repower and expansion project at the site, with a new power plant and production wells raising project output to 35 MW (net) by 2013.

The first phase is the repower, with the old power plant replaced by a new, more efficient 8 to 9 MW facility fueled with existing geothermal fluid flow (4,000 gpm at 285° F). “We’ll use the same production and injection wells,” said Glaspey. “Everything will stay essentially the same, except the power plant will be larger.”

The Phase One power plant will be built adjacent to the project’s two existing geothermal production wells, on land purchased from Empire Farms in late 2009. The site hosts a mothballed 90,000 sq. ft. dehydration plant once used for drying onions and garlic with waste heat from the power plant. U.S. Geothermal is currently using the old facility’s office and plans construction storage and shop space for the retired operations buildings.

The new power plant site is quite a distance from the old power plant, so it will stay in operation during construction. “When the new power plant is completed, the company can cut it into the production pipelines in fairly short order,” Glaspey said. “The company plans to start construction in 2010, with startup in the fourth quarter of 2011. We have the advantage of building our new power plant on private property, which makes it a lot faster to permit and start construction.” U.S. Geothermal’s land purchase for the phase one repower project also included 724 acre-feet of groundwater rights, doubling the company’s supply.

“We are going to stay with water cooling at San Emidio,” said Glaspey, “because we own enough water rights and it will make the new power plant more efficient during the hot summer months.”

The company’s second phase expansion will require new production wells for an additional 26 MW of capacity and an upgraded transmission line. The project is slated for startup by the end of 2012, but that depends upon successful well drilling for additional geothermal resources.

In October 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the company $3.77 million in Recovery Act funding for innovative exploration and cost-shared drilling at San Emidio. The work will help the company reduce the number of production wells it needs to substantially increase the resource base for the expansion project, reducing costs.

“Our current production wells at San Emidio intersect a large aperture fracture, which is what we are looking for,” said U.S. Geothermal Vice President-Exploration Bill Teplow.

“We’re using detailed structural analysis and mapping with PSInSAR, a satellite-based technique that measures extremely small difference in ground surface elevations.” Combining that with seismic refraction profiles and numerical processing methodology, the company hopes to image large fractures with enough precision to drill into them.

DOE has released funds from the grant and preliminary geothermal exploration work has begun. Eplow will run his first geophysical surveys over the existing well field, seeking a geologic “signature” that will help him find drilling targets for production wells with surveys of other locations on the property.

A key component for the San Emidio geothermal development project is a PPA for the new electricity it will generate. The company’s current contract with Sierra Pacific runs through 2017 and the utility will get the first 2.5 to 3 MW. Negotiations for a buyer of the balance up to 35 MW are underway. The company expects to have a PPA in place by fall of 2010.

Ted J. Clutter is a former Executive Director of the Geothermal Resources Council. He can be reached at tclutter@cableone.net.
Enbridge Invests in 35-MW Geothermal Plant
Published: 8. September 2010

Oregon, United States -- The Idaho-based geothermal power plant developer U.S. Geothermal is partnering with a major North American energy company on a 35-MW project in Oregon.
The Neal Hot Springs development project is the first geothermal project to be offered a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee under Department of Energy's loan guarantee program.

Enbridge Inc, a company with deep roots in the traditional energy sector, is investing $23.8 million in the Neal Hot Springs geothermal power plant in eastern Oregon.

At Neal Hot Springs, USG Oregon LLC (a subsidiary of U.S Geothermal) is constructing a new modular, air-cooled binary cycle power plant manufactured by TAS Energy Inc. of Houston, Texas, with gross capacity of 35 MW. The company expects the plant to be in operation by 2012.

The Neal Hot Springs development project is the first geothermal project to be offered a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee under Department of Energy's loan guarantee program, which was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to support the deployment of innovative clean energy technologies.

The Enbridge equity investment in the Neal Hot Springs project will fully fund the remaining equity share of the construction costs, with the rest of the costs being funded by a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. Enbridge will acquire 20% direct ownership interest in the project and will receive 24% of the Investment Tax Credit cash grant.

U.S. Geothermal has now already invested approximately $13.0 million in USG Oregon LLC, its subsidiary that owns the project. A total of up to $36.8 million in equity, together with up to $102.2 million of project debt provided under the loan guarantee program from the DOE, is now invested in or available for completion of the $124.3 million project.
Antwort auf Beitrag Nr.: 40.123.029 von R-BgO am 09.09.10 09:34:57U.S. Geothermal Gathering Steam After Forming Partnership With Enbridge
1 comment | by: Proactive Investor December 17, 2010 | about: ENB / HTM

Boise, Idaho,-based U.S. Geothermal (HTM) is a producer of geothermal energy. In addition to a large steam project in Guatemala, it has five projects, all in the U.S. The company recently signed a partnership with the large Canadian firm, Enbridge Inc. (ENB), to develop its largest project to date, Neal Hot Springs.

Geothermal energy is a completely renewable energy source; in the simplest terms, water heated from deep within the ground is brought to the earth’s surface, where steam from the superheated water drives turbines to generate electricity.

It has advantages over other sources of renewable energy, all of which require significantly larger footprints. Unlike solar and wind power, which are subject to constant flux, geothermal electricity generation operates without interruption. And although hydropower is capable of generating a constant flow of energy, it requires building large dams that are highly disruptive to the local ecosystem.

These reasons alone make geothermal energy a strong contender as the best alternative energy choice. But to top it off, it is a cheap and abundant source of energy found throughout the western U.S. Financial services firm Credit Suisse issued a report suggesting geothermal is the lowest cost producer of energy, followed by wind, natural gas and coal.

As of 2009, there is 3,086 MW of installed geothermal capacity in the U.S., far greater than any other country, yet still represents less than 1% of America’s power needs. But usage is growing. According to a report by the Geothermal Energy Association, production potential increased 35% between 2008 and 2009. Recently passed laws requiring certain utilities to use non-carbon sources of energy should help maintain this momentum.

In fact, utilities themselves are some of the country’s largest producers of geothermal energy. There are very few “pure-play” companies. One reason for this is the high upfront cost to begin production. As with the oil and gas industries, exploration and drilling can be high-risk, high-cost activities. In a climate of tight financing, small companies find it difficult to sufficiently fund such projects.

Geothermal energy producers are also disadvantaged by the necessity to locate on the site of their energy source, sometimes making energy transport problematic. And until recently, government had lavished tax breaks on the solar and wind power industries, all but ignoring geothermal.

U.S. Geothermal Inc. acquired the Raft River project, site of a former U.S. Department of Energy geothermal installation, in 2002. This was a relatively low-risk play considering it was known to contain high temperature geothermal reservoirs. Early estimates placed capacity at about 110 megawatts of power on the 8.2 square mile site. It went into commercial operation in 2008, selling electricity to Idaho Public Utility. Raft River is on record as the Pacific Northwest’s first commercial size “binary cycle” plant, where water raised from the reservoir is used to boil a second liquid that powers the generators.

The company continued to raise funds and acquire projects. Next came the San Emido power plant in Nevada, which it purchased in April 2008. It is a smaller plant, producing only 3.6 MW of power (Raft River generates about 11 MW), but has the potential to produce 44 MW. A new 8.6 MW power plant is under construction.

A month later, U.S. Geothermal began drilling on its third project, Neal Hot Springs, in Oregon. Early tests had been encouraging, indicating it could be a potentially prolific reservoir. Plans were hatched to develop the site with four production wells generating 22 MW of power. When these projects come online, the company will have 45 MW of net power generating capacity.

Both the San Emido and Neal Hot Springs projects are now fully funded.

Even with only these three sites, U.S. Geothermal will significantly increase its output as it expands production in the ensuing years. By 2015, it aims to have 143 MW of generating power from these three locations. On the flip side, this will require a tremendous capital investment of close to three-quarters of a billion dollars. But remember, once built, maintenance costs are low, and power plants have a life of up to 50 years.

Beyond Raft River, San Emido and Neal Hot Springs, U.S. Geothermal holds leases to three additional geothermal properties. Over time, these too, may bear fruit. The company has been successful so far in negotiating financing, although sometimes at a steep price. Such was the case with its 10 MW Raft River plant, financed through a joint venture with Goldman Sachs: For the first 10 years of operation, tax and earnings benefits will largely accrue to Goldman. Continued financing will be required to fully develop its properties. Government loans, credits and other awards have been and remain of considerable importance.

For now, the company is operating at a loss. The small amount of power produced at San Emido generates 76% of total revenue - insufficient to cover operating expenses. This could change when additional generating capacity is added. The resulting increase in revenue should be considerably greater than any increased operating costs.

U.S. Geothermal is nearing a tipping point. Once enough power goes on line, it will turn from a loss-maker to a cash-generating machine, which should transform its visibility on the market as a solid renewable energy play with good growth prospects and earnings visibility.

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