New Geothermal Plants, Technologies Come Online

Geothermal plants have been slow to come online over the past few years, but several are under construction with more efficient technologies.

Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) has renovated a 20 MW plant near Reno, Nevada to use air for cooling rather than water. 

Evaporative cooling from air increases power generation by as much as 30% during the hot hours of the day in moderate to dry climates, especially in desert conditions. It generates more energy per year than water cooled systems using a fraction of the water and chemicals of a traditional water-cooled system, the company says.

Ormat plans to renovate its existing plants and use evaporative cooling in future installations.

Also in Nevada, U.S. Geothermal Inc. (AMEX: HTM) is modifying a geothermal plant with a high efficiency design that’s expected to triple its electricity output from 2.8 MW to 8.6 MW.

The cost of the project, which is already underway, is roughly $30 million.

It’s building a second power plant on the same site, for a total of 17.2 MW.

Ram Power (TSX: RPG) says it has access to a $160 million credit facility to construct Phase II of a 72 MW geothermal project in  Nicaragua, the San Jacinto-Tizate power plant.

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