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US DOE Offers $102M Conditional Commitment for Loan Guarantee to US Geothermal; Supercritical Binary Geothermal Cycle Technology

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has offered a $102.2-million conditional commitment for a loan guarantee to US Geothermal, Inc. to construct a 22 megawatt geothermal power project in Malheur County, in southeastern Oregon.

US Geothermal estimates that the planned project will create 150 jobs during the 20-month construction period and employ 10 skilled full-time workers when it begins operating in 2012.

The project will use an improved technology to extract energy from rock and fluids in the earth’s crust more efficiently. The technology, referred to as a , is estimated to be more efficient than traditional geothermal binary systems, allowing lower-temperature geothermal resources to be used for power generation.

In typical binary geothermal power projects, hot water is drawn from wells as deep as 4,500-6,000 feet below the Earth’s surface. The water’s thermal energy is used to heat a secondary fluid that is vaporized and then forced through a turbine to generate electricity.

US Geothermal’s supercritical binary geothermal cycle is more efficient than other systems in extracting heat from the hot water which directly increases the output of the power plant. As a result, more energy can be extracted from existing sites in addition to new sites that previously would not have been considered for geothermal projects.

One hundred percent of the project’s output will be sold to Idaho Power Company under a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA). With the 25-year PPA in place, the project is well-positioned to accommodate anticipated population growth and renewable energy demand in the region. About 95% of the power plant’s infrastructure and parts are expected to be supplied by US-based manufacturers, according to the company.

Including this new conditional commitment, the DOE has issued conditional commitments for loan guarantees to support ten clean energy projects.



Another worthwhile long range project for clean continuous power. How many more could be implemented?


A colossal waste of money. But what would you expect of the John Holdren and crew at Incompetence Central?

All that money for a mere 22 MW, if successful?


This is worthwhile investment of taxpayer loan guarantees. While it may not produce a large power output - it also does not consume fuel to generate power. Nor generate waste. That's a damned good accomplishment if it works. I'd like to know how much waste heat is lost in this design - and if they are utilizing it in some way.

And this is a loan guarantee. No taxpayer money goes out unless the thing goes bust. Let's hope "supercritical binary geothermal cycle" can deliver.

Henry Gibson

You can see many windmills that are stopped because of no winds. Many geothermal areas produce lots of green house gases and acid rain gasses. Geothermal energy should always be considered for heating even with heat pumps if necessary. The deep holes in oilfields may be able to produce much geothermal heat. One company was producing metalic Zinc from its geothermal wells but gave it up just before the commodities speculation came.

The deep mines in South Africa are an interesting example of unused geothemal energy.

Nuclear energy can be located anywhere but could be considered artificial geothermal energy with the new buried small reactor styles. ..HG..

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