Aguacaliente to develop new 25MW geothermal plant in US

24 March 2014 (Last Updated March 24th, 2014 18:30)

Aguacaliente intends to construct a 25MW geothermal energy facility at Walker Ranch in Idaho, US.

Aguacaliente intends to construct a 25MW geothermal energy facility at Walker Ranch in Idaho, US.

Aguacaliente developer Trent Yang was quoted by The Times-News as saying that the company has recently completed drilling a third successful production well, which indicates the company's data and resources highlights its aspirations.

The company plans to drill up to 18 wells, of which nine will be production wells and the rest re-injection wells.

The US Bureau of Land Management Burley field office geologist Steve Lubinski said, "BLM is excited (about the Walker Ranch project) because renewable energy is one of our priorities.

"Personally, it is kind of a neat thing to produce power without fossil fuels or without imposing very much natural resource damage."

Yang said that the quality of the resource until now, measured by a combination of temperature and flow rate, is as estimated.

"Hopefully it is not about whether the resource is there, it's if you can hit it with drilling," Yang said.

"It is not like oil and gas, where it is a huge reservoir and you just stick straws in it. What we are doing is looking for fractures in the land where water can come up."

Lubinski added, "Things are going well, so that means the technology they used and the data they obtained is valid, and it's cool to see that happening.

"The company plans to drill up to 18 wells, of which nine will be production wells and the rest re-injection wells."

"Out at Raft River, you've got hundreds of small fractures in the rock, if not thousands. You've got faults that offset different areas. And so it's a lot more complex to try to analyze all that data and it takes a lot more (data)."

According to Yang, the company is now in discussions to sell its electricity produced at the site.

The project is estimated to generate around 800 jobs, some permanent, others for two or three years, Yang added.

Aguacaliente expects to hire local staff for operating the plant, Yang said, but was not sure on the number of permanent jobs estimated specifically near Malta.

The Cassia County Commissioner Paul Christensen said, "We're excited for them," he said. "... It's always been a great place for families to raise kids, and this will maybe create opportunities for them to stay in the area."

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