Salt River to buy 49 MW of geothermal energy

Salt River Project has signed a second agreement for the purchase of 49 MW of geothermal energy from a plant that will be built in Southern California. The Salton Sea geothermal resource is one of the world’s hottest and most prolific for the production of energy.

In 2007, SRP executed an agreement to purchase 49 MW of geothermal energy from Hudson Ranch I. That project is nearly complete and is expected to begin producing energy in February. This second 30-year agreement is for SRP to purchase power beginning in mid-2014, when the plant is completed. SRP will arrange transmission of the energy from the point of delivery to Arizona.

A geothermal power plant produces electricity from naturally occurring geothermal steam. The steam is formed when production wells tap into superheated water reservoirs thousands of feet beneath the Earth’s surface. Unlike other forms of renewable energy such as solar or wind, geothermal power plants produce energy continuously, irrespective of the time of the day or weather conditions.

Under SRP’s Sustainable Portfolio goals, SRP must secure sustainable and renewable resources to meet 20 percent of its retail load by the year 2020. Currently SRP’s sustainable portfolio, which consists of energy-conservation programs and renewable-energy sources, including solar, wind, landfill gas, geothermal and low-head hydro, is a little more than 7 percent.

Hudson Ranch Power II is owned by EnergySource, a renewable-energy company focused on the Salton Sea geothermal resource. EnergySource has a team of 19 professionals with experience in resource acquisition, geology, drilling, engineering, construction, plant operations and new project development. A sister company, Hudson Ranch Energy Services, will operate both Hudson Ranch I and II. SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix area, serving nearly 950,000 electric customers.