Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ormat announces new geothermal contract in Nevada

Ormat Technologies Inc. and Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. (NGP) announced this week that NGP Blue Mountain I LLC has entered into an Engineering, Procurement and Construction Contract for a 49.5 MW power plant, consisting of three Ormat Energy Converters at Blue Mountain's geothermal project in Nevada.

The plant design incorporates Ormat's proprietary power generation technology with water-cooling for maximum efficiency. The total contract value is US$76 million.

If you are interested in learning more about Ormat and geothermal power, I suggest reading this interview with Paul Thomsen, Ormat's Public Policy Manager, which was published this week on Thomsen discusses Ormat's technology, its competitiveness vis a vis coal and natural gas power plants, the company's plans for R&D and expansion, the influence of government policy on the company's prospects, and the obstacles to geothermal's growth as a renewable energy source.

Ormat Technologies is the only vertically-integrated company primarily engaged in the geothermal and recovered energy power business. The company designs, develops, owns and operates geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants around the world.

Listed on the NYSE
, Ormat Technologies is a subsidiary of Yavne, Israel-based Ormat Industries. Founded in 1965 by Lucien and Yehudit Bronicki, a husband-and-wife team who now serve, respectively, as chairman and CEO, the company has developed over a gigawatt of geothermal generation around the world, and it owns and operates approximately 400 megawatts in the US. It has a market capitalization of $2 billion.

Much of Ormat's success owes to a breakthrough turbine design developed by the Bronickis that permits renewable energy sources such as geothermal or solar-heated steam to be converted into electricity more efficiently. After decades of selling turbines alone, Ormat in the mid 1990s started building geothermal plants of its own around the world that use its super-efficient turbine technology.

Geothermal's great advantage over intermittent renewables such as solar and wind power is that it is not dependent on the elements, and it produces continuous power 24 hours a day. The big drawback is that geothermal plants tend to be small. Depending on the strength of the natural source, they're usually no more than 100 megawatts in capacity.

Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. is a renewable energy company developing geothermal projects in the United States to provide electrical energy that is clean, renewable and sustainable. NGP currently owns a 100% leasehold interest in four properties: Blue Mountain that is expected to commence power generation late 2009, Pumpernickel, Black Warrior, all located in Nevada and Crump Geyser in Oregon.