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Paisley geothermal site tour

December 11, 2013 by

Lake County’s Board of Commissioners recently toured the site of the geothermally-based power generation plant currently under construction near Paisley.

The project marks a $20 million effort by Surprise Valley Electrification Corp., and started as a 3-megawatt electrical power generation facility by design.  The plant will use steam from geothermally-heated underground water to power a generator unit.

The plant will have the capacity to provide beyond its initial 3-megawatt capacity in the future, Culp said.

A power purchase agreement is currently in development with PacificPower, said Lynn Culp, Surprise Valley Electric spokesman.

“It’s just all these steps, step by step by step,” he said.  “The actual physical construction of the plant is moving along nicely.”

Culp said the plant should be operational for testing at the end of February through March 2014, and then fully online that spring.

Piping is established above ground, Culp said, for the necessary ‘give’ needed given the temperature of the water passing through.  The joints for the piping are built with expansion in mind, he said.

Feasibility testing was performed by Colahan Enterprises, prior to Surprise Valley Electric’s involvement as the project developer, which commenced as of 2009, Culp said.

In 2011, following extensive geologic work, Surprise Valley opted to drill a new production well.

The project is based around a total of three wells.  The first of two production wells is 1,360 feet in depth with a capacity of 1,000 gallons per minute and a water temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit. The second production will, 1,260 feet in depth, is 227 degrees with a capacity of 2,000 gallons per minute.

The third well, which serves as the plant’s reinjection site, is 2,705 feet in depth with a water temperature of 227 degrees.

Another well is slated to be drilled for sourcing cooling water, Culp said.

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