Leading Geothermal Companies
There are a handful of major geothermal companies right now. Their growth has been impressive and the opportunities are enormous.
Calpine Corporation (Pink Sheets: CPNLQ)
Calpine Corporation (www.calpine.com) is the world's largest producer of geothermal power and operates approximately 50 percent of the geothermal plant capacity in the United States. Calpine is a large, unregulated wholesale power company that had 25 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity as of December 31, 2006, and produced $6.7 billion in revenue in 2006. Calpine was still operating under bankruptcy protection as of mid-2007 (which is why the company is quoted on the Pink Sheets). Calpine filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2005 due to heavy losses tied to a high debt load, the overbuilding of merchant power assets in some areas in the 1990s, and volatile natural gas prices (which caused losses at its natural gas power plants).
Calpine owns and operates 19 of the 21 geothermal power plants in the "Geysers" area of California with generating capacity of 750 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power about 560,000 homes. The Geysers, comprising 30 square miles along the Sonoma and Lake County borders in California, is the largest complex of geothermal power plants in the world. The Geysers are a "dry steam field," as opposed to most other geothermal reservoirs, which are liquiddominated and recharge naturally. No water flows naturally in the Geysers geothermal system. The Geysers facility therefore pumps 11 million gallons of treated wastewater daily from nearby Santa Rosa, California for injection into the Geysers geothermal system, thereby increasing its sustainability. The Geysers have produced electricity for 47 years and geothermal facilities at the Geysers are expected to be economically profitable for at least several more decades. Calpine is currently developing new geothermal projects in northern California near the California-Oregon border.
Ormat Technologies Inc. (NYSE: ORA)
Ormat Technologies (www.ormat.com) operates approximately 15 percent of geothermal power plant capacity in the United States. In addition, its Ormat Energy Converter (OEC) geothermal system is patented and licensed for commercial use in 71 countries around the world. Ormat's OEC technology supplies over 800 megawatts of geothermal power, which enables geothermal developers to use a wide range of geothermal resources, from low temperature geothermal water to high-pressure steam.
In the United States, Ormat operates the geothermal facility at Puna, Hawaii, that supplies the city with 25 percent of its electrical needs. Ormat owns several facilities in Nevada and California and 50 percent of the Mammoth Pacific geothermal plant in California. In addition to its existing projects, Ormat has signed two power purchase agreements with the Southern California Public Power Authority for the purchase of electrical power from its geothermal projects at the Ormesa and Heber geothermal facilities. In May 2007, Ormat signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Nevada Power Company, a unit of Sierra Pacific Resources, to construct a geothermal power plant in northern Nevada and resell 30 megawatts of power to Sierra Pacific Resources. Ormat currently has four new geothermal projects under construction in Nevada, four in California, one in Hawaii, one in Kenya, and one in Guatemala.
Caithness Energy LLC (privately held)
Caithness Energy (caithnessenergy.com) operates approximately 13 percent of geothermal power plant capacity in the United States with over 360 megawatts of geothermal projects located in California and Nevada. It is a privatelyheld company that specializes in power generation.
CalEnergy Generation (privately held)
CalEnergy Generation (calenergy.com) operates approximately 11 percent of geothermal power plant capacity in the United States. It was founded in 1971 to provide consulting and developmental services for geothermal power production facilities in North America. In the 1980s and 1990s it developed its own projects and acquired the assets of several U.S. geothermal companies. It now operates ten geothermal power plants near the Salton Sea in southern California with a combined 340 megawatts of generating capacity. It is currently developing new projects in the Salton Sea geothermal area with a 215-megawatt facility under construction and has 200 megawatts of other projects under development. In addition to its U.S. projects, CalEnergy owns three geothermal facilities in the Philippines with combined capacity of 490 megawatts.
Northern California Power Agency (municipal entity)
Northern California Power Agency (www.ncpa.com) operates approximately 8 percent of geothermal capacity in the United States. It was established in 1968 as a California Joint Action Agency with membership open to municipalities, rural electric cooperatives, irrigation districts, and other publicly owned entities interested in the purchase, aggregation, scheduling and management of electricity. NCPA operates two geothermal power plants of 110 megawatts each at the Geysers geothermal field in California
End SpA (NYSE: EN)
Enel (www.enel.it) is a worldwide leader in geothermal power generation with geothermal plants in Italy, Canada, United States, South America, Spain and Slovakia. Enel operates a small percentage of geothermal power plant capacity in the United States. With the acquisition in 2007 of AMP Resources, LLC, Enel is currently working on developing additional geothermal projects throughout the world. Enel is a large electricity operator based in Italy with 58,000 employees, 34 billion euros of 2006 revenues, and a $66 billion market cap.
U.S. Geothermal (OTCBB: UGTH)
U.S. Geothermal (www.usgeothermal.com) is a small renewable energy development company that is in the process of constructing a geothermal plant at Raft River, Idaho and developing Neal Hot Springs in eastern Oregon. U.S. Geothermal has signed a power sales contract for one 10-megawatt power plant with the Idaho Power Company and is currently in negotiations for additional output with Idaho Power Company and other customers. U.S. Geothermal has secured transmission capacity for up to 36 megawatts with the Bonneville Power Association.
Polaris Geothermal (TSX: GEO CN)
Polaris Geothermal (www.polarisgeothermal.com) began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange in January of 2007. The company was established as a combination of Polaris Geothermal and Iriana Resources Corporation. In 2006, Polaris acquired an 87.6 percent controlling stake in a Panamanian company, which through its wholly owned Nicaraguan subsidiary, San Jacinto Power S.A., controls the San Jacinto-Tizate geothermal fields in Nicaragua. Polaris is developing a 75-megawatt geothermal power project in Nicaragua
Nevada Geothermal Power (OTCBB: NGLPF)
Nevada Geothermal Power (www.continentalridge.com) is a Canadian-based company that develops geothermal power for energy projects in Nevada. It has a 20-year power purchase agreement with Nevada Power and Light for up to 35 megawatts of geothermal power and has plans to develop an initial 30-megawatt geothermal power plant in Blue Mountain, Nevada.
Leading Geothermal Companies copyright 2011 Digtheheat.com