Provo, Utah-based Raser Technologies Inc., recently inaugurated its first commercial-scale geothermal power plant in Beaver County, Utah. The plant’s output has already been committed to supply electricity to Anaheim, Calif.
The company noted that the Beaver County plant, called Thermo, was built in only six months using its revolutionary modular construction design, greatly reducing the normal five-to-seven years typically required for traditional plant development and construction technology.
Raser uses technology developed by UTC Power, a United Technologies Corp. company, to generate electricity from underground water at temperatures much lower than other technologies. This opens the door to vast resources of underground, heated water that was previously considered useless for generating electricity. The company is making bold predictions based on the technology.
“This is a momentous occasion,” said Brent M. Cook, Raser Technologies’ CEO, at the plant’s ribbon cutting ceremony. “This power generation plant, with its ground-breaking, rapid-deployment design and construction system and UTC Power’s low-temperature technology,
can make geothermal a mainstream source of energy for the nation.”
He referred to National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates of approximately 150,000 MW of identified and unidentified shallow geothermal resources nationwide, enough to meet approximately one-third of the nation’s electrical demand.
Using its rapid-deployment construction system, Raser Tech took 50 binary cycle units manufactured by UTC Power and linked them together like a computer network to create the 10 MW facility. Seven other plants, tapping into Raser’s geothermal resources, are in the works for the western United States.