Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

Oregon Geothermal Working Group
Meeting # 3
Salem Convention Center
200 Commercial Street, SE
May 11, 2005
This was also the third workshop of the Oregon Geothermal Working Group and was organized by the Utility Energy Forum and the Oregon Department of Energy.
This meeting was designed for utility resource personnel and focuses on the key benefits and risks of including geothermal power in a utility’s resource portfolio.  It was hosted by GeoPowering the West (GPW) and sponsored and supported by the following organizations: Geothermal Resources Council, Geothermal Energy Association, Geothermal Education Office, Oregon Geothermal Working Group, Columbia Geoscience, National Geothermal Collaborative, Sandia National Laboratory, and Vulcan Power.
The Agenda of the meeting is shown on the next page.
The highly qualified speakers brought a mix of professional experience in all aspects of geothermal energy.  Attendees were able to:
  • Learn about geothermal power, including innovations in generation technologies,
  • Hear utilities describe power purchase agreement terms and conditions, reliability, scheduling, transmission, cost, and other issues,
  • Understand the steps necessary to get a geothermal project developed and on line, including exploration, valuation, permitting, and financing,
  • Know the difference between the cost and value of having geothermal in a utility resource portfolio, including comparison with other resource options, price stability, risk mitigation, distribution benefits, portfolio diversity, green tags, tradable offsets, fuel price projections, and customer and public acceptance, and
  • Hear about the major parts of a model purchase power agreement including terms, scheduling, dispatching, price, performance, penalties, incentives, and transmission.
The Workshop was attended by about 25 people.
A copy of the major presentations can be found on the Oregon Geothermal Working Group page of the Oregon Department of Energy Web site.
Speaker Highlights (see Website  for presentations)
Curtis Framel gave a full overview of the GeoPowering the West program and its goals. 
John Pease of BPA presented the first half of his slides focusing on past efforts BPA has taken to purchase geothermal power.
Al Waibel covered geothermal power technologies in use today and general environmental impacts.
David McClain discussed the probable steps necessary to develop a power project at Newberry volcano.  Past drilling by his former firm produced one “discovery” well.  Two or more “confirmation” wells that can be flow tested for 30 days are the ideal next step.  New baseline biological data and air quality permits would be necessary.  A state siting permit may or may not be required depending on size (<35MW).  Dave went on to discuss the geothermal power industry and where it might be currently in models of industrial life cycles.
Marilyn Semro gave a presentation on Seattle City Light’s Integrated Resource Planning process.
Ken Dragoon addressed Integrated Resource Planning from PacifiCorp’s angle i.e., modest growth each year requires about 60 MW of new supplies each year.
John Pease of BPA presented the second half of his slides focusing on steps needed to sell power to BPA today, especially transmission access.
Carel covered sections on geothermal energy in the recently completed Oregon Renewable Energy Plan.  He encouraged folks to download a copy from the ODOE website. 
Roger Hill of Sandia National Lab discussed showed the results of a study on optimizing western power companies generating sources.  The study found that generating mixes with larger geothermal shares have no greater expected cost or risk.  In fact, there exist mixes with larger geothermal shares that exhibit lower expected cost and risk compared to conventional sources.
Marilyn Semro gave a second presentation on how Seattle City Light solicits and purchases power supplies.
Ken Dragoon covered some of the salient power purchase contract items, specifically cost transmission and counter party security.  He added emphasis on new risk management strategies in place at his utility, and a desire to hold the green tags if any.
Jeff Nelson of Springfield Utility Board described his utility’s experiences in the power markets and shared the results of a customer survey.  While his utility once again buys all of its power from BPA, Jeff encouraged developers to offer power to groups of utilities e.g., Northwest Power Pool, Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative, etc.  The survey indicated that their customers preferred geothermal last over other renewable power sources.  His advice was to keep and expand education efforts before the general public. 
The final Q & A session concluded with speakers suggesting that 30 years of efforts at Newberry volcano are still useful providing public education efforts are maintained to new residents, who number over one half of the current Central Oregon population.