Less than a year after announcing its deal with Merrill Lynch, Raser Technologies is set to open its first low-temp geothermal plant tomorrow in Utah. While it remains to be seen what happens when the switch is flipped, the company has so far made good on its promise to build geothermal plants in record time — it typically takes up to five years, and Raser has done it in less than one.I wonder how expensive the electricity produced will cost? If economic, this is a great way to provide clean baseload electricity.
The 10-megawatt plant pulls together 50 small units to tap into a small sliver of 120,000 megawatts of low- and medium-temperature geothermal resources cataloged by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and U.S. Geological Survey. Raser claims accessing low- and medium-temp geothermal power could eventually help meet about a third of U.S. energy needs.
Of course, this is all provided that the company’s technology — which mixes geothermal resources with a “working fluid” that boils at a much lower point than water to make commercial grade power from temperatures as low as 165 degrees Fahrenheit — and its modular power plant design work as well at a commercial scale as they have in pilot projects.