Raser Technologies Inaugurates Utah Geothermal Plant

Raser Technologies, Inc. inaugurated its first commercial-scale power plant, in Beaver County, Utah, demonstrating the viability of advanced technology that can make geothermal a major price-competitive resource for the U.S. energy supply. The plant's output has already been committed to supply electricity to Anaheim.

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, according to a Nov. 7 press release.

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 were believed to be useless for generating electricity. The company estimates that by tapping U.S. geothermal resources, the country could eventually generate one-third of its energy needs.

"This is a momentous occasion," said Chief Executive Officer Brent M. Cook 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."

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Sen. Orrin Hatch said, "In May of this year, I stood at this very spot and broke ground for a new kind of geothermal power plant. Today, just six months later, I stand here again and look around in amazement to see a complete power plant. Raser's new modular power plant design has begun a revolution in the power industry. If Raser can continue to replicate this successful model, it will unlock this country's most abundant and practical sources of renewable energy."

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.

"With the major construction of Thermo completed, we will work over the next four to six weeks to complete the commissioning process and have the plant operational for the next 35 years," Cook added.