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SMUD To Buy Geothermal Energy from Vulcan

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has signed a 21-year contract with Patua Project LLC, a subsidiary of geothermal developer Vulcan Power Company (Vulcan), for the purchase of up to 132 megawatts (MW) of baseload renewable energy from the Patua geothermal plant to be constructed in northern Nevada. Under the agreement, SMUD receives energy, environmental and carbon-neutral attributes from the project.

Vulcan’s Patua geothermal energy project site, located near Fernley, Nevada, will be built in three phases and is expected to be the company’s first geothermal power plant. Phase I drilling startedin February 2010 and construction of a 60-MW power plant is projected to begin in January 2011. The project will produce electricity around the clock with power deliveries projected to occur as early as the first quarter of 2012, continuing through 2033.

“This major renewable power source adds diversity to SMUD’s current renewable power portfolio,” said John DiStasio, SMUD's general manager and CEO. “The additional baseload power supply avoids the challenge of integrating an intermittent source of renewable energy, such as wind and solar.”

The project is expected to initially provide 500 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, eventually ramping up to 1,000 GWh per year. These gigawatt hours will count towards SMUD’s aggressive goal of 33 percent renewable energy by 2020. Last year, renewable energy accounted for approximately 19 percent of SMUD’s power supply and will reach 20 percent by the end of 2010.


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