Development of a new geothermal energy operation – which could amount to over 100 MW capacity – is now underway. Plans to drill test wells for a feasibility study at the South Meager Geothermal site were finally approved after almost a month’s delay because of an order from the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) in Canada.Vancouver, Canada – August 12, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Western GeoPower, a renewable energy development company, had project approval from the Ministry of Energy and Mines for British Columbia, but the environmental office issued an order on July 15, the day drilling was supposed to begin, that the company had not completed a required environmental study. GeoPower had intended to request a formal environmental review after the feasibility study was complete. Review acceptance was granted under the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act. The company and its environmental consultants have met with representatives of provincial and federal government agencies to determine the terms of the review. Environmental studies will be incorporated into the project feasibility study. In addition to the environmental review, GeoPower plans to negotiate a power sales contract and project financing, with the objective of achieving resolution of all three elements in mid-2005. This would be followed in late 2005 with the beginning of plant construction, leading to commercial generation by mid-2007. It should take approximately 20 weeks to drill both test wells, MC-6 and MC-7, and the company expects to complete the CAD 14.5 million (US$ 11 million) project by December, 2004. Both wells were designated at a target depth of 2,500 meters. Precision Drilling, a division of Precision Limited Partnership, of Calgary, Alberta, is the principal drilling contractor. Baker Hughes Canada Company, of Calgary, Alberta will provide the major drilling services for the drilling program with technical support provided by the company’s geothermal group. Midnight Sun Drilling Company of Whitehorse, Yukon, is drilling and setting the conductor pipe and surface casing to 100 m for the two wells, and will complete the two large diameter rotary wells. GeothermEx of California is directing the site operations. The company completed a report in February 2004, and classified South Meager as a high-temperature geothermal field with an average temperature between 220 and 240 degrees Celcius. Potential development capacity of the wells is estimated at 100 MW or more.