Enbridge Invests in 35-MW Geothermal Plant

The Idaho-based geothermal power plant developer U.S. Geothermal is partnering with a major North American energy company on a 35-MW project in Oregon.

Enbridge Inc, a company with deep roots in the traditional energy sector, is investing $23.8 million in the Neal Hot Springs geothermal power plant in eastern Oregon.

At Neal Hot Springs, USG Oregon LLC (a subsidiary of U.S Geothermal) is constructing a new modular, air-cooled binary cycle power plant manufactured by TAS Energy Inc. of Houston, Texas, with gross capacity of 35 MW. The company expects the plant to be in operation by 2012.

The Neal Hot Springs development project is the first geothermal project to be offered a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee under Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, which was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to support the deployment of innovative clean energy technologies.

The Enbridge equity investment in the Neal Hot Springs project will fully fund the remaining equity share of the construction costs, with the rest of the costs being funded by a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. Enbridge will acquire 20% direct ownership interest in the project and will receive 24% of the Investment Tax Credit cash grant.

U.S. Geothermal has now already invested approximately $13.0 million in USG Oregon LLC, its subsidiary that owns the project. A total of up to $36.8 million in equity, together with up to $102.2 million of project debt provided under the loan guarantee program from the DOE, is now invested in or available for completion of the $124.3 million project.

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