Enel Flips Solar Switch at Cogeneration Plant, Starts Geothermal Work in Utah

The world’s first solar-geothermal power plant was commissioned last week in Stillwater, Nevada with the completion of a 24-MW solar PV plant developed by Enel Green Power. It is strategically positioned next to Enel’s existing 60-MW geothermal plant to increase power production and resource predictability.

The technology partnership is a win-win duo as geothermal answers immediate solar intermittency concerns and solar answers possible long-term geothermal resource reduction.

Enel hopes to focus additional research efforts at the facility with plans to integrate CSP technology, as well. “We are really betting on Nevada becoming a center of excellence for R&D [research and development] and integration development,” said Francesco Venturini, president and CEO of Enel Green Power of North America in a release. 

EGP is also considering an additional cogeneration facility for the nearby Salt Wells geothermal plant. “Every site and every project has its own specifics,” Venturini said at the Stillwater opening. “The success of Stillwater is one that we’ll explore in many different locations. Salt Wells is certainly one of them. Whether we’ll go through with it depends on many different factors.” 

The company is striving to ramp up its overall renewables production in North America, particularly taking advantage of the vast untapped geothermal sources in the U.S. It announced last week that it would begin construction of a 25-MW geothermal plant in Cove Fort, Utah. The $126 million project secured a 20-year PPA (power purchase agreement) and is set to go online in 2013. 

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