US Federal Regulators Release Proposed Action for Dixie Meadows Geothermal Project

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) yesterday issued an environmental assessment (EA) with a proposed action that, if approved, would allow Ormat Technologies to move forward with its Dixie Meadows geothermal utilization plan.

The proposed action includes construction and operation of up to two 30-MW geothermal binary power plant facilities in Dixie Valley, Churchill and Pershing counties, Nev.; construction of up to 15 production and injection well pads; construction of up to eight exploration core hole well pads and two water well pads, according to the EA. In addition, the proposed action includes construction of an approximately 48-mile, 120-kV generation tie line northeast of the project area to Ormat’s Jersey Valley power plant. The 120-kV gen-tie was selected for the proposed action over a shorter 230-kV alternative, which BLM said would cost more than the 120-kV option.

In a May 9 1Q17 earnings conference call, Ormat CEO Isaac Angel said that the company expects the Dixie Meadows project to have a capacity of between 15 MW and 20 MW by the end of 2018.

BLM said in the EA that the project would be located on geothermal leases that are on public lands administered by BLM and a segment of US Navy lands that have mineral rights owned by Ormat.

The Dixie Meadows geothermal unit area was created through the combination of the Dixie Hope and Dixie Meadows geothermal lease units. Two previous EAs were completed for the lands in the combined area, resulting in findings of no significant impact and decisions of record for 34 well pads. In 2012, Ormat purchased existing leases in the area, and in 2013, it purchased two additional lease areas. Seven wells have been drilled already in the area, according to the May 9 EA.

BLM said that construction of the power plants and initial well field facilities would take from 12 to 24 months once the project is permitted. Well construction would occur at any time over the life of the project.

Public comments on the EA are due June 8.

Lead image credit: Ken Lund | Flickr

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Jennifer Delony, analyst for TransmissionHub, started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. Jennifer began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman Magazine.

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