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Ormat: Churchill exploration disappoints

NNBW Staff

A geothermal site planned for development by NV Energy and Ormat Technologies in Churchill County apparently doesn’t have the resources of subterranean hot water that the companies had hoped.

Ormat executives said last week that the company unsuccessfully drilled two deep holes in search of hot water to drive the proposed plant’s turbines. But another geothermal resource on the property may yet prove economically viable, said Dita Bronicki, chief executive officer of Reno-based Ormat.

Ormat and NV Energy struck a deal last year to jointly develop the Carson Lake geothermal project near Fallon, and NV Energy will take an ownership stake in the project if it’s successful. The companies hoped the facility would generate at least 30 megawatts of power.

Even if the site doesn’t pan out, Bronicki noted that Ormat expects to add 34 megawatts of generating capacity to its portfolio this year. The company develops geothermal plants throughout the world.

She said Ormat leased 150,000 acres worldwide for exploration last year.

The company also makes equipment for geothermal power plants, and executives said the company had a backlog of $194 million in orders on its books at the end of 2008. That’s a record, they said.

For the fourth quarter, publicly held Ormat reported a 31 percent growth in earnings and a 35 percent increase in revenues from year-earlier figures. The company earned $11.7 million on revenues of $95.5 million in the quarter.