Arizona set to start drawing energy straight from the Earth

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 @ 08:12 AM
posted by rene5432

Arizona utility company Salt River Project has continued its expansion into renewable electricity with another purchase of geothermal power, according to the Western Farm Press.

SRP struck a deal in 2007 to draw 49 megawatts of clean energy from the Hudson Ranch I in the Imperial Valley along the Salton Sea in southern California. The project has nearly been completed and should start generating power as soon as February of next year.

The latest agreement would bring an additional 49 megawatts of geothermal power from the Salton sea to SRP's customers in the Phoenix area.

Geothermal, though less popular in the press, is a growing source of renewable electricity because of its consistency and wide availability in many parts of the U.S. In many regions of the West, these power plants can tap into super-heated reservoirs of water to make use of naturally occurring steam in the same way coal- or natural gas-fired plant would.

Running at full capacity year-round, these two plants would provide enough power for nearly 75,000 homes, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

SolarServer reports that SRP has also contracted to construct a 19-megawatt solar installation, giving the utility sizable renewable electricity offerings.

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