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DOE Approves $100 Million Loan Aid For U.S. Geothermal

Date: 25-Feb-11
Country: U.S.
Author: Timothy Gardner

The Department of Energy said on Thursday it has approved $96.8 million in loan aid for a power plant project in Oregon sponsored by U.S. Geothermal Inc.

The loan guarantee will help build a 23-megawatt geothermal power plant known as Neal Hot Springs.

The project will extract energy from rock and fluids in the Earth's crust with a new technology known as super-critical binary geothermal cycle. It allows power to be generated with lower-temperatures and is more efficient than traditional systems, the DOE said.

The project "will provide clean renewable energy directly from our nation's vast natural resources while simultaneously creating jobs and helping to promote energy independence," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a release.

The DOE estimated over 150 construction jobs and more than 12 permanent jobs will be created.

The project's total power output will be sold to Idaho Power Company under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

Last year Enbridge Inc, Canada's No. 2 pipeline company, paid $23.8 million for a 20 percent stake in Neal Hot Springs.

Under loan guarantees, the federal government commits to paying portions of private loans in case the companies default.

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