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Enel commissions geothermal-hydro hybrid power plant in US

EBR Staff Writer Published 07 December 2016

Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA), a subsidiary of Enel, has commissioned a power plant in Utah, US that combines hydro and geothermal technologies.

The company has added a fully submersible downhole generator to a geothermal injection well at the 25MW Cove Fort geothermal plant, which was commissioned in 2013.

The world’s first integrated, commercial-scale geothermal-hydro power plant combines medium enthalpy, binary cycle geothermal power with hydropower technology.

Enel Global Renewable Energies head Francesco Venturini said: "The operation of this technology, a world’s first, is a major milestone for the geothermal industry and a reinforcement of our commitment to innovation and energy efficiency.

“We are creating innovative solutions that are making renewable energy better, stronger and smarter.

“As a result we have once again discovered a more resourceful way to maximise plant operations and power generation with the aim of using this technology at our facilities around the world.”

The company conducted initial testing of the new hydro generator technology added to the geothermal injection well between July and September 2016.

The tests resulted in an overall increase in output of 1,008MWh while offsetting 8.8% of the energy consumption of the Cove Fort plant. The plant’s operational efficiency has also been increased.

The technology captures the energy of the water flowing back into the earth to generate additional electricity. This also improves the flow control of brine back into the ground.

The Cove Fort geothermal plant generates up to 160GWh of power annually while avoiding the CO2 emission of about 115,000t.