|7 December 2016|

USA

A pioneering renewable energy plant in Utah is combining geothermal and hydro power in a world first for the industry.

Operations are underway at Enel Green Power North America’s (EGPNA) Cove Fort site; with the integrated, commercial-scale geothermal-hydro power plant utilising innovative generator technology to increase efficiency.

EGPNA’s  fully submersible downhole generator technology has been added to a geothermal injection well, to combine geothermal and hydroelectric power at one site.

“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,” said Francesco Venturini, Head of Enel’s Global Renewable Energies. “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.”

Summer testing revealed that – with the addition of the hydro generator to the geothermal injection well – there was an overall increase in output of 1,008 MWh between July and September. It offset energy consumption at the Cove Fort plant by 8.8%, improving the plant’s operational efficiency.

The energy of the water flowing back into the earth is captured by the innovative generator tech, which also helps control the flow of brine back into the ground.

“The presence of the generator creates pressure against the brine flow, which reduces the flow’s turbulence into the well – minimising the likelihood of any potential damage to the well. The result is a first-of-its-kind innovation that can reduce operational and maintenance expenses, while also having the potential to generate additional revenues,” EGPNA said.