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  • Enbridge invests up to $24m in U.S. Geothermal's Neal Hot Springs project in Oregon 0 comments
    Sep 8, 2010 4:08 PM | about stocks: ENB, HTM

    Renewable energy company U.S. Geothermal (TSX: GTH) (NYSE Amex: HTM) will see Enbridge invest up to US$23.8 million in its 35 megawatt (NYSE:MW) Neal Hot Springs geothermal project in eastern Oregon, in exchange for a 20% stake.

    Enbridge, a company with a market capitalization of $19 billion, transports and distributes energy across North America, and operates the world's longest crude oil and liquids transportation system.

    The Calgary-based company also has a growing involvement in the natural gas transmission business and is setting its sights on green energy technologies. It already has interests in 810 megawatts of wind, solar, waste heat recovery and fuel cell projects.

    "This investment is our initial entry into geothermal energy, which we think has an important role to play in North America's shift toward a greener energy production mix," said Enbridge president and CEO Patrick D. Daniel.

    The Enbridge investment in the Neal Hot Springs project will fully fund the remaining share of the construction costs, with the balance being financed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a project loan.

    U.S. Geothermal has already itself invested approximately $13.0 million in USG Oregon, its subsidiary that owns the Neal Hot Springs project.

    Currently, a total of up to around $37 million in equity, together with up to approximately $102 million of project debt, is now invested in or available for the completion of the $124 million project.

    "We look forward to a long and successful partnership with Enbridge on this and potentially other geothermal projects in our portfolio. Upon achieving commercial operation, Neal Hot Springs will be our third operating geothermal asset," said president and CEO of U.S. Geothermal, Daniel Kunz.

    At Neal Hot Springs, USG Oregon is constructing a new modular, air-cooled binary cycle power plant manufactured by TAS Energy of Houston, Texas, with gross capacity of 35 MWs and an average annual output, subject to seasonal and other variations, of 23 net MWs of electricity.

    Up to 25 MWs of the electrical output from the Neal Hot Springs project is sold through to 2032, under the terms of a previously announced power purchase agreement with Idaho Power Company, a subsidiary of IdaCorp.

    U.S. Geothermal anticipates commercial operations beginning in the fourth quarter of 2012.

    U.S. Geothermal operates geothermal power projects at Raft River, Idaho and San Emidio, Nevada. The Neal Hot Springs project will be the company's third operating power project. The company holds geothermal energy rights to 69,500 acres, comprising six advanced stage geothermal development projects.

    Its stock jumped by almost 9% as of 2:45pm ET on Wednesday, trading at $0.87 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

    Disclosure: no positions
    Stocks: ENB, HTM
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