AMEC receives geothermal power contract

AMEC, the international engineering and project management company, has been awarded a $6.8m (£4.5m) contract by Energy Source to provide engineering services for a 49MW, $350m geothermal power-generating facility at Salton Sea in California.

The Hudson Ranch I project, located in Imperial County, is the first stand-alone flash geothermal plant to be built at the Salton Sea geothermal site in recent years.

Work on the project has begun and is expected to be completed by 2012. AMEC will be responsible for design, engineering, training and assistance during the construction and start-up phase.

The geothermal power plant will produce electricity from naturally occurring geothermal steam stored in superheated water reservoirs thousands of feet beneath the Earth’s surface.

The facility will be a triple-flash plant using high-temperature Crystalliser Reactor Clarifier (CRC) technology to process the geothermal brine and steam from the Salton Sea production wells.

The plant will include a turbine generator, cooling tower, wellhead separators, crystalliser, water tanks, primary and secondary clarifier tanks, control building, office buildings, substation, pipelines and supports, various ancillary structures and associated internal roadways.

The project has been under development since 2006 by Catalyst Renewables and Hannon Armstrong, the majority owners of Energy Source (formerly known as CHAR). Recently, Geo-Global Energy joined the ownership group.

Energy Source specialises in the development, construction and operation of grid-connected geothermal and solar-power generating stations, selling green energy and capacity to utility companies.

The plant will take 21 months to build and will employ 35 full-time employees when complete. Once the project becomes operational, Salt River Project (SRP), a southwestern utility, will purchase the power. SRP provides electricity to more than 935,000 retail customers in the Phoenix area.