Board of Supervisors approved Ormat’s East Brawley Geothermal Project

By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors approved Ormat’s East Brawley Geothermal project at Tuesday’s public hearing meeting.

The proposed East Brawley Geothermal Project would construct a new 49.9 net megawatt binary power plant composed of six Ormat Energy Converters, an expanded geothermal well field beyond the six exploration wells, and pipelines to carry the geothermal brine to the power plant for 30 years.

Also to be constructed are pipelines to carry the cooled brine to injection wells, pipelines to distribute, noncondensible gas from production wells to the power plant area and injection wells, and electrical transmission line to interconnect to the substation at the North Brawley 1 Geothermal Power Plant, and water pipelines to bring water from the City of Brawley’s treatment plant upgrade, with supplemental water supplied by Imperial Irrigation District to the power plant for cooling water. The EBGDP would have a total water demand of approximately 5,500 acre-feet per year, which would be obtained for the IID and the City of Brawley’s wastewater treatment plant.

The Geothermal plant site is owned by Ormat Nevada Inc. and consist of one parcel of 33.7 acres.  The project proposes to construct a substation adjacent to the geothermal power plant that would convert power generated at the plant to the proposed line voltage of 92 kilovots. The converted electricity would be transferred via a 2-mile-long double-circuit.

At the June 13, 2012 hearing, the County Planning Commission approved, with a 8-0 vote, the conditions for approval.  Thereafter, the County received one timely appeal to the Planning Commission action from the California Unions for Reliable Energy who appealed of all approvals on the basis of land use jurisdiction and CEQA compliance. The California Unions for Reliable Energy presented evidence and arguments that said that the project was going to need more water supply than it was presented at the environmental impact report.

After all the evidence was presented, the County Board of Supervisors decided to upheld the decision of the planning commission and voted in favor to approve the project 5-0.