The Environmental Benefits of Ormat Power Plants
Geothermal energy is heat energy that comes from the molten interior deep within the earth's crust. This valuable heat is brought near to the surface due to movements in the earth's crustal plates by intrusion of molten magma and by deep circulation of groundwater. Reservoirs of hot water under pressure are formed. By drilling wells into these reservoirs, steam and high-pressure hot water can be captured and directed to drive turbines in power plants, completing the conversion of this earth-bound energy from heat to electrical energy.
Cooled geothermal fluid is injected back to the reservoir where it is reheated and preserves the resource mass balance and sustainability. The advantages of geothermal energy are enormous; it harnesses a natural locally available energy source, it offers base load electricity 24/7 year-round supply with high reliability and provides an environmentally friendly energy alternative which produces no NOx emissions and negligible CO2 emissions.
Ormat Geothermal Power Plants Registered for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Under UN Clean Development Mechanism Ormat has two power plants registered as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by the Executive Board of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Our Amatilan Geothermal Project in Guatemala has been registered as a CDM since December 2008 and has the potential to offset approximately 83,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Ormat's Olkaria III power plant has been registered as a CDM since 2010. Following recent project expansions, Olkaria III has the potential to offset more than 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. We hope future power plants will also be registered to such mechanisms.
Improving Environmental Performance All of Ormat's geothermal and recovered energy power plants in the United States, Guatemala and Kenya provide a positive alternative to carbon-intensive electricity generation. Still, our company remains committed to ongoing action to minimize the environmental impact of our operations through reducing, reusing, recycling and applying leading edge technology. In fact, this approach is encapsulated in the Ormat Quality, Environmental, Health and Safety Policy, which guides these initiatives.
Connecting with the CommunityAs a responsible and responsive corporate citizen, Ormat believes it is important to cultivate positive relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders who have an interest in our geothermal and recovered energy power plants. To do so, we employ a variety of activities and communications tools which include websites containing information about our power plants and ongoing projects that affect the local community; a community relations program that encourages employee volunteerism and purchasing from local vendors; participation in local boards such as the Mammoth Lakes Alternative Energy Task Force; the maintenance of an extensive list of stakeholders with whom we stay in touch with via email, phone calls, meetings, and tours of the power plant; and by providing local support to community organizations. These combined efforts ensure that stakeholders are provided with timely and accurate information about our operations and development plans and that they are able to learn more about geothermal energy and how it contributes to the local economy and a cleaner environment.
To learn more about Ormat's Sustainability preformance see our Sustainability Reports