Ormat plays ostrich
Mono County Supervisors were treated to a presentation by Ormat Technologies at its meeting Tuesday, October 4. This came just a few weeks after new data and analysis presented by US Geological Survey geologist, James Howle and Chemist Emeritus, Bill Evans potentially threatens Ormat’s proposed new geothermal plant project, Casa Diablo IV (CD IV).
However, the new data was just 18 months old when it was studied, has not been peer-reviewed and came with findings that flipped the long-held geothermal model for Long Valley on its head.
The old model showed no problems with geothermal fluid extraction as it relates to possible mixing with Town of Mammoth Lakes groundwater. The new data, a single sampling, shows possible mixing and the fluid may extend into Town along a fault line.
Ormat’s argument why the old model is just fine is that the new USGS conclusions are based on the new data and not admissible. And, while Rahm Orenstein, vice president of business development said Ormat is willing to do whatever monitoring the Mammoth Community Water District wants, it doesn’t believe there needs to be any more monitoring because there’s no “evidence” to refute the old model.
Ormat has been extracting fluid from Basalt Canyon, where it plans operations for the new Casa Diablo IV well, for more than three decades with no adverse effects. Ormat’s thinking. If nothing’s gone wrong yet, it won’t go wrong now.