MAMMOTH LAKES, CA – Earlier this year, the High Sierra Energy Foundation, in partnership with the Town of Mammoth Lakes, completed a report titled, “Structuring a geothermal heating district for the Town of Mammoth Lakes.” A grant of $191,000 from the California Energy Commission’s Geothermal Resources Development Account has funded this research over the last two years. The Final Report is now available online at http://files.me.com/rolltop/nrux8o.
The exhaustive 46-page report, excluding appendices, addresses major challenges in forming a geothermal heating district, including overall organization, project financing, market perceptions, and the costs of transitioning to geothermal heat. The report recommends that the Town of Mammoth Lakes take a leadership role in developing a geothermal heating district, as the Water District’s top priority is in the provision of potable water.
“This is an exciting step in developing a geothermal heating district in the Town, but the process is still driven by economics,” commented Rick Phelps, Executive Director of the High Sierra Energy Foundation. “The market research conducted for the report concluded that 80% of Mammoth residents support geothermal energy, but their support falls to less than 20% if geothermal costs are not competitive with current sources,” Phelps continued. “However, as current geothermal heating costs are not competitive with propane, this is an excellent time to begin planning for the future, utilizing the significant research completed for the CEC report,” Phelps concluded.
Right now, Phelps estimates the cost of geothermal to be 20% higher than propane, and “it needs to be 20-30% less,” he said. “But once we get there [with geothermal], the cost becomes fairly constant. This is not the case with petrochemicals.”
Phelps is scheduled to update the Mammoth Lakes Town Council on geothermal and energy efficiency activities during the Council’s Dec. 16 regular meeting.
The High Sierra Energy Foundation is a nonprofit corporation supported by local individuals and businesses and the Town of Mammoth Lakes. The mission of the Foundation is to develop and showcase energy efficiency and renewable resources in Mammoth Lakes and the High Sierra. For more info, visit www.highsierraenergy.org.