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50 Years of Development at The Geysers
The Third Decade - 1980s

Map of the Geysers Geothermal Field © Geysers Geothermal Assn. 2010

Commercial Development at The Geysers from 1980-1989

1985 Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) is the first electric utility to be in a compound role of field operator, power generator and franchised utility.

1987 Total Geysers steam production peaks at almost 250 billion pounds, sufficient for an annual average generation of 2000 megawatts.

West Ford Flat cooling tower(left) and Aerial view of working drilling pad.
PG&E Unit 11 in background.

1989 Aidlin, the last new Geysers plant is completed, bringing total installed capacity of 2043 megawatts from 23 plant sites.

SMUD  Geo #1 Power Plant

Technical Advances and Legislation at The Geysers 1980 - 1989

1981 Start up of Geysers Air Monitoring Program 1 (GAMP 1).  A joint venture between local and state govenments, industry and public agencies, it provides six air monitoring stations and three meteorological stations.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) Geothermal Program, created by AB1905, extends financial and technical assistance to promote geothermal energy in California.

Gamp equipment station (left) and air monitoring station (right)

1982 The Geysers Geothermal Association, is formed and holds its first meeting. The GGA is a non-profit trade association comprised of the various companies that constitute the geothermal industry at The Geysers in Lake and Sonoma counties in Northern California. In 1984, the GGA issues its first newsletter, The Geysers Steamline.

1986 Proposition 65, known as the "Safe Drinkng Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986" is approved.

1987 SB2315 is passed, exempting the geothermal industry from paying state sales tax on steam.

1987 - 1989 NCPA develops forked-hole drilling technology. NCPA's plant operation changes from base-loaded to a load following mode of operation, where electrical output of plants is limited during off-peak hours of the day and increased during peak hours. NCPA modified its plant cooling tower operation for better steam-use efficiency.

1989 The Geysers Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is set up by the California Energy Commission to investigate the steam decline at The Geysers.

To view the period of Commercial Development of The Geysers in the 1990s, click here

Map of the Current Geysers Geothermal Field

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Geysers Geothermal Association Website (Updated April 20, 2011)
All rights reserved. © 2011 Dorothy Beebee