Protecting Our Environment

Geothermal Sunrise: The hot earth steams on a cold winter morning.

Mammoth Pacific’s geothermal facilities were built to help reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.   That environmental tradition of protecting our natural resources continues today.

Mammoth Pacific’s facilities generate up to 29 megawatt of renewable power, which is enough to power approximately 22,000 homes.   This electricity is created in an environmentally sound manner, protecting our natural resources for future generations.   Because there is no combustion involved, geothermal facilities do not have the emissions associated with fossil fuel-fired facilities.   This means reduced air and global warming pollution and a cleaner environment for the Eastern Sierra.

Conservation is an important part of California’s energy policies, and Mammoth Pacific supports these efforts as a means to achieving sustainability. We also believe that renewable energy should serve a larger component of the state’s power needs and support the Governor's initiative for a 50% for 2050 renewable portfolio standard.

Reducing Dependence on Fossil Fuels

Ormat, which owns Mammoth Pacific, continues to hold the position of second-largest geothermal power producer in the U.S.  In addition, in 2013, Ormat supplied over 70% of all new geothermal power plants worldwide.  In 2014, Ormat-owned facilities generated approximately 4.5 million MWh of electricity worldwide when compared with other baseload electricity generation, such as coal, oil and gas-fired power plants (all of which are fossil-fuel based), Ormat's emission levels were less than 3% of those producing the same amount of electricity. In addition, Ormat has two power plants registered as a Clean Development Mechanism by the Executive Board of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Renewable Portfolio Standard

In 2002, with strong support from the environmental community, California passed legislation establishing a “Renewable Portfolio Standard.”   This law requires utilities to increase the amount of renewable energy they sell to 20 percent by 2017.

Established in 2002 under Senate Bill 1078, accelerated in 2006 under Senate Bill 107 and expanded in 2011 under Senate Bill 2, California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) is one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country. The RPS program requires investor-owned utilities (IOUs), municipal utilities, and community choice aggregators to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33% of total procurement by 2020, and to 50% of total procurement by 2030.

Geothermal energy is a key component of renewable portfolio standards. Geothermal power is efficient and highly reliable—especially when compared to other renewable energy technologies that are heavily dependent on the weather.

Geothermal facilities can have a capacity factor of over 95 percent. Due to our efforts to stay at the cutting edge of technology, Mammoth Pacific  facilities run at a high capacity factor most of the time providing the state with reliable, baseload power while also allowing for routine maintenance to ensure top performance (in comparison, wind projects in the state have 24 percent capacity factor according to the California Energy Commission).

Geothermal facilities also have a small footprint and can be designed to blend into the landscape and minimize visual impacts

Improving Air Quality

Beautiful snow covered mountains overlook Mammoth Pacific's geothermal facilities

Reducing our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels has other benefits too. In the United States, air quality continues to be a great environmental concern that threatens the health of millions of people.   Although development of renewable resources is not the total solution to our air quality problems, it is part of the answer.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, electricity produced from geothermal resources in the U.S. prevents the emission of 22 million tons of carbon dioxide, 200,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 80,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 110,000 tons of particulate matter every year compared to conventional coal-fired plants.   In fact, Mammoth Pacific has none of these emissions.

The Energy Information Administration estimates that emissions of carbon dioxide from electricity generation are expected to continue to grow in the energy industry.   More power from geothermal resources would help reverse this trend.

Environmental Recognition

At Mammoth Pacific, environmental protection is one of our top priorities, and we are proud of our record. Elected officials, trade associations, community groups and industry regulators have recognized Mammoth Pacific for its outstanding record on environmental protection and operations excellence. For example:

Mammoth Pacific has been the recipient of the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources Outstanding Lease Maintenance Award for 14 times since 1989.  The facility has been recognized for its environmental stewardship, safety and resource management. Mammoth Pacific is the only geothermal operation to receive this honor so consistently. We attribute this to our dedicated employees who work very hard to ensure that we achieve our commitment to protect our natural resources.