Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 28 | TRs
Location: king/snohomish county
|Those who love Garland got lucky.
The Snohomish County PUD's (SNOPUD) test well at Garland came in as a total flop with none of the geological qualities needed to go through with a geothermal plant. The temperatures were far too low and there was no permeability.
The utility has know the well was a total failure since Nov. of last year when the well was completed, yet sat on the information for over three months. Insiders say the original baseline temperatures came in at less than 180 degrees, which is far less than the 250 degrees necessary to go forward with a plant. One explained, "if you have the needed temperature, it may cool down over time--but if you start out to low, it will never get any hotter."
The failure at Garland was a total catastrophe for General Manager Steve Klein and Senior Manager Craig Collar. Klein ran for office on a green-energy platform and Collar is his right-arm man in charge of bringing in the tidal, small hydro, wind and geothermal projects. All of these projects are in trouble.
The well at Garland was thought by SNOPUD to be the lone ace in an otherwise bad hand of green energy cards. Without Garland there is no hope to make the county mandate for green energy in the future.
SNOPUD had plans to develope the entire Index-Galena-Garland-Beckler loop. Lease nominations were out to ORMAT, a huge multinational drilling firm, for miles of drilling--stretching from Garland all along the Beckler River to Harlan Creek, which is by the small bridge where the paved road ends on the Beckler River Road.
SNOPUD hoped for 50MW from Garland, alone and far more from the ORMAT holdings. All was was waiting on the results of test well at Garland.
If a plant or multiple plants were built there would have been hundreds of miles of pipes running along the road and rivers from the well heads to the plants and large transmission lines hooking the plants to the grid along state highway 2.
SNOPUD has loudly tooted their horn on various web sites and to the media for over three years about their plans for the "first geothermal plant in the state of Washington," all the while playing down the enormity of their plans to develope the area.
Now an eerie silence hangs over the utility as they pick up the pieces and try to put a smiley face on an otherwise total catastrophe. There have been no press releases to date, even though the results of the well were known as far back as the end of Nov. 2011.
SNOPUD has received criticism for short-cutting the permit process and drilling the well virtually on the bank the pristine North Fork of the Skykomish river. SNOPUD even approached Sen. Patty Murray to obtain permission to drill under the boundary of the Wild Sky Wilderness. They also have been criticized for desecrating a beautiful site with a rich history.
SNOPUD must now restore the site within the contract and the wishes of the Sharpe family who leased the land to the county and are the only big winners in the drilling effort. It is assumed they will keep the well and various other improvements to their private land holding. The county taxpayers are out many $millions.