The Geysers Power Co. will pay $2.1 million to California's general fund for allegedly violating fire-protection requirements at six of its geothermal power plants in Northern California, the California Energy Commission decided on Nov. 16.

CEC staff in 2018 identified fire-protection issues at the plants and in December, a transformer caught fire at Unit 5 of the plant (see CEM No. 1571).

However, the CEC said many of the plants' fire-protection issues were part of their original construction, prior to GPC's acquisition of the facilities in 1998 and 1999, according to the settlement agreement.

GPC's work to resolve the issues since the investigation was completed have saved the CEC time and resources, the settlement says. Therefore, CEC staff and GPC agreed that it would be more productive to focus on the ongoing recommissioning actions at the power plants, according to the settlement.

GPC operates six geothermal power plants in Lake and Sonoma counties, the first renewable-energy facilities approved by the CEC. The plants began operating in 1982 and generate 300 MW of clean baseload electricity, the CEC said.

Staff Writer

David Krause is an energy reporter covering the California Energy Commission and Air Resources Board. He writes about transportation, climate change, utilities, and wildfires. He has an MFA in Writing, an MA in English, and a BS in Civil Engineering.