Ormat uses highly efficient ABB generators to produce clean geothermal power

Ormat uses highly efficient ABB generators to produce clean geothermal power

Ormat Technologies has been partnering with ABB for more than ten years and has sourced ABB generators for major geothermal plants in the U.S. For a new geothermal project in Indonesia, Ormat has chosen a generator designed according to ABB’s Top Industrial Efficiency (TIE) option for optimized efficiency and built from Greenforge® steel.

Ormat Technologies is a leader in renewable energy and a world-class developer in the geothermal sector. Geothermal power plants use heat from deep within the earth, providing clean, stable and renewable power that can also serve as baseload.  

ABB has been working with Ormat for over ten years, supplying generators for a number of geothermal projects. It has supplied AMS synchronous generators ranging in power from 25 to 52.2 MVA and designed for operation with Ormat binary turbines. ABB also provides domain expertise to support Ormat with issues relating to generator design and the generator / turbine interface.

Powering Los Angeles  

One of Ormat’s most significant projects in recent years using ABB generators has been the McGinness Hills geothermal complex in Nevada. Owned and operated by Ormat, it consists of three power plants with a total generating capacity of around 146 MW gross, making it the fourth largest geothermal complex in the United States. Power from McGinness Hills is supplied to users in Nevada and Southern California, including the city of Los Angeles.

Roey Shachar, Electrical Engineering Department Manager, Ormat states:

“We have been purchasing ABB generators for our Geothermal power plants for 15 years. Lately we have purchased from ABB 70 MVA 59.5MW 4 pole generator for one of Ormat's larger power plants. The synergy between our dedicated team and ABB's technology ensures that our power plants meet the highest standards of efficiency, reliability, and sustainability. It also highlights our joint commitment to driving the energy industry forward. Together, we are raising the bar for excellence in power generation, while also advancing the cause of a greener and more sustainable future.”

  • McGinness Hills in California. Image provided by Ormat.
  • McGinness Hills in California. Image provided by Ormat.

Following McGinness Hills and other successful projects in the United States, Ormat has selected an ABB generator for the Ijen project in Indonesia. Ijen is the first geothermal plant in East Java, and is being developed by Ormat in a joint venture with an Indonesian partner, in which Ormat holds a 49% equity interest. The plant will be constructed in stages, with the first phase expected to generate 34.9 MW gross in 2025.

Ran Reshef, VP International Sales, Ormat adds:

“Geothermal energy is a source of sustainable power that not only fuels our present but powers our future. Its potential to provide clean, reliable energy is huge, and at Ormat, we are committed to harnessing its possibilities to shape a greener, more sustainable world for generations to come.

I am sure that our upcoming projects will push the boundaries of geothermal technology, and our partnership with ABB stands as a testament to our dedication to pioneering advancements in this field, setting new standards for the Geothermal industry.”

Optimized efficiency with Top Industrial Efficiency  

The ABB generator for the Ijen power plant is designed according to the Top Industrial Efficiency (TIE) option for optimized efficiency, and it achieves an efficiency level of 98.7% at unity power factor. High efficiency will enable the plant to minimize losses and optimize utilization of the geothermal energy source. Based on Indonesia’s current average energy mix, the site will save around 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. At the same time the synchronous generator’s rotating mass will help to improve the stability and short-circuit capability of the grid.

The TIE option is an initiative where the manufacturer (in this case, ABB) commits to supply the most energy efficient solution possible without compromising on reliability, complexity or compliance with specifications. ABB has introduced TIE as a free concept - open also to other vendors – with the aim of promoting products and solutions that reduce CO2 emissions while increasing sustainability.

The sustainability of the generator and Ijen project overall is further enhanced by ABB’s use of Greenforge® steel sourced from Sweden-based Björneborg Steel. The rotor is produced from steel forged in a process that is 96% fossil free, with the remaining 4% climate compensated by the manufacturer. As a result the forging process is 100% climate neutral – a factor that enables power plant developers and operators to make their entire supply chain greener.

ABB’s highly efficient and sustainably manufactured generators are a great match with clean, renewable geothermal power production. They are an essential tool for power plant operators seeking ways to reach their decarbonization and net zero targets.


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