U.S. Geothermal Inc.
TSX : GTH
NYSE MKT : HTM

U.S. Geothermal Inc.

October 23, 2014 08:00 ET

U.S. Geothermal Provides Project Update

BOISE, IDAHO--(Marketwired - Oct. 23, 2014) - (TSX:GTH)(NYSE MKT:HTM) U.S. Geothermal Inc., a leading renewable energy company focused on the development, production and sale of electricity from geothermal energy, provides this update on the results of its three operating projects for the third quarter of 2014, and the status of development activities.

OPERATIONS

Neal Hot Springs, Oregon

All three units continue to operate well, with third quarter availability for the facility of 99.1%. Generation for this third quarter of 2014 was 32,264 megawatt-hours, for a total generation for the first nine months 2014 of 128,945 megawatt-hours. This compares to 101,989 megawatt-hours for the first nine months of 2013, reflecting a 26% increase over the prior year period.

Under the terms of our Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA"), generation for July, and August were paid at the seasonally adjusted price of $123.34 per megawatt-hour and September was paid at the average 2014 contract price of $102.78 per megawatt-hour.

San Emidio, Nevada

The plant continues to operate well, with third quarter availability of 96.1%. Generation for the third quarter of 2014 was 18,240 megawatt-hours, for a total generation for the first nine months 2014 of 55,150 megawatt-hours. This compares to 55,585 megawatt-hours for the first nine months of 2013. Inclusion of higher temperature brine from well 61-21 in late September is expected to result in a moderate increase in power generation at the Phase I plant.

Under the terms of our PPA, generation during the quarter was paid at the price of $91.18 per megawatt-hour. There is no seasonal adjustment under this power purchase agreement.

Raft River, Idaho

The plant continues to operate well, with third quarter availability of 99.7%. Generation for this third quarter of 2014 was 18,500 megawatt-hours, for a total generation for the first nine months 2014 of 58,181 megawatt-hours. This compares to 55,610 megawatt-hours for the first nine months of 2013, reflecting a 5% increase over the prior year period.

Under the terms of our Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA"), generation for July and August were paid at the seasonally adjusted price of $72.86 per megawatt-hour and September was paid at the average 2014 contract price of $60.72 per megawatt-hour. In addition to the price paid for energy, Raft River currently receives $4.75 per megawatt-hour under a separate contract for the sale of Renewable Energy Credits.

"Our operations team has done an outstanding job during this first three-quarters of the year focusing on maximizing production from all of our facilities. Our units are all performing with exceptionally high availabilities, and with output that is at or above what we had expected. The total generation from all of our units for the first nine-months of 2014 was 242,276 megawatt-hours, compared to 213,184 megawatt-hours for the first nine-months of 2013, reflecting a 14% increase over the prior year period," said Dennis Gilles, Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Geothermal. "As a result of this strong performance, we anticipate our projected year-end results should be at the higher end of the guidance range previously provided."

DEVELOPMENT

El Ceibillo, Guatemala

The final lease for surface use of a 97 acre parcel was signed on October 15. Construction of a drill pad, pond and cellar for EC-2, our new well, has been completed. EC-2 is located on the new surface leasehold.

Drilling of EC-2 is expected to begin as soon as the approval to extend the development schedule contained in the concession agreement has been obtained from the Guatemalan Ministry of Energy. We are optimistic that we will receive approval of our application shortly.

San Emidio, Nevada

To further define the resource and confirm that it can support the Phase II plant, a drill rig was mobilized to the site on June 26th. Two additional wells were completed on the BLM administered land. Well OW-14 was drilled to a depth of 3,501 feet and had a bottomhole temperature of 265°F. Well OW-15 was drilled to a depth of 3,716 feet and had a maximum downhole temperature of 300°F. While the wells extended the high temperature outline of the South Zone, neither well encountered the commercial permeability seen in Well 61-21 (OW-10). Geologic, geochemical and temperature data generated by the drilling program is being evaluated to determine the next phase of drilling.

A cross tie pipeline was installed during September between the San Emidio Phase I and Phase II projects. Well 61-21 has been connected and is producing 630 gpm of 298°F fluid to the San Emidio Phase 1 power plant as part of a long term flow test of the South Zone portion of the reservoir.

A Request for Proposal ("RFP") from NV Energy for 100 megawatts of renewable energy was issued on October 1st. We are evaluating the RFP requirements and anticipate submitting a bid for the Phase II project if it qualifies. In parallel, we are investigating pursuing a power purchase agreement with California power off-takers, where power prices are typically higher.

WGP Geysers, California

We continue to evaluate the detailed design and project costs for two development scenarios: 1) Build a new power plant and sell electricity, or 2) Build pipelines and sell steam. Discussions are underway with counterparties for both scenarios, and we are reviewing several California based renewable energy contract solicitations for which the project may qualify. Designs for each scenario are being optimized, and we are refining our detailed cost estimates and associated economic models.

Gerlach, Nevada

Preparation is underway to continue evaluation of the Gerlach resource with the deepening of well 18-10A. Drilling is planned to start by early November. The 18-10A well was drilled to a depth of 1,900 feet in 2010, but was not completed at the time. The current drilling plan has a permitted depth of up to 3,000 feet. The original 18-10 well was drilled to a total depth of 2,868 feet in 1994 but was plugged and abandoned in 2006, before we acquired the property. The original well encountered a very promising, total lost circulation zone at a depth of 2,788 feet, but the well was not flow tested and the resource temperature is undetermined. The U.S. Geological Survey considered the Gerlach resource to be the 3rd largest geothermal resource in the state of Nevada in their Assessment of Geothermal Resources of the United States published in 1975.

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

Our focus on M&A activities remains very active. As noted previously, we announced the merger of Earth Power Resources ("EPR") into U.S. Geothermal on October 16. The merger is expected to close by the end of November 2014 following approval of EPR shareholders. The EPR acquisition adds high quality projects to the company's pipeline.

We are continuing due diligence on a number of other excellent opportunities that encompass operating projects, advanced development projects and green field opportunities.

REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT UPDATE

Recent developments in the market are encouraging to the growth of renewable energy, and more specifically to geothermal energy in our opinion. In California, the signing into law of AB-2363 earlier this month by the California Governor, will require the California Public Utilities Commission to establish the appropriate adders (integration cost) for each technology that must be used when evaluating bids for long term wholesale power contracts. We believe this change will add appropriate costs to wind and solar power generation due to their intermittent deliveries of power, which then should allow base load renewables like Geothermal and Biomass to compete for PPAs based on a more accurate comparison of the full cost for power. That has not been the case in the past.

Similarly, in the State of Nevada, in 2013 the legislature mandated that the utilities in the state must purchase 300 megawatts of renewable energy from independent power producers to replace coal generation that is going to be retired. In response, NV Energy has issued their first of 3 Requests for Proposal for 100 MW of renewable energy. This creates a solid market of 100 MW per year for the next three years, which provides our company with a potential path for selling power from both our existing and new projects.

In addition, there are a number of pending bills, both at the federal and state level that could have a favorable impact on future geothermal development. At the federal level, Senate Bill S-2260 would extend the current tax credits available to new geothermal plants for an additional 2 years. Under the proposed bill, plants that begin construction by December 31, 2015 would be eligible for a 30% Investment Tax Credit ("ITC"), or alternatively a 10 year Production Tax Credit ("PTC"). S-2260 has been approved by the Senate, and is now at a conference committee to be merged with a companion House tax extenders bill.

"We are very pleased with our accomplishments to date, and are optimistic with the growth opportunities that lie ahead for our company and its shareholders," said Dennis Gilles, Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Geothermal Inc. "We are currently well capitalized, and with the addition of our positive cash flows from operations, are well positioned to fund internal development, and growth through strategic M&A activities, as was demonstrated with our most recent Geysers acquisition which we acquired with cash off our balance sheet."

The Company expects to release third quarter financial results, along with 2014 and 2015 guidance, on November 13, 2014 with the earnings call on November 14, 2014 at 11:00 am Eastern.

About U.S. Geothermal Inc.:

U.S. Geothermal Inc. is a leading renewable energy company focused on the development, production and sale of electricity from geothermal energy and is operating geothermal power projects Neal Hot Springs, Oregon, San Emidio, Nevada and Raft River, Idaho. The company is currently developing a project at the Geysers, California, a second phase project at San Emidio Nevada, as well as El Ceibillo, an advanced stage, geothermal prospect located within a 24,710 acre (100sq km) energy rights concession area located 8.5 miles (14 km) from Guatemala City, the largest city in Central America.

The information provided in this news release may contain forward-looking statements within the definition of the Safe Harbor provisions of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Readers are cautioned to review the risk factors identified by the company in its filings with US and Canadian securities agencies. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein, without limitation, statements relating to the future operating or financial performance of U.S. Geothermal, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as "expects", "anticipates", "believes", "intends", "estimates", "potential", "possible", and similar expressions, or statements that events, conditions, or results "will", "may", "could", or "should" occur or be achieved. These forward-looking statements may include statements regarding perceived merit of properties; interpretation of the results of well tests; project development; resource megawatt capacity; capital expenditures; timelines; strategic plans; or other statements that are not statements of fact. Forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from U.S. Geothermal's expectations include the uncertainties involving the availability of financing in the debt and capital markets; uncertainties involved in the interpretation of results of well tests; the need for cooperation of government agencies in the development and operation of properties; the need to obtain permits and governmental approvals; risks of construction; unexpected cost increases, which could include significant increases in estimated capital and operating costs; and other risks and uncertainties disclosed in U.S. Geothermal's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013 filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian securities regulatory authorities and in other U.S. Geothermal reports and documents filed with applicable securities regulatory authorities from time to time. Forward-looking statements are based on management's expectations, beliefs and opinions on the date the statements are made. U.S. Geothermal Inc. assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if management's expectations, beliefs, or opinions, or other factors, should change.

The NYSE MKT and the TSX do not accept responsibility for the adequacy of this release.

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