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Local officials are hoping to snag a fifty million dollar federal grant to bring emerging technology to the Geysers geothermal field, potentially boosting power generation by a third. 

The technology aims to provide more carbon free electricity when solar and wind sources drop off, such as on cloudy, still days and evenings, theoretically replacing some natural gas power plants.

Geof Syphers is the CEO of Sonoma Clean Power, which is applying for a huge federal grant.

"What Cyrq's technology does is collect the heat during hours we don't really need the power, so, like in the middle of a sunny, cool day, we don't really need geo-thermal power because solar energy is making so much power, and it's cheaper."

Syphers described technology being pushed by a Utah-based company called Cyrq. He says their innovation is a way to store that energy in super heated rock until needed. 

"If it proves out, we'd like to see it added to more existing geothermal plants," he said. 

Sonoma Clean Power has sought and gained endorsements from local governments across Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

"When the sun sets, Cyrq's technology allows us to superheat the steam coming out of the ground by adding the heat that you stored, and run your turbine way higher than it normally would have run. It's a form of thermal storage, but because you can generate electricity from it, it becomes equivalent to a battery, just a longer term battery," Syphers added. 

Two other companies are also floating concepts that could move forward in the future. Chevron New Energies has expertise in siting and engineering, while Eavor, a Canadian firm has developed a system to capture and re-use steam at the site, sharply reducing water use. 

Syphers said Sonoma Clean Power will submit the grant prior to next Tuesday's deadline, and estimated the U.S. Department of Energy should make a determination this summer.

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