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A casino’s gamble on geothermal energy in Reno/ Nevada pays off

Pool and Cabanas, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, Reno/ Nevada (source: Peppermill)
Alexander Richter 22 Feb 2018

Greening the operations of a casino with geothermal energy, the great story of the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino utilising its own well drilled to utilise geothermal energy for its space and water heating needs.

The Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno, Nevada has hosted numerous geothermal events by the Geothermal Resources Council over the years and being located in the heart of the geothermal energy industry in Nevada, it might not be outrageous for it to explore utilising the energy beneath.

On its website, the casino reports on how it is utilising geothermal energy for its space and water heating.

The casino has worked on green initiatives to dramatically reduce the Resort’s carbon footprint. For several years the Resort has been mindful to minimize the impact of operations on the environment while maintaining a premiere level of service and experience for guests. The Resort has used geothermal energy to heat the domestic hot water for the Tuscany Tower, including the 43,000 square foot Spa Toscana and Fitness Center as well as the two outdoor swimming pools and spas, since the 2007 expansion project. With the culmination of a $9.7 million investment, the entire Resort is now on-line to heat both space and domestic water with geothermal energy.

As the demand to conserve increased, the Peppermill continued to investigate new and innovative ways to save precious resources. Peppermill President, Bill Paganetti, engaged world-renowned geothermal expert, Dr. Jim Combs of Geo Hills Associates LLC of Reno, to consult on the existing historical data and information from earlier projects.  Because the Peppermill already had a reinjection well on the property, Dr. Combs recommended a new geothermal well be drilled on the property.

It was a gamble. Drill a well tapping in to the geothermal aquifer, betting on finding water at the correct temperature that could be captured and converted to energy through a closed loop system then returned to the earth via a reinjection well, which would heat the entire Resort’s water and mechanical heat via geothermal energy.

With no guarantees and just a steadfast commitment, the Peppermill successfully hit proverbial pay dirt at over 4,400 feet deep, becoming geothermal energy innovators and making local history with a well of this magnitude.  “No one else has a geothermal well of this depth in the city of Reno”  said Dean Parker, Executive Facilities Director at the Peppermill. “In order for a well to produce the level of geothermal energy that could accomplish what we set out to do, we had to find water at 170 degrees that can pump 1,200 gallons per minute at 150 psi. With this well, we found that and more.”

The Peppermill is able to harness geothermal energy which now heats 100% of the Resort’s domestic water and mechanical heat throughout the 2.1 Million square feet foot facility, 24/7, effectively replacing the natural gas boilers that currently heat the facility. This renewable energy will help the Peppermill reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and save the company millions of dollars in natural gas use.

According to Dr. Combs, “The green energy heating addition to the HVAC system at the Peppermill will now make it the only resort in the United States whose heating source is totally provided from geothermal energy produced on the immediate property.”

Back in 2009, the casino even run a small geothermal power plant unit by Pratt & Whitney for a short while utilising water from the well on site.

Source: Peppermill Reno