News

Nevada Power eyeing own investment in geothermal project

Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 5 Jan 2009

Nevada Power Co, the electric utility serving Las Vegas, is preparing to consider its first investment in a geothermal power project in Northern Nevada. State regulators just approved the method with which the utility plans to act on.

Nevada Power Co, the electric utility serving Las Vegas, is preparing to consider its first investment in a geothermal power project in Northern Nevada. State regulators just approved the method with which the utility plans to act on. The plan is to enter a joint ownership agreement for the Carson Lake Geothermal Power Project with Ormat Nevada, a geothermal development company in Reno and a daughter of Ormat Technologies.

The joint ownership agreement only will be entered if Ormat determines it can build a geothermal power plant that will generate 30 megawatts or more of electricity, said NV Energy renewable energy executive Tom Fair.

If Ormat’s drilling, which is going on now, indicates a lesser amount of generation capacity, Nevada Power will allow Ormat to develop it as 100 percent owner, Fair said.

Geothermal power plants use steam and hot underground water to generate electricity.

The Public Utilities Commission on Monday voted 3-0 to allow Nevada Power to sell power from the Fallon plant to Sierra Pacific Power Co., an affiliated Reno-based utility that also does business as NV Energy.

Most of the good geothermal sites are located in Northern Nevada, far from Nevada Power. So the Southern Nevada utility entered the power sales agreement with Sierra Pacific.

The arrangement allows Nevada Power to get renewable credits that can be used to satisfy state minimum requirements for “green” power, although the Southern Nevada utility has no direct connection with Sierra Pacific Power.

In other cases, Nevada Power has contracted to buy geothermal power from independent companies, he said.

The arrangement will become unnecessary when a planned transmission line is built to connect the two utilities, he said.

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal, via istockanalyst.com