Officials today dedicated two new geothermal power plants that will provide power in Northern Nevada to electric utility NV Energy.
The inauguration came on the same day that NV Energy reported meeting state mandates on renewable-energy use for the first time since the requirements went into effect in 1997.
The Salt Wells & Stillwater Geothermal complex in Fallon offers generation capacity of 65 megawatts, or more than 400 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. That’s enough to power 40,000 homes, and it should curb the emission of more than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas some scientists say causes global warming.
Enel Green Power, a subsidiary of Enel Group in Italy, owns and operates the plants, which created 25 jobs. More than 300 workers were employed to build the plants.
Geothermal plants use hot water from below ground to provide electricity, while conventional power plants use fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. The Nevada Legislature wants 20 percent of the Silver State’s power to come from renewable sources by 2015.
NV Energy was supposed to obtain 9 percent of its power from renewable resources in 2008. The utility told the Nevada Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday that it met that threshold, though the commission must investigate and verify the claim, said agency spokesman Sean Sever.