Northwest Renewable News

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NV Energy signs pact for solar plant in Amargosa Valley March 9, 2009

Filed under: Nevada,Renewable Energy Projects,Solar — nwrenewablenews @ 1:04 am
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NV Energy and Solar Millenium, together with its joint venture partner MAN Ferrostaal Inc., have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop solar power facilities in Amargosa Valley.

The initial project under consideration is a 250-megawatt solar trough technology plant, the companies announced in a press release Tuesday.

A megawatt is enough power to serve roughly 675 homes; using that formula a 250 megawatt plant would be able to provide electricity to 168,750 homes.

The press release only refers to a site in Nye County. Solar Millenium has applications for rights-of-way from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for three sites in Amargosa Valley. The BLM would have to conduct an environmental impact statement on solar projects on public land, which is expected to take a year and a half to two years.

NV Energy spokesman Adam Grant said a specific site has not been announced yet but the company is looking at Amargosa Valley. He said it’s the first time NV Energy signed an MOU with a company interested in building a solar plant.

“We hope to find the support from the involved agencies to be able to permit the power plants such that we can start construction no later than 2010,” said Uwe T. Schmidt, CEO of MAN Ferrostaal Inc. “Having constructed more than 5,000 facilities around the world we are very much looking forward to building a CSP plant with NV Energy that will set a new benchmark for advanced solar energy in the U.S.”

Plans call for the project to be completed in 2013-14, depending on permitting, financing and other government approvals. The company is undertaking transmission and environmental studies, along with financing options. Grant said resource studies will be included, determining the solar potential of the location.

The plant would include thermal storage, enabling the plant to produce energy beyond daylight hours during hot summer months when electricity demand is at its highest, the companies state. That technology is being used at Solar Millenium sites in Spain, the company states.

“NV Energy is excited about being involved in storage technology that has long been talked about. As a result, we expect that our company will remain at the forefront of utilizing renewable resources and technologies in this case solar energy, for the benefit of our customers and the environment,” said Michael Yackira, president and CEO of NV Energy.

The law requires utilities like NV Energy to have 20 percent of their source of power from renewable energy by 2015. Grant said developing renewable energy resources is part of a three-fold company strategy along with energy efficiency and conservation, clean and efficient generation.

The local electric cooperative, Valley Electric Association, is not bound by a requirement to have a percentage of renewable power, unless state law is changed.

“Solar technologies have been making great strides in the last several years,” Yackira said. “It is now reasonable to believe that projects like this one will be capable of providing a reliable power supply as part of a mix of resources that will include other types of renewable resources as well as clean and efficient traditional generation such as natural gas-fired plants. Such a project as the one being studied in Nye County would also provide a boost to the local economy.”

By MARK WAITE, Pahrump Valley Times –


NV Energy offers incentives for renewable power March 5, 2009

Filed under: Farm/Ranch,Micro Hydro,Nevada,Wind — nwrenewablenews @ 6:05 pm
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NV Energy Inc. is offering cash incentives to farmers and ranchers to offset the costs of installing wind or hydro power generating sources.

Officials say the new WindGenerations and HydroGenerations programs are an expansion of the company’s solar program that provides cash incentives to offset costs for installation of solar panels.

Similar incentives are already provided to all utility customers who install wind turbines.

Company officials say the rebates can offset up to 60 percent of the cost of the installed system.

HydroGenerations incentives for agricultural customers are paid by NV Energy according to the size of system installed.

Associated Press –


Smart-Grid Infrastructure: Large Nevada Transmission Line Proposed January 21, 2009

Filed under: Geothermal,Nevada,Smart Grid — nwrenewablenews @ 1:43 pm
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For years, utility industry executives and regulators have longed to have one transmission line that directly connected Nevada Power Co. of Las Vegas with Reno-based Sierra Pacific Power Co.

The two companies, now both known as NV Energy, have been isolated from each other although they are part of the same holding company, NV Energy Inc.

A few weeks ago, LS Power of East Brunswick, N.J., was approved to build a transmission line on the east side of Nevada linking Las Vegas with transmission lines near Ely that run to Reno. LS Power hasn’t said whether it can sell enough transmission capacity to make the line feasible.

Now, Vulcan Power Co. of Bend, Ore., wants to build a second line on the west side of Nevada.

Vulcan wants state approval to build a 347-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line that would run from Yerington in the north to Jean in the south, giving Las Vegas and Southern California access to geothermal power resources in northern Nevada.

NV Energy continues to plan its own transmission lines on both sides of the state, spokesman Adam Grant said.

Vulcan is seeking Public Utilities Commission approval under the state’s Utility Environmental Protection Act. Separately, the company has applied to the federal Bureau of Land Management for a 200-foot right of way.

The transmission line would interconnect with Vulcan’s planned line that would run from Fernley to Bishop, Calif. The Fernley-Bishop line is undergoing environmental review, and Vulcan expects to start building it later this year.


BLM opens 4 new offices to expidite Renewable development January 20, 2009

Filed under: Nevada,Northern California,Renewable Energy Projects — nwrenewablenews @ 3:52 pm

The Bureau of Land Management has authorized the establishment of 4 special offices to expedite and accelerate the development of renewable energy resources on public land.

1 of those offices will be in Wyoming. The others are planned for Arizona, Nevada and California.

Outgoing Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said in a statement last week that the primary job of the four new offices is “to expedite development of wind, solar, biomass and geothermal resources on public lands.”

He also mentioned the development of electrical transmission facilities.

The renewables offices are to be staffed by BLM employees working in a variety of natural resource specialties, and receive staff support from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service experts and other agencies within the Interior Department.


Reno Wind Farm on Hold January 7, 2009

Filed under: Nevada,Renewable Energy Projects,Wind — nwrenewablenews @ 1:59 pm

Washoe County planning commissioners have postponed until next month a decision on permits for a wind farm in Warm Springs Valley north of Reno.

At a public hearing Tuesday night, many area residents opposed the $190 million project that would allow 44 turbines near their rural homes, many on 40-acre parcels.

“These things are huge,” said resident Dan Herman. “I am going to be looking directly at them. I will hear the whoop, whoop, whoop of the blades.”

Another resident, Larry Johnson, said he didn’t oppose the project, but was concerned about roads and construction.

“We need to make sure residents are protected, roads maintained and this is done right,” Johnson said. He estimated more than 50,000 water truck trips would be needed to minimize dust during construction. The developer, Nevada Wind, estimates 1,400 trips.

“Our dirt roads can’t stand up to that level of traffic,” Johnson said.

Nevada Wind says the turbines would produce enough power for up to 36,000 homes.

The Washoe County Commission has made developing alternative energy resources a top priority.

Additionally, Nevada’s main utility company, NV Energy, is required by state law to add wind, solar and geothermal energy sources, and the power company must agree to accept the Nevada Wind power as a project condition.

At 300 feet tall with 250-foot blades, the turbines would be seen from throughout the valley and from Nixon and Sutcliffe on the northeast side of the Pah Rah Range. Every third turbine would have flashing lights required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Certainly, turbines are going to be visible. They have to be located on the top of the ridges,” said Trevor Lloyd, county planner.

The project, if built in 2010 as proposed, is expected to be the first in Nevada and entirely on private easements.


Nevada’s renewable energy possibilities are vast December 17, 2008

Filed under: Geothermal,Nevada,Solar,Wind — nwrenewablenews @ 3:18 am
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Maps showing vast stretches of Nevada that would eventually be alternative energy generating sites linked to power transmission lines were outlined Tuesday by a special commission formed by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

The Nevada Renewable Energy Transmission Access Advisory Committee displayed the maps at a meeting held on the same day that Democratic state leaders met with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Las Vegas, to discuss renewable energy.

The Republican governor said his advisory committee spent 18 months developing the maps, which show how geothermal, wind and solar energy can be generated and linked to a power grid serving Nevada and other states.

The advisory committee maps show solar power sites covering broad swaths of southern Nevada, and wind and geothermal energy areas in western, central and eastern parts of the state. It’s estimated that the areas could generate tens of thousands of kilowatt hours of power.

For more info on Nevada’s renewable energy possibilities go to the Renewable Energy Transmission Access Advisory Committee’s web site at:


Wind Farm in Nevada’s Virgina Mountain Range Proposed December 10, 2008

Filed under: Legal/Courts,Nevada,Renewable Energy Projects,Wind — nwrenewablenews @ 11:01 pm
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High energy prices are forcing many to look at alternative energy sources. Tonight, many people attended an open house to get information about a new wind energy planned for the outskirts of Virginia City.

“We have a lot of area, we have a lot of wind and we have a lot of sun, Ed Cook of Dayton says. Those could be reasons why Nevada would be a perfect place for renewable energy.

Great basin wind filed an application to start the process of placing wind-powered turbines along the Virginia Mountain Range. “The Comstock was what led the state for quite awhile–this is a new time for the Comstock to be leading the state,” Rich Hamilton of Great Basin Wind says.

At a public meeting at the Bureau of Land Management’s district office, many residents seemed to be in favor of taking that lead. “I think it’s a good alternative–I think that where we have wind we should be utilizing it,” Tricia Lincoln says. “I think it’s a very good idea we need all the green energy we can get,” Cook adds.

Great Basin Wind officials say right now on the map–there are 71 proposed turbines shown here in green. The turbine towers would be 210 to 330 feet tall. The three blades would be 115 to 170 feet long. Great Basin officials say the turbines could produce as much as 192 megawatts of electricity–powering more than 21,000 homes. Officials say it also has other benefits. “We have a very nice levelized cost structures. It’s good for the rate payers because when you use renewable, one the jobs stay here. The power comes from here, the power stays here. We don’t buy power from out of state,” Hamilton says.

Although officials say those are the benefits so many need in hard economic times, others are opposed to the project. “It’s madness. To put winds turbines up above our historic city borders on insanity,” Daan Eggenberger says. Before any turbines actually go up, the BLM needs to conduct an environmental impact statement. That could take about two years.