Nevada Geothermal Energy Will Help Power LA

For the first time, geothermal energy produced in Nevada will come to California.

This renewable energy first is slated to occur before the end of the year, when Ormat Technologies fires up its Wild Rose geothermal power plant in Mineral County, Nevada. The company announced this week that the energy produced at Wild Rose – expected to average about 16 megawatts – would be sold to Southern California Public Power Authority under a 20-year agreement.

Here’s an interesting thing about this agreement: We actually know the price. “Ormat will sell the power to SCPPA at $99 per megawatt hour with no annual escalation,” Ormat said.

That’s a competitive price compared to other new generation sources and 10 or 15 years from now it could very well be a bargain. The Nevada geothermal will also help the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) – which is buying the energy, with Burbank Water and Power, from SCPPA – to chip away at its reliance on coal. LADWP has vowed to be coal-free by 2025.

“Given the location of the Wild Rose geothermal plant and the way it will interconnect with the transmission system, the power could ultimately serve as a replacement for coal power LADWP receives from the Intermountain Power Plant in Utah,” Aram Benyamin, senior assistant general manager-power at LADWP, said in a statement. “So when you think about strategy, this could really open up the northern Nevada geothermal area and help us achieve our goal to stop using coal by 2025 and allow better integration of renewable resources in our portfolio.”

Benhaymin was referring to a new transmission line being built by NV Energy that will make the Western grid more flexible for renewables.

“Electricity from Wild Rose geothermal power plant will be transmitted to LADWP and BWP through NV Energy’s transmission system,” Ormat said. “NV Energy’s system includes the new 500 kV One Nevada Transmission Line that will connect service areas in both northern and southern Nevada. The line is expected to be operational by the end of this year.”

Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.