Work starts on first hybrid solar power – geothermal energy plant

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says construction on the world’s first hybrid geothermal energy and solar energy plant is starting in northern Nevada. Reid said Tuesday that Enel Green Power North America’s geothermal energy plant in Churchill County is adding a solar project.

The announcement came minutes before the start of the fourth-annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas. Politicians and green technology leaders are attending the meeting to discuss energy security and independence.

Those scheduled to appear include Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and California Gov. Jerry Brown. Chu said in his opening remarks that oil prices will increase while green energy will become cheaper in the future. He also says science education is a top priority.

One of the largest power plant developers in the world, Enel, is building the project. The company decided to go with PV because of the cost competitiveness of the technology. But Enel is also in the early stages of developing a similar hybrid Concentrating Solar Power-Geothermal “test plant” in the same location.

“All these things are going to be necessary as we move into renewables,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, speaking at the press conference. “This is an incredible new technology that can be used across the country.”