Solar energy, wind power, geothermal energy and vast empty lands. This is the State of Nevada (USA), a privileged location for renewable energy generation and development. Enel Green Power, which is well aware of this, operates in the Silver State the Salt Wells and Stillwater plants, and in the latter is already building the world’s first solar power and geothermal energy hybrid facility.
According to Francesco Starace, Enel Green Power CEO, the new frontier of renewables consists precisely in hybrid technologies. Indeed, besides the Stillwater plant, EGP is planning on developing at the Salt Wells facility a hybrid geothermal-thermodynamic, the only solar power technology that can produce electricity also at nighttime.
Many innovative projects have been carried out or are being developed in Nevada. Including the conversion of urban waste into ethanol, the extraction of methane gas as a by-product of the landfill, the development of concentrating solar thermal power and the integration into the grid of all renewable sources.
Some cases are particularly outstanding, like the Churchill County, for instance, which has made the economic growth potential connected with renewable development tangible by investing $12,6 million from geothermal energy harnessing revenues within its boundaries since 2005. Indeed, the local government has used a portion of this sum to refurbish the airport, provide firemen with new vehicles and ensure the water supplies that are necessary to make the geothermal energy plants work and for the needs of the dairy breeding sector.
Specifically, geothermal is the renewable source on which the State has focused the most, up to now. Nevertheless, for the entire renewable sector the modernization of the electricity grid is essential, and this is why works have already started aimed at extending the grid by 235 miles. Thus the State’s northern and southern areas will be joined and the potential of plants further away from inhabited sites will be better exploited. This way it will be easier to reach California’s significant market.