Nevada Power Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sierra Pacific Resources, has received approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada for development of two renewable energy generating plants. Combined, both projects will represent a company investment of more than $100 million. Additionally, the Commission gave approval for the company to spend $3.5 million on renewable transmission system routing and siting studies.

“The Commission’s action marks a significant milestone, demonstrating our company’s commitment to invest in renewables projects,” said Michael Yackira, president and CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources. “These facilities will make an essential contribution to help assure clean, affordable and reliable energy, somewhat buffering our customers from future fossil fuel market uncertainties, most notably natural gas price increases.”

The Commission approved a 30-megawatt (MW) co-development geothermal project with Ormat, a world-leading geothermal company headquartered in Reno, at Carson Lake, Nev., located approximately 70 miles southeast of Reno. The project will sit on federal lands, a portion of which includes the Naval Air Station at Fallon, Nev.

Also approved was the company’s proposal to invest in a six-MW heat recovery energy generating facility at Goodsprings, approximately 30 miles south of Las Vegas. The project, which will be located at the Kern River Gas compressor station, will be the company’s first investment in a renewable energy project in southern Nevada. Ormat is supplying the heat-recovery generating equipment and will build the project for Nevada Power.

Yackira added, “Nevada is already number one in solar and geothermal power per capita and we are continuing to push forward aggressively. We currently have 23 other geothermal plants under contract, and are actively pursuing further investments in geothermal, solar and wind energy.”

The transmission studies are part of the utilities’ long-range plan to bring increased amounts of renewable energy to the State’s consumers. If fully built-out, the system could be comprised of more than 500 miles of new 345 kV transmission lines and a number of new substations located strategically to provide improved grid access for geothermal, wind and solar plants that are under development, as well as meeting the utilities’ other needs. Individual transmission projects comprising the system will be subject to Commission approval.

“We are continuing to plan for expansion of our transmission grid to assure that the State’s own renewable energy resources can be tapped and brought to our customers,” Yackira stated.