FALLON, Nev.—Nevada's Churchill County is now home to the world's largest and most technically advanced geothermal plants in the world.
Enel North America dedicated the two plants Wednesday in Stillwater and Salt Wells near Fallon.
The plants are the first projects in Nevada for Enel, headquartered in Italy. The firm has renewable energy projects in more than 20 countries.
Officials said the plants will generate 65 megawatts of power, enough to supply 40,000 households.
"Nevada is well positioned to take advantage of renewable energy; we're in a better position than any other state in the country," U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., said at a dedication ceremony.
Nevada Public Utilities Commissioner Rebecca Wagner said the $200 million plants put the state closer to meeting a goal of producing 20 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2015.
Meeting that obligation and further enhancing Nevada's geothermal potential will also get a boost from $12 million in federal stimulus money, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday in Reno.
Reid, D-Nev., announced that geothermal potential is being explored at the Army depot in Hawthorne and Naval Air Station Fallon.
Lt. Col. Kimberly Gilbert-Mason, Hawthorne depot commander, said the site was chosen to participate in the Army's energy conservation effort and it is the only Army installation in the country exploring geothermal power to fuel its energy needs.
She said two test holes already drilled at the depot will be evaluated in June and have the potential to provide 30 megawatts of power. Two more test holes are to be drilled.
At the Navy base in Fallon, stimulus money will be used to explore the southwest corner of its Bravo 16 area and Dixie Valley for geothermal sources to build a planned 30 megawatt power plant by 2011, said Capt. Michael Glaser, the base commander.
Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com