Nevada’s first commercial wind power farm — Pattern Energy’s 151-MW Spring Valley Wind project — is up and running, a milestone that is being marked by a public ceremony on the project site near the town of Ely.
Government officials, including long-time renewable energy boosters US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) were on hand to dedicate the Spring Valley Wind farm’s commissioning. Salazar and Reid, who this past week hosted a national clean energy summit in Las Vegas, applauded the public-private partnership which brought the project to fruition while highlighting the beneficial economic, social, and environmental aspects of the project, adding that it’s just the first step in developing Nevada’s wind energy resources.
“I couldn’t be happier that Nevada’s first commercial wind facility is located in Spring Valley,” Sen. Reid stated in a press release. “Pattern has done a tremendous job working with White Pine County, the State of Nevada and other Federal agencies to bring clean, affordable power to more than 45,000 Nevada homes.
Advancing Smart Renewable Energy Development, in Nevada and across the US
“We have just begun to tap into Nevada’s tremendous wind energy resources and more job-creating projects like this will be good for our economy and our environment. Renewable energy is the way of the future. There is no reason in the world, with all the renewable energy sources Nevada has, that we shouldn’t be energy independent.”
Salazar pointed out the project’s relevance as the Obama Administration seeks to accelerate US solar, wind and renewable energy development. The Obama Administration just this week announced its plan to significantly expand renewable energy projects on public lands, as well as an initiative to streamline and speed up the federal permitting and review process for renewable energy projects.
“Advancing smart renewable energy development on our nation’s public lands is a key component to President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy,” added Interior Secretary Salazar. “Starting today, Nevada’s first wind energy project on public lands will begin powering the grid. This is a great milestone in the collaborative public-private partnership on clean energy that is creating jobs, generating power, strengthening our economy and making us more competitive globally.”
Collaborative, Public-Private Process
Pattern Energy CEO Mike Garland emphasized the collaborative, public-private nature of project, as well as its long-term benefits. “Building Nevada’s first wind energy facility was a collaborative process that would not have been possible without the strong support and hard work of numerous groups and individuals across the state and around the country. Spring Valley Wind had the benefit of receiving bi-partisan support from Senator Reid, Senator Heller, Secretary Salazar, and local government officials as well as the great people of Ely,” Garland said.
“We were also able to work constructively with many others, including the local Native American tribes and environmental groups. We thank them for their support and look forward to being a valued member of the community and providing significant benefits to the community and school system for decades to come.”
To date, Nevada has grown to become a center for geothermal power companies and projects. In addition to being rich in geothermal energy, it’s also home to substantial wind and solar energy resources, however.
Approximately 240 jobs were created during construction of the Spring Valley Wind Farm, along with 13 full-time permanent positions for ongoing operations and maintenance. In addition, the wind power project is expected to generate more than $20 million in tax revenue for White Pine County and the state of Nevada’s Renewable Energy Fund over the next 20 years.
Mortenson Construction managed construction of the project, which utilizes 66 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines and is connected to an existing 230 kilovolt transmission line for electricity distribution.
Pattern Energy’s entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy for the sale of the clean, renewable power produced by the Spring Valley Wind Farm. Spring Valley Wind will be the fourth wind farm Pattern has brought into commercial operation in North America. It’s one of a number of wind power projects that Pattern expects to bring into operation over the next 12 months in North America, Puerto Rico, and Latin America, the company says.