The 70-megawatt New York Canyon Geothermal Project has been approved recently as reported on the Dept. of the Interior website. (Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel made the announcement.) ‘Today’s approvals will help bolster rural economies by generating good jobs and reliable power and advance our national energy security,’ she explained. Since 2009, the DOI has approved 11 geothermal plants.
The site for the new geothermal plant will be 25 miles east of Lovelock, Nevada in Pershing County. About 150 jobs will be created when construction is in full gear. When completed, the plant will employ about 16 people in full or part-time positions.
The land that will be used by the project is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. A BLM fact sheet for the project says the plant will be able to power about 60,000 homes. One big advantage of geothermal over other alternative energy forms is that it is constant. In other words, wind and solar are intermittent, depending on weather conditions, but geothermal plants produce energy at the same levels constantly.
An advantage of this particular geothermal project is that no endangered or threatened species were found to be living in the immediate area where the construction will take place. This is an important fact, because in some cases involving solar technology installations, local wildlife impacts were significant enough to be controversial, and even require much better planning for the sake of ecological sensitivity. It makes no sense to install a more environmentally-friendly energy plant, while destroying or damaging the local habitats it resides within.
An electrical transmission facility and 230 kilo-volt electrical line will also be installed at the site. The plant’s developer is TGP Dixie Development Company, LLC, a subsidiary of TerraGen Power, LLC.
While some may not be impressed by a plant that is 70 MW, these kinds of projects are setting an important precedent, because their success neutralizes the people who say alternative energy is only a marginal technology. In other words, once this plant is providing reliable electricity to tens of thousands of Nevadans, there will no longer be any rational argument to made against it. Also, the costs of such plants will decrease as more and more are built. Lastly, they also serve as educational experiences, meaning engineers, planners and construction workers are all learning while they are on the job, and creating more insights they can apply to the next plant.