Alternate power sources getting cheaper, policy group says

By JOHN G. EDWARDS

Nov. 17, 2000 (www.lvrj.com)—Alternate power sources could soon become cost-effective alternatives to meet Nevada's future energy needs, the governor's energy policy advisory committee was told Thursday.

"The solar potential for Nevada is arguably the best in the world," said Richard Bradshaw, special assistant to the assistant secretary of the Department of Energy. "It's certainly the best in the United States," Bradshaw said. "This resource is largely undeveloped."

Bradshaw — who told the advisory committee he was speaking as an individual, not a government spokesman — also argued for further development of wind and geothermal resources, such as the power plants in Northern Nevada that use underground heat to create electricity.

Committee member Terry Graves, noting that many renewable power sources are still expensive, however, asked Bradshaw if Nevada shouldn't "wait until the economics are there for these (renewable power) plants?"

Bradshaw noted that geothermal plants and wind power plants already can generate electricity at costs competitive with conventional power plants. In the Midwest, some wind plants are generating electricity at not much more than the 4 cents per kilowatt hour cost of burning natural gas to generate power, he said.

"Geothermal is getting down to that level," he added. And while solar power technology has yet to become competitive with conventional power sources, he said, "We can't let solar wither on the vine. The potential is there."

Additionally, Bradshaw said that natural gas-fired power plants can be competitive when coupled with solar generation facilities that account for as much as one-quarter of the output, he said. Terry Page, a consultant to companies that plan independent power plants in Nevada, told the committee that regulatory delays in getting permits were a key factor. He suggested Nevada government agencies, if led by one agency, could cut six months from the estimated four-year time frame for building new power plants.

Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, backed that idea. "None of us wants to be held hostage for four years" waiting for completion of a new power plant that could increase supply, he said. A number of giant energy companies, such as Reliant Energy and Sempra Energy, want to build generation plants in Nevada. Morgan Stanley, the New York brokerage and investment banking company, plans to build a 360-megawatt plant at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park.

David Donnelly, deputy general manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, told the committee that these power plants are competing with other users of water. A water-cooled, natural gas-fired power plant uses about 10 times as much water as an air cooled one. Some water-cooled plants need 8,000 acre feet of water yearly, enough water for 50,000 people, Donnelly said.

In a few years, the Las Vegas area's water needs may exceed the available water supply from the Colorado River and underground reservoirs, he said. Page said water-cooled power plants are 5-7 percent more efficient than air-cooled facilities generally and 17-18 percent more efficient when outdoor temperature hits 90 degrees. Water-cooled plants also pollute the air less, he said.

Copyright (c) Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1997 - 2000

Sponsored by FLSmidth

Related Articles

Cape Wind secures $400M more in financing for offshore project

Cape Wind said it has secured an additional $400 million dollars from several financial institutions for the offshore wind project slated to be built in Nantucket Sound.

Dragonfly Solar, SolarWorld to deliver solar power to utility co-ops

Commercial solar developer, Dragonfly Solar and SolarWorld, a solar manufacturer, will deliver solar arrays, totaling 517-kW to four electric utility cooperatives in the U.S. Midwest.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter

Latest News

Monticello nuclear power plant has increased NRC oversight

NRC continues oversight of Monticello nuclear power plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it will continue increased oversight of the...
Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant lawsuit Germany

German co-op to sue over Hinkley Point C nuclear incentives

A German energy cooperative said it will sue the European Commission over incentives for a nu...
University of Iowa plans steam generating power plant

University of Iowa proposes $75 million power plant

University of Iowa officials are ready to begin planning a steam production plant on the west...
Saudi Arabia South Korea nuclear power cooperation deal memorandum of understanding

Saudi Arabia, S. Korea sign nuclear power deal

Saudi Arabia and South Korea signed a deal to build nuclear power plants in the Kingdom.

W.Va. gov signs bill letting lawmakers OK state carbon plan

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill letting lawmakers approve state plans to m...
 Nuclear company Areva in turmoil after billions in losses

Nuclear company Areva in turmoil after billions in losses

Nuclear manufacturer Areva has announced a 4.8 billion euro loss for 2014, more than its enti...
 Electric utility Dominion flexes political muscles in Virginia

Electric utility Dominion flexes political muscles in Virginia

Virginia's 2015 legislative session was a good one for energy giant Dominion Resources Inc. (...
Callaway Energy Center's Replacement Reactor Vessel Closure Head Project

[Image Gallery] Callaway Energy Center Nuclear Power Upgrade Project

Power Engineering Current Issue

03/01/2014
Volume 118, Issue 3
1403PE-cover

Products Showcase

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Industry Wire News

Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy Issues Statement After Oregon House passes SB 324

Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy Issues Statement After Oregon House passes SB 324

CRMI Retools Transition Team; Senior Management Changes Announced; New Stock Transfer Agent Appointed

CRMI Retools Transition Team; Senior Management Changes Announced; New Stock Transfer A...

GulfSlope Energy to Present at the 27th Annual Roth Conference

GulfSlope Energy to Present at the 27th Annual Roth Conference

Will the U.S. Shale Boom Fuel Asia's Economic Future and Europe's Energy Security?

Will the U.S. Shale Boom Fuel Asia's Economic Future and Europe's Energy Security?

American Dryer's eXtremeAir Cold Plasma Clean(R) Technology Kills Influenza A Virus

American Dryer's eXtremeAir Cold Plasma Clean(R) Technology Kills Influenza A Virus

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>