16 March 2005 – Ormat Nevada, a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies broke ground Tuesday on the first geothermal electric generating plant to be built at Steamboat, Nevada since 1991.
Known as the Galena Geothermal Project, when completed the plant will be added to the existing Steamboat geothermal plants and bring the total output from this geothermal complex to 44 MW of electricity through a process that extracts and re-injects the hot geothermal waters from the ground.
The electricity produced at the plant is already under contract to Sierra Pacific Power Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sierra Pacific Resources. Sierra Pacific has purchased the output from geothermal plants at Steamboat since the mid-1980s. Ormat owns and operates four other geothermal plants at Steamboat, the oldest of which has been in operation since 1986.
“This is the first project to begin construction since the Nevada Legislature passed laws requiring utilities to supply a portion of their power from renewable energy resources,” said Dan Schochet, Vice President of Ormat. In 2001, the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 372, which requires the use of a certain percentage of renewable energy resources (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass) to generate electricity for customers within the state.
“We’re proud to be the first and to supply clean, continuous and reliable geothermal energy to Sierra Pacific for the citizens of Nevada under the pioneering Nevada legislation,” Schochet said.
According to Roberto Denis, Senior Vice President of Generation and Energy Supply for Sierra Pacific, Sierra Pacific Power purchases approximately 95 MW of electricity from geothermal sources in northern Nevada. “Another 30 MW of power under contract with Ormat is due to be supplied within the next 18 months,” he said. “Today marks another significant step in Nevada’s goal of developing more renewable resources to help meet our state’s growing power needs.”