During the opening of the fourth annual clean energy conference, Senator Harry Reid unveiled the plan for the first ever hybrid geothermal and solar plant. This would combine two of the most popular renewable energy sources in Nevada in a single power plant.
The hybrid plant will be installed at the existing Stillwater Geothermal Plant, which is about 75 miles outside of Reno. Once completed, it would be able to generate 24 megawatts of additional power. It would also produce 150 construction jobs.
The hybrid plant will be built by Enel Green Power, in partnership with Bombard Renewable Energy. The latter is the company that runs the Stillwater geothermal plant. The former came up with the idea to combine the two resources that are abundant in Nevada.
The plant would be small compared to the other solar projects. One of which is the solar energy storage facility in Tonopah that can generate 110 megawatts and create at least 600 jobs. But the Stillwater hybrid plant is the first of its kind in the state.
Geothermal part of the plant will give continuous stream of energy while the solar part of it will add additional energy during the peak capability of the Stillwater power plant. The energy generated from the hybrid plant will be sold to NV Energy. The hybrid project is expected to be completed in a year.
The hybrid geothermal and solar plant would be the first in the world. Enel Green Power President Francesco Venturini said that the first poles that would hold the solar panels were erected last August 29. The site would have 7,000 poles to support the 81,000 solar panels that would be used in the project.
Solar and geothermal is the logical choice for Nevada. The hybrid plant can provide energy 24/7. It is more feasible compared to solar and wind that can only provide power when the wind blows or when the sun shines. Solar and wind need to be incorporated into a baseload power source, such as geothermal and natural gas, in order to be a reliable power supply.
Senator Reid said that during the opening of the National Clean Energy Summit that a lot has changed in the four years that the conference has been running. The stimulus package from the federal government has stopped and the Department of Energy is facing budget cuts. It would be a rough time for alternative energy proponents because subsidies have come to an end.