Geothermal Firm Offered Loan Guarantee
by Steve Tetreault
WASHINGTON -- Ormat Nevada Inc., has been offered a federal loan guarantee of up to $350 million to expand its geothermal power output in the state, the company and Nevada officials announced today.
The Department of Energy offered a conditional commitment to back the construction of a project that will operate in three Northern Nevada counties.
The three facilities -- McGinness Hills in Lander County, Jersey Valley in Pershing County and Tuscarora in Elko County -- will be built in two phases and will generate up to 121 megawatts of power, said the Reno-based company. The electricity would be sold to Nevada Power, a subsidiary of NV Energy.
Nevada Democrats who have supported federal backing for renewable energy initiatives said the Ormat project will create more than 330 construction jobs and nearly 65 permanent jobs while increasing geothermal power production by 25 percent in the state.
"This announcement means one thing for Nevada: good-paying clean energy jobs," said Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the plants "would be a significant achievement in Nevada's development of its renewable energy potential."
Two other Nevada renewable energy projects have received conditional loan guarantees in recent weeks through the DOE program that was funded by the Obama administration's 2009 economic stimulus bill.
Fotowatio Renewable Ventures Inc., of Madrid, was offered a $45.6 million guarantee to build a solar energy plant 25 miles northeast of Las Vegas, which the company said would create 250 jobs at peak construction.
The California-based SolarReserve was offered a guarantee of $737 million for the 110 megawatt Crescent Dunes solar project to be built in Tonopah. That plant, scheduled to start operations in 2013, could provide electricity to power almost 75,000 homes during peak periods.
The solar project was expected to create 600 jobs over a 30-month construction period scheduled to start this summer, the company has said.
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