Nevada’s first wind project enters operation, heralds beginning of state’s clean energy industry

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen August 8, 2012 0
Nevada's first wind farm is expected to provide power to 45,000 nearby residents in its first year of operation.
Nevada's first wind farm is expected to provide power to 45,000 nearby residents in its first year of operation.

Today, the operator of Nevada's first large-scale wind farm announced that it had completed construction efforts and the facility, the Spring Valley Wind Project, is fully operational.

Pattern Energy Group, the company behind the initiative, held an opening ceremony marking the occasion, with speakers including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) extolling the economic benefits of the clean energy facility.

"We have just begun to tap into Nevada's tremendous wind energy resources and more job-creating projects like this will be good for our economy and our environment," the senator told the gathering. "Renewable energy is the way of the future. There is no reason in the world, with all the renewable energy sources Nevada has, that we shouldn't be energy independent."

The project, which at full-scale operation is estimated to power approximately 45,000 homes, also created 240 construction jobs and will employ 13 full-time workers to perform maintenance and day-to-day operations. In addition to the jobs boost, officials say the wind power initiative should add $20 million in tax receipt revenue over 20 years, during which time Pattern Energy will be partnered with NV Energy, another Nevada-based power company.

During the ceremony, Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy, spoke about the local community that pitched in to make the project possible. For example, he cited involvement with Native American tribes, leaders from nearby towns and state politicians, all of whom contributed to moving the plan from the design page to the first shovel in the ground. Advanced technology used in the facility, he said, came from American companies in Iowa and Florida.

The Spring Valley Wind Project has already begun providing electricity to Nevada residents. Because of the success of the enterprise, it may be the first of many clean energy sources to come.

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