Federal Regulators Approve McGinness Hills Geothermal Project Expansion

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) yesterday said Ormat Technologies Inc. can move forward with its expansion plan for the McGinness Hills geothermal project in central Nevada.

According to BLM’s decision, the approval covers the phase-three expansion of the project. The first and second phases of the project began commercial operations in 2012 and 2015, respectively. The geothermal complex currently has a generating capacity of about 100 MW, according to BLM, and the phase-three expansion includes construction of a new power plant that is expected to add about 48 MW to the project.

BLM District Manager Douglas Furtado said in a statement that “the decision is in accordance with BLM priorities, including making America safe through energy independence, getting America back to work and shared conservation. He added that BLM’s Battle Mountain District in Nevada has a heavy focus on the responsible development of energy and mineral projects.

“This geothermal expansion will increase the clean energy capacity within Nevada, create new jobs and stimulate the local economy and energy market,” he said.

The expansion includes development of five new production wells — with a total depth of 7,000 feet — new pipeline, access roads and transmission tie-line.

The project will help support Nevada’s goal of obtaining 25 percent of its electricity generation from renewables by 2025. According to 2017 data from BLM, the McGinness facility currently is the largest geothermal project in Nevada, and there are 18 operating geothermal projects on BLM lands in the state, with a total generating capacity of 500 MW.

Lead image: McGinness Hills. Credit: BLM Nevada | Flickr

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Jennifer Delony, analyst for TransmissionHub, started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. Jennifer began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman Magazine.

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