Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) recently approved six contracts between Nevada Power and Renewable Energy power plants under development. These plants will provide enough electricity in 2005 and 2006 for Nevada Power to comply with the non-solar portion of Nevada’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.Las Vegas, Nevada – March 25, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Senate Bill (SB) 372, legislation that established the standard, was sponsored by Senator Randolph Townsend and signed into law by Governor Guinn in 2001. “Twenty-one months ago, when wholesale electricity prices from fossil fuel generating plants were near an all-time high, I signed SB 372 as part of the state’s energy policy to diversify its sources of electricity,” said Gov. Kenny Guinn. “These contracts are an important step in carrying-out that policy by providing electricity to Nevadans from Renewable Energy sources for the next 20 years at stable and reasonable rates.” The contracts are for the following six projects: Desert Peak 2, a 25 MW geothermal power plant in Churchill County; Desert Queen Wind Ranch, an 80 MW wind farm in Clark County; Hot Sulphir Springs, a 25 MW geothermal power plant in Elko County; Ely Wind Generation Facility, a 50 MW wind farm in White Pine County; Steamboat IV, a 44 MW geothermal facility in Washoe County; and Desert Peak 3, a 13 MW geothermal power plant in Churchill County. All of the projects are expected to become operational no later than the summer of 2005. In addition to providing electricity at stable and reasonable rates, the new Renewable Energy power plants will provide economic development benefits for the state. During construction, the projects are expected to employ between 480 and 650 people. Once operational, the power plants will employ between 63 and 70 people. The power plants are expected to pay between US$55.6 – US$58 million in fees and various federal and state taxes. “Renewable Energy, both solar and non-solar, can be a key component in Nevada’s economic diversification, offering power, jobs, and tax revenues to our state,” said Lt. Governor Lorraine Hunt. Nevada Power was able to contract with the least cost Renewable Energy providers in the state, regardless of where they were located, due to an innovative Renewable Energy Credit (REC) trading program the PUC approved last November. The REC program also encouraged renewable power plant development in rural counties as evidenced by the fact that four of the six Renewable Energy projects will be built in rural counties.