Lawmakers Tour Peppermill Geothermal Plant
If you've driven down South Virginia Street, you've probably seen the Peppermill. You may not know that the property has its own geothermal plant that provides heat to the whole facility.
If you've driven down South Virginia Street, you've probably seen the Peppermill. You may not know that the property has its own geothermal plant that provides heat to the whole facility. The property tapped into the resource in the 70's and took a gamble on a large-scale project back in 2010. It's now the largest of its kind in the country.
"The gamble paid off," said Geothermal Plant Manager John Kassai. "Right now we produce 850 gallons a minute in the Summer and 1200 gallons a minute in the wintertime. We heat this whole facility, including the pools, the domestic water and the ramp for the parking garage."
This evening, lawmakers and energy experts from across the state toured the facility. Tapping into Nevada's geothermal resources is a topic on the docket for the next legislative session that starts on Monday and the Peppermill project is an example of how to do just that.
"We're abundant in geothermal, solar and wind," said State Senator Chris Brooks. "We don't have any fossil fuels; we spend $8 billion a year to import fossil fuels and projects like this one and properties like this demonstrate what's possible if you invest in Nevada. "It's a clean, year-round energy resource. You can't export it and the jobs stay right here. I'm glad to see this company took a gamble and it's really paid off over the years."
There's been a lot of talk about solar projects in past legislative sessions but geothermal has been largely overlooked.
"One of the things here in Nevada we have not used to its full advantage is geothermal," said State Senator Pat Spearman. "We have more geothermal than California but we have not looked at ways we can exploit that resource and make sure we use it in conjunction with wind and solar. I'm excited because I have a bill that's going to do just that."
And as technology evolves, so does the conversation.
"This is not a new conversation but what's new is how advanced the technology has become," said Assemblywoman Jill Tolles. "Not only to harness the power but to store it; and that's an important issue when we talk about reliability and the ability to access energy. It's come a long way and it's time to take a fresh look and really harness that power as much as we can."
The 80th Session of the Nevada Legislature starts on Monday.