Nevada’s geothermal resources are utilized in three major ways.
The geothermal resources are used to generate electricity, for space
heating, and commercial applications.
Nevada’s geothermal electrical generation plants are located
predominantly in the northern portion of the State. Currently, Nevada
has 539 megawatts of nameplate generating capacity
from 21 geothermal plants, at 14
different locations. Nevada’s geothermal plants can theoretically
generate up to 539 megawatts of power collectively in
any given hour. A megawatt is 1,000 kilowatts, which is
enough electrical power to serve over 300 typical
households. The 2012 gross electrical output for
Nevada’s 21 geothermal plants was 3,137,656
MWh, with net output (sales) being 2,409,767 MWh.
Nevada’s electrical generation capacity from its geothermal plants is
second only to California.
Geothermal energy is used to heat homes and businesses in numerous
Nevada locations. The cities of Elko and Caliente have small heating
districts that are approved by the Public Utility Commission to
provide heat for buildings. A private heating district provides heat
to homes in southwest Reno. Domestic geothermal heating systems
utilizing an anomalous heat source provide heat to individual
residences and ranches. Heat pump and ground source heat systems
that do not utilize an anomalous heat source are not considered
geothermal systems in Nevada.
Geothermal resources can be used to assist processing in both
agricultural and mining operations. In the case of agriculture, heat
from geothermal fluids is used in the dehydration process of
vegetables. In mining, geothermal fluids have been used to assist in
the separation of gold from associated ore.
Further Information about
Nevada’s Geothermal Resources
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Nevada Division of Minerals, the Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources,
or the State of Nevada.