Nevada aiming for 50% renewable energy by 2030

Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, Tonopah NV. Wikimedia Commons.
Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, Tonopah NV

Major players in Nevada including NV Energy, environmentalist groups, casinos, and governments support 50% renewable energy in Nevada by 2030. Solar power is how it will happen. NV Energy will be building six new solar plants. One coal plant will be retired early. Batteries will provide storage for solar plants so electricity can sent into the grid at night too.

A bill gradually raising the portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030 has been re-introduced in the 2019 Legislature and has so far seen a much warmer reception than it did in 2017 with casino industry groups, chambers of commerce and NV Energy all publicly supporting the bill.

But the report, which is required to be submitted by any utility or power purchaser to the Public Utilities Commission annually, also hints at some potential issues for the utility’s ability to meet the credit requirement down the line, summarizing its outlook toward meeting the standard in the future as “cautious.”

To get to 50% renewable energy, all the solar projects need to be functioning efficiently. The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah has been operational for four years. Production has been less than expected up until now. A salt leak shut it down for a while. However, production so far this year looks promising.

Planned energy output was up to 500 GW·h annually but real data place generation at about 200 GW·h/year, less than half. Total electricity supplied to the grid in 2018 was 207 GWh.

The project includes 10,347 heliostats that collect and focus the sun’s thermal energy to heat molten salt flowing through an approximately 640-foot (200 m) tall solar power tower. The molten salt circulates from the tower to a storage tank, where it is then used to produce steam and generate electricity. Excess thermal energy is stored in the molten salt and can be used to generate power for up to ten hours, including during the evening hours and when direct sunlight is not available. The storage technology also eliminates the need for any backup fossil fuels, such as natural gas.

Congress passes Colorado River Drought Plan. Trump expected to sign

Lake Mead bathtub ring

The Colorado River supplies crucial water to seven states. It has been in serious drought for nineteen years. On Monday, the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan cleared Congress. It took two years of negotiations between cities, states, water boards, farmers and ranchers, and Native American tribes to get the bill to Congress, where it passed in just six days.

The plan agrees that all the stakeholders will share the pain. This is a good outcome indeed.

AZ Senator Sinema said:

“The legislation, S. 1057, establishes voluntary water conservation measures that will help manage prolonged drought conditions and regional climate change impacts throughout the Southwest. It also places an emphasis on maintaining water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the river’s two largest reservoirs, so that no one stakeholder group runs completely dry and water driven turbines at both sites continue to generate reliable power.”


“Severe droughts will become more frequent in the West as our climate continues to change, so we have to be prepared by saving more water from the wet years for the dry ones,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. said

Sure, there are problems, especially in Arizona. However the plan also shows that bipartisan agreement can happen on important issues that affect all of us.

Under the plan, Arizona’s total use of the river would drop by about 18 percent, or more than 500,000 acre feet during the first year of a declared shortage, which could happen as soon as next year. Those shortages would primarily affect Pinal County farmers who will have to rely more on groundwater, which some critics say is not a sustainable solution and doesn’t address the underlying issues.

Julian Assange charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion

Assange and Manning uses Jabber.
Jabber logo. Apparently it’s not very secure…

Julian Assange has been charged in the US with for trying to break a password for classified documents that Chelsea Manning had downloaded illegally. It is not an espionage charge.

There is ample evidence to prove the allegations, including Jabber chats which they probably thought was totally secure (silly them.) They deleted chat logs in attempts to hide what they were doing and, obviously, it didn’t help.

The single charge, conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, stems from what prosecutors said was his agreement to break a password to a classified United States government computer. It is not an espionage charge, a significant detail that will come as a relief to press freedom advocates.

From the indictment (PDF):

Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log onto the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to identify Manning as the source of disclosures of classified information.

Prior to the formation of the password-cracking agreement, Manning had already provided WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of classified records that she downloaded from departments and agencies of the United States, including the Afghanistan war-related significant activity reports and Iraq war-related significant activities reports.

The primary purpose of the conspiracy was to facilitate Manning’s acquisition and transmission of classified information related to the national defense of the United States so that WikiLeaks could publicly disseminate the information on its website.

On or about March 2, 2010, Manning copied a Linux operating system to a CD, to allow Manning to access a United States Department of Defense computer file that was accessible only to users with administrative-level privileges.

On or about March 8, 2010, Manning provided Assange with part of a password stored on United States Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network.

Tonopah NV. A small town that is coming back

Tonopah. Belvada Hotel.
Belvada Hotel is being completely redone.

Tonopah, is about halfway between Reno and Las Vegas on SR-95, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It gets baking hot in the summer. Population is about 3,000. Tonopah got clobbered when mines shut down and is rebuilding itself. The Mizpah Hotel has been lovingly restored to its former 1900’s glory. The Belvada across the street is in the process of being converted into a high-end hotel with ground floor retail. Another hotel is opening this year too.

Sure, there are abandoned, boarded-up homes and businesses. However it definitely feels like Tonopah is resurrecting itself. It’s also, like many small towns, genuinely friendly. However, leftied take warning, this is dark red country where lots of folks probably think Trump is just a wee bit too liberal. So, might want to keep quiet about politics if you’re a leftie. Also, there are lots and lots of guns here. That’s part of rural West culture and isn’t ever going to change. Period.

The Mizpah Hotel was named after the Mizpah Mine, named from the biblical place by, I believe. the wife of one of the founders of the mine. They became very rich, gave back enormously. were completely honest, and hugely respected by the community.

The European-American community began circa 1900 with the discovery of silver-rich ore by prospector Jim Butler. The legendary tale of discovery says that he went looking for a burro that had wandered off during the night and sought shelter near a rock outcropping. When Butler discovered the animal the next morning, he picked up a rock to throw at it in frustration, noticing that the rock was unusually heavy. He had stumbled upon the second-richest silver strike in Nevada history.

Mizpah Hotel. Tonopah
Mizpah Hotel on Main Street.
Tonopah. Mizpah Hotel inside.

Mizpah Hotel inside.
Tonopah Post Office
A real gem of a Post Office.
Tonopah. Abandoned rooms for miners
Where miners lived. Historic Mine in background.

You’re living in your own renewable Idaho

Idaho electricity in-state by source

There’s a misconception that only blue states have renewable energy. Texas has the most installed wind capacity, with no one else even close. Iowa is second. Idaho now generates 80% of its in-state power from renewable energy. About 50% comes from hydropower with wind at 20% and growing fast. And they like it that way. Idaho Senator Grassley, who is no liberal, just said Trump’s claim that wind turbines cause cancer was “idiotic.”

Idaho gets about one-third of its power from out of state and is working at making that renewable too. Because it’s cheaper than coal or natural gas.

Idaho Power last week announced it has entered into a deal to purchase 120 MW of solar energy at a price the utility believes is among the lowest publicly reported to date. The utility signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Jackpot Holdings, with an initial price of $21.75/MWh — or less than $0.022/kWh.

The solar array is expected to be completed by 2022, and the energy will help replace coal-fired capacity at the North Valmy plant in Nevada, where Idaho power has announced it will end operations. Idaho Power has the option to purchase the new solar facility or support its expansion in the future.

Idaho Power announced the deal on March 26, the same day it revealed a plan to supply 100% of its power from non-emitting resources by 2045. New wind, solar and other clean energy resources will all play a role.