After partnering with local public utilities supplier NV Energy almost a year ago, Las Vegas has reportedly now become the largest city in the United States to have all of its government facilities and street lights powered solely by energy derived from renewable resources.
According to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, the city of over 583,700 people was able to make the announcement after Boulder Solar I, which is NV Energy’s large solar array located near Boulder City in the southeast corner of Nevada, began operations last week.
The newspaper reported that energy from Boulder Solar I is being combined with that derived from other “green” sources such as geothermal and smaller solar panels located across Las Vegas to supply 100% of the city’s municipal power.
“We can brag that the city, this city of Las Vegas, is one of the few cities in the entire world that can boast using all of its power from a “green” source,” said Carolyn Goodman, the Democratic mayor for Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the announcement marks the completion of a nearly-decade long plan from the Clark County city to transition to “green” energy that has since saved local taxpayers approximately $5 million a year and decreased power consumption by more than 30%.
Goodman also reportedly declared that Las Vegas has become a “world leader in sustainability” and is now using a combination of direct generation and credits to power more than 140 facilities via sources of renewable energy.
The newspaper reported that a portion of the energy generated at Boulder Solar I is earmarked for the city, which moreover draws power from an array of tree-shaped solar panels located in its government plaza along with collections sited in city parks and on the roofs of municipal buildings. In addition, Las Vegas is to complement these operations by beginning to draw electricity from the nearby Hoover Dam by the end of next year.
Pat Egan, Senior Vice-President for Las Vegas-based NV Energy proclaimed that his company is continuing efforts to decrease its reliance on coal, which currently accounts for around 8% of its generating resources compared with 74% for natural gas while “green” sources stand at 18%. The firm, which is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, detailed that its Boulder Solar I and Boulder Solar II facilities feature a 150-megawatt solar array and represent its 13th grid-tied solar resource.
“When we say something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” Goodman told the newspaper.