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Phase II commercial operation of Ormat's McGinnis Hills Geothermal Power Plant - which came online in February 2015 - doubled the plant's generating capacity in less than three years, thanks to the Energy Department's loan guarantee program. The plant now generates a combined total of 70 MW. Through early DOE investment, Ormat improved efficiency of energy extraction from geothermal brines there by 10%.
Geothermal accounted for more than half of the new U.S. generating capacity brought online in February 2015, according to the latest FERC infrastructure report, issued March 19, 2015. The new geothermal capacity consists of a 45 MW expansion that was added to the McGinness Hills geothermal site in Lander County, Nevada. The power generated is sold to Nevada Power under long-term contract. The FERC document can be found at: www.ferc.gov. See also a press release from Ormat Technologies about the geothermal expansion project: "McGinness Hills Phase 2 Geothermal Power Plant Begins Commercial Operation:" www.ormat.com.
Nevada Senator Harry Reid announced on February 6 that the second phase of the plant had begun commercial operation. Ormat Technologies finalized its $350 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DOE) which supported the construction of the McGinness Hills project and put hundreds of Nevadans to work. This DOE loan came from Senator Reid’s efforts to secure funding for Nevada through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The loan guarantee program supported the construction of additional geothermal, solar, and transmission projects throughout Nevada that boosted the economy of the Silver State.
“The success of the McGinness Hills geothermal plant is the result of teamwork throughout northern Nevada,” said Reid. “I worked hard to support the loan guarantees that helped make construction of the McGinness plant possible and I am pleased that throughout its construction this renewable energy project has brought hundreds of needed jobs to Nevada. Now that its commercial operation has begun the McGinness Hills plant will continue to boost Nevada’s economy and our role as a leader in geothermal power production. Nevada’s economic future will be much brighter if we can build on this teamwork and cement Nevada as a national leader in clean energy.”