Although this entry has been posted under the Geothermal Energy category, the power plant has developed into virtually a 50-50 mix of both geothermal and solar energy to become a new breed of hybrid.
Renewable energy developer Enel Green Power has brought the world’s first hybrid power plant that combines the continuous generation capacity of binary-cycle, medium-enthalpy geothermal power with the peak capacity of solar power online. The Stillwater hybrid power plant is located in Churchill County, Nevada and it has a grid-connected photovoltaic power capacity of 26MW. Add to that the geothermal component of it’s energy creation which stands at 33MW and the power plant has a capacity of 59MW.
By combining the two forms of energy creation techniques in the one location the power plant makes use of multiple forms of renewable energy that will increase the level of zero-emission energy that is produced. It is estimated that the power plant will produce enough clean energy to avoid the emission of around 140,000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. The added advantage of creating this hybrid mix is that the infrastructure is laready in place reducing costs and the transmission connection has also already been made.
The geothermal plant has been in operation since 2009 and the solar panels have been installed on 240 acres of land next to it. The installation consists of 89,000 photovoltaic solar panels. It will provide the power plant with peak electricity when the thermal efficiency of the geothermal unit is at its lowest helping to meet base load power demands.
The energy that is produced by this new type of power plant will be bought by utility NV Energy and it will be used to meet the power needs of roughly 40,000 homes.
Enel Green Power has now raised its total installed capacity in North America to over 1,000MW with the commissioning of this power plant.