Nevada gas-solar power plant starts up

El Dorado Energy, a 480-Mw power plant jointly owned by Reliant Energy Inc., Houston, and Sempra Energy, San Diego, Calif., began commercial operation Thursday. Located near Boulder City, Nev., 45 miles southwest of Las Vegas, the plant will sell electricity to the wholesale markets of Nevada, California, and the southwestern US.


El Dorado Energy, a 480-Mw power plant owned jointly by Reliant Energy Inc., Houston, and Sempra Energy, San Diego, Calif., began commercial operation Thursday.

Located near Boulder City, Nev., 45 miles southwest of Las Vegas, the plant will sell electricity to the wholesale markets of Nevada, California, and the southwestern US. Under construction since 1998, El Dorado is capable of generating enough energy to serve about half a million households. The plant had undergone testing and initial start-up operations the past several weeks prior to the start of commercial operations.

The plant, which employs combined-cycle gas turbine and photovoltaic technology, features a water-saving, air-cooled condenser in lieu of a traditional wet-cooled water system. The facility also is equipped with a 100-kw solar field comprising 256 panels that track the sun's path.

El Dorado is perfectly positioned to sell competitively priced energy into three of the nation's fastest growing markets, said Darcel Hulse, president of Sempra's power generation unit, Sempra Energy Resources. The generation also will help support Sempra's retail-focused growth strategy.

Bob Perkins, president and chief operating officer of Reliant Energy's wholesale group, said the joint venture in El Dorado is an important step in helping Reliant compete in the major power markets of the US West and other parts of the country by building an asset-backed energy trading and marketing organization.

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