Biggest Little City

Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Initiative

In September of 2010, the National Resources Defense Council declared Reno, Nevada among the 22 Smartest Cities for Energy. Reno joins Austin, Berkeley, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle on the 2010 list. Two major factors in Reno being selected included the results of the Initiative and the emphasis on geothermal energy.

HISTORY and INFORMATION

In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint and lower its energy bills, the City of Reno began an Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Initiative under the Council Green Priority. As you may already know, Reno has vast solar, geothermal and wind resources right here in our own backyard. Nevada ranks first in the country in solar resources with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. Nevada ranks first in geothermal resources with 567 megawatts in production or under development with the potential to produce up to 3,700 megawatts. Nevada is #1 in the nation for geothermal energy production per capita; generating over 110 watts per person. Reno is the only sizeable U.S. city that produces enough geothermal energy to meet its entire residential load.

In an effort to take advantage of these local renewable resources, the City tapped leading energy companies to begin the process of ‘greening’ the City’s power supply. Energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies will not only improve Reno’s air quality, it will also help to lower non-renewable energy prices, promote local economic development and help further define Reno as the Biggest Little Green City!

In June and September of 2009, Council approved a series of energy projects. The projects include solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, wind turbine demonstration program, solar thermal heating systems, lighting retrofits, control systems, and a variety of HVAC upgrades. The City has contracted with Enfinity under a power purchase agreement to install and operate ten solar arrays totaling 1.027 MW that were completed in December 2011. Solar power now provides the City with 18-20% of its needs. Working under an ARRA grant provided by the Nevada State Office of Energy, the City has installed 730 LED streetlights and 781 pedestrian signals.

Among other projects, the famous Reno Arch was re-lit entirely with energy efficient LED bulbs and with energy retrofits City Hall will be able to reduce it’s energy costs from $3.67 to $1.81 per square foot. The fully funded Initiative yielded $1,700,822 in annual savings in FY 2013, helping to reduce the city’s burden of debt. You can get more details on projects and their status by contacting the Environmental Services Administrator.

The Initiative has been a tremendous success. The City was able to invest over $19 million dollars in energy projects without impacting the general fund. The projects included several on the deferred maintenance list and have yielded energy and financial savings. Equally important is that the City was able to create/retain 279 jobs during the down time in our economy. Ninety three percent of those jobs went to Nevadans. The following is a summary of the savings and benefits as a result of the Initiative.

 

Electricity

Natural Gas

Renewable Energy

Annual Energy Costs

Total Cost Savings

 

kWh

Therms

kWh

$

$

FY2004

20,847,965

668,804

 

$4,298,378

 

FY2005

20,605,683

792,483

 

$4,652,905

 

FY2006

21,053,144

712,411

 

$5,116,537

 

FY2007

20,747,852

718,993

 

$5,214,137

 

FY2008

21,805,944

767,343

 

$5,360,822

 

FY2009

20,318,181

576,382

 

$5,099,571

$261,252

FY2010

19,124,499

653,074

205,675

$4,850,374

$510,448

FY2011

17,210,783

565,853

397,435

$4,167,453

$1,193,369

FY2012

14,179,267

510,935

1,914,684

$3,777,728

$1,583,094

FY2013

12,842,980

533,323

2,974,522

$3,660,000

$1,700,822


Awards and Accolades

For more information, contact Jason Geddes, Environmental Services Administrator at geddesj@reno.gov .

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