Las Vegas is powered partially by the Hoover Dam, which generates around $355 MW for the Nevada Power system. Unlike what most people say, however, Las Vegas does not draw the whole of its electricity needs from the Hoover Dam.
In fact, the Nevada Power system doesn’t get the majority of the electricity it supplies to customers in Las Vegas and throughout the state of Nevada from the dam.
Instead, the biggest chunk of the 4 billion KWH of power that the Hoover Dam generates yearly goes to the neighboring states of Arizona and California.
Las Vegas is powered by a mix of electricity sources, most of which are drawn from the national electric grid. Surprisingly, the city of Las Vegas is powered by well over 6,000 power generation stations that use…
- Water (hydroelectric power generation plants)
- Natural gas
- Solar panels
- Solar thermal
Yes, Nevada uses natural gas for electricity generation, as well as for supplying residential and commercial customers. Although the state has no significant sources of natural gas, it gets most of it from the national natural gas pipeline network.
As far as electricity generation goes, Nevada has numerous natural gas power generation plants that include:
- Garnet Valley – Operated by Northern Star Generation, Garnet Valley produces 90 MW of electricity for the Nevada Power system.
- Black Mountain – Also operated by Northern Star Generation, Black Mountain (also known as Nevada Cogen. Assoc. #2) generates around 85 megawatts of power for the state of Nevada.
- Apex Generating Station – Apex is operated by the Southern California Public Power Authority and is one of Nevada’s largest producers of electricity from natural gas. It produces 525 MW at peak generation capacity.
- Goodsprings Waste Heat Recovery Station – This Clark County-based natural gas generation plant produces only 5 MW of electricity. It is operated by NV Energy.
- Chuck Lenzie Generating Station – This power plant has the second-highest capacity in Nevada at 1,102 MW.
- Edward W. Clark Generating Station – Operated by NV Energy, this plant produces the most electricity for the Nevada Power system at 1,103 MW.
- Desert Star Energy Center – The plant is operated by Sempra Energy and generates around 450 megawatts of electricity.
- Fort Churchill Generating Station – Located in Lyon County, Fort Churchill station produces 226 MW of electricity from natural gas.
- Frank A. Tracy Generating Station – The Frank A. Tracy plant is located in Storey County and produces 885 MW of electricity.
- Silverhawk Generating Station – The station adds 520 MW to the state electrical grid.
- Walter M. Higgins Generating Station – This natural gas power generation station is also found in Clark County, located in Las Vegas. It produces 530 MW of electricity.
- Harry Allen Generating Station – The Nevada Power system draws 628 MW of electricity from the Harry Allen Generating Station.
- Saguaro Power Plant – Owned by Saguaro Power, the plant generates 101 MW of electricity.
Vegas gets electricity from many different sources of power, including:
Nevada Power System, which supplies electricity to Las Vegas, gets around 152 MW of wind-generated power from the Spring Valley Wind Farm. Operated by NV Energy, the wind farm is nestled in the windy landscape of White Pine County. It is the only wind farm in the entire state of Nevada.
Vegas has been getting electricity generated using solar thermal since 2007 when 64-MW Nevada Solar One launched in Boulder City. The other solar thermal power generation plant is Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, which produces 110 MW.
Las Vegas gets electricity from more than 25 active solar photovoltaic farms dotting all over Nevada. Another 13 solar power generation stations are in the pipeline or under construction. Copper Mountain Solar Facility is the most prominent solar power plant that supplies electricity to Las Vegas and produces around 802 MW of power.
Vegas draws more than 3,100 MW of electricity from hydroelectric power dams, including Davis Dam, Fleisch Dam, Washoe Mogul Dam, Lahontan Dam, and of course, Hoover Dam in Clark County.
Nevada gets electricity from more than 30 geothermal power stations, most of which are located in Churchill Country, Washoe County, and Lyon County.
The biggest is the Stillwater Geothermal power station in Churchill Country, supplying around 47.3 MW of electricity at maximum capacity.
Nevada and Las Vegas are some of the few places in the US where this renewable source of electricity is used. Nevada has two biomass power generation stations: Clark County Landfill Energy (12 MW) and Waste Management Lockwood LFGTE (3.2 MW). Some of the electricity produced by these plants is used in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas and the entire state of Nevada draw more than half of their electricity from natural gas power generation stations. They total more than 15, and the largest natural gas power producer feeds 1,103 MW of electricity to the national electrical grid.
Nevada Power system still draws up to 1,321 MW of electricity from the state’s three active coal power plants. Nevada has discounted two coal power plants that used to generate up to 4,090 MW of combined electricity.
Yes, Las Vegas is partially powered by water (hydroelectric power). The city gets electricity via the Nevada Power system from six hydroelectric power stations. These dams include:
Davis Dam – Operated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation, Davis Dam in Clark Country produces 251 MW of electricity.
Fleisch Dam – The Fleish Dam is located in Washoe County and has been producing electricity for Las Vegas and surrounding areas since 1905. It produces only 2.5 MW at peak capacity under the operation of Truckee Meadows Water Authority.
Lahontan Dam – Found in Churchill Country, Lahontan Dam generated 5.9 MW of hydroelectric power. It is operated by the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District.
Washoe (Mogul) Dam – This is the smallest hydroelectric power station in Nevada, producing only 1.9 MW of electricity.
Verdi Dam – Operated by Truckee Meadows Water Authority, Verdi generates 2.3 MW at maximum generation capacity.
Hoover Dam – Hoover Dam is the biggest electricity supplier to Las Vegas. The Nevada Power system draws up to 2080 MW of electricity from the mega-dam.
Hoover Dam powers many cities in California, Arizona, and Nevada, including:
- Boulder City, Nevada
- City of Anaheim, California
- City of Azusa, California
- City of Banning, California
- City of Tucson, Arizona
- Phoenix, Arizona
- City of Boulder City, Nevada
- City of Burbank, California
- City of Cerritos, California
- City of Colton, California
- City of Corona, California
- City of Coyote Springs, Nevada
- City of Glendale, California
- City of Henderson, Nevada
- City of Los Angeles, California
- City of Pasadena, California
- City of Rancho Cucamonga, California
- City of Reno, Nevada
- City of Riverside, California
- City of Vernon, California
- City of Victorville, California
- Las Vegas City, Nevada
The state of Nevada uses 359 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas, which accounts for two percent of the national consumption. On the other hand, the state uses 35.2 million MWh of electric power, 2,600 million metric tons of coal, 22,300 million barrels of motor gasoline, and 8,600 million barrels of distillate fuel.