Located just south of Reno is a small volcanic field that is just bursting with geothermal energy.
Mark Twain wrote in August 1863 "... From one spring the boiling water is ejected a foot or more by the infernal force at work below, and in the vicinity of all of them one can hear a constant rumbling and surging, somewhat resembling the noises peculiar to a steamboat in motion - hence the name"

Located just south of Reno is where you'll find the historic and restorative Steamboat Hot Springs.  Health spas in the 1800s were the first to tap into the hot springs heated by the geothermal resources in the Steamboat area.

Ormat Techologies has launched an expansion project at its Steamboat Hills geothermal plant in Reno - an expansion that will reduce the plant's visibility on the hillside just south of The Summit Sierra shopping center.  The expansion involves the installation of a new geothermal plant that can produce 30 megawatts of electricity. The new plant replaces an existing 10-megawatt system.

Kyle Snyder, senior director for business development at Reno-based Ormat, said the new facility will be air-cooled and will use a technology that will eliminate water consumption.

As a result, the steam plume that's sometimes visible on cold days from the existing plant's cooling tower no longer will be a feature on Reno's southern horizon.

Construction, which began this summer, is scheduled for completion early next year. The Steamboat Hills Project will bring $34 million to the region and create 295 construction jobs.

Snyder said the work will involve the drilling of one new well on land that Ormat leases from the U.S. Forest Service. Most of the project is located on a 9.5- acre privately owned parcel.

The Ormat plant is part of a complex of six geothermal power plants at Steamboat, Together, they generate 73 megawatts of baseload, renewable power - enough to meet all the residential requirements of Reno.

Scientists began looking at the area as the possible location of geothermal power plans in the 1950s and 1960s, development of the Steamboat field began in the 1980s and the current complex has been operating since 1988.

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