Lander County, NV., Apr 01, 2010 -- Stream-fed Hydro Power System on Remote Central Nevada Alfalfa Ranch Will Save More Than $37,000
Outline Of Need:
Young Brothers Ranch, located in Big Smoky Valley (a very remote area of Lander County in Central Nevada) needed to reduce their power costs to run their irrigation system. They farm 780 acres of alfalfa and small grain hay.
The Young Brother Ranch had been one of the first in the valley to develop power back in the 1940s, using a gravity fed stream to run a turbine, but the system was not performing up to capacity. They wanted to again look to using alternative energy, but needed funding.
How Rural Development Helped:
USDA Rural Development through its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), provided two grants, one for $95,423 and another for $19,700. The funding was used to purchase a 93kW hydro turbine generator that is replacing 79% of the energy needed for hay production, and to replace a portion of the pipeline to further increase efficiency. The total project costs are $460,493. The electricity generated by the hydro turbine replaces some of the electricity that the farmer was purchasing from NV Energy. The project has a net metering agreement with NV Energy, and once the system is fully effective, the producer will receive a credit from NV Energy for the power the hydro turbine generates. This alternative energy system also fits into NV Energy’s Renewable Generation program, which provides cash rebates to farmers for constructing hydro turbine systems.
The Young Brothers Ranch’s 93kW hydro turbine generator will use existing water sources to produce electricity to aid with hay production, reducing their current energy costs by an estimated $37,124 per year. USDA Rural Development’s REAP program is helping fill a renewable energy niche perfect for ranchers: hydroelectric power.