This Monday, MGM Resorts finally turned the power on at its 100-megawatt solar panel installation – The MGM Mega Solar Array Project.
It will soon power up to 90% of the company’s Vegas operations. That covers 13 casinos and resorts on the Strip, including 36,000 hotel rooms at the Bellagio, the MGM Grand, and The Mirage.
Now one of the country’s biggest private solar panel arrays and the largest in the hospitality industry, it provides the equivalent amount of yearly power needed for 27,000 average households.
The installation comprises 323,000 panels, covering some 640 acres of desert land northeast of Vegas.
The project was developed in partnership with Invenergy and American Electric Power’s Renewables division. AEP Renewables is providing the major financial backing with a 75% stake in the project, but Invenergy remains contracted for operations and maintenance of the facility.
“With MGM Resorts’ significant scale and resources, we’re positioned to make a meaningful difference in the fight against climate change, and we recognize our responsibility to build a more environmentally sustainable future,” company CEO told the Las Vegas Review Journal.
That sustainable future includes a commitment to 45% lower emissions by 2025 and a 100% sustainably powered US business by 2030.
As MGM is one of Nevada’s largest employers and taxpayers, there were many notable people in attendance at the switching on ceremony. Among those guests were Invenergy CEO Michael Polsky, Democratic Senators for Nevada Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, and Governor Steve Sisolak.
“This solar array is among the most significant steps our industry has taken in terms of tackling climate change and promoting renewable energy,” said Nevada’s Governor.
“Powering so much of the Strip with clean, renewable energy sends a powerful message about Nevada’s role as a national leader in renewable energy and our commitment to fighting climate change,” he finished.
The MGM Solar Array Project is just one part of a wider effort by Democratic leaders in Nevada to build a more sustainable state.
As investors return to the city after the temporary closures of the COVID pandemic finally begin to recede into the past, some think that climate change and its associated effects could be the next challenge on the horizon.
Governor Sisolak has ambitious plans to change the way the state is powered over the next decades. The goal is to see emissions drop by 50% statewide by 2030 and all the way to zero by 2050. There are several projects in the (sustainable) pipeline right now aiming to help make that a reality.
Just one is the Green Link West project.
Spanning some 550-plus miles of transmission lines, the plan will bring solar power from Yerington, northwest of Las Vegas, to Sin City – over 350 miles away. Other Nevada communities serviced by the project will include Ely and Reno.
“Development of the Greenlink West Transmission Project facilitates access to renewable energy zones and is necessary to accommodate decommissioning of conventional fossil fuel generation,” Bureau of Land Management PR man Chris Rose told local reporters at a planning meeting.
Of course, not everyone was entirely happy with the details of the plan – which is still most definitely in the pre-approval phase.
“The Green Link West transmission line will create several industrial sacrifice zones in remote Nevada and enable the loss of several thousand acres of valuable wildlife habitat,” said one environmental campaigner, Mr. Kevin Emmerich.
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