Hoover Dam, the Main Source of Electric Power for Lincoln County
Most of our customers are aware that the vast majority of the electric power used in Lincoln County comes from Hoover Dam. What our customers may not know is what a great benefit Hoover Dam power is to Lincoln County. Because Hoover Dam was constructed in the 1930’s and the debt associated with the original facility has long since been retired, and because hydroelectric generation by its nature requires no fuel such as coal, oil or natural gas; Hoover Dam is one of the lowest cost sources of electric power in the southwest. If Lincoln County Power had to purchase most of its power from sources other than Hoover Dam, rates for electric service in Lincoln County would be significantly impacted. Currently the cost of purchasing the electric power that is brought into the County accounts for between 40% and 45% of Lincoln County Power’s operating cost each year. This percentage of Lincoln County Power’s cost and the resulting rates to our customers would be correspondingly higher if it were not for Hoover Dam power.
Lincoln County has been benefiting from Hoover Dam power since 1937 when Lincoln County Power first entered into a contract with the Colorado River Commission of Nevada. The CRC is directed by state law to hold and administer all rights and benefits pertaining to the distribution of power generated on the Colorado River and to act for the State of Nevada in the negotiation and execution of contracts for the use of that power. State law requires power allocations be made “for the greatest possible benefit to the state”. In its regulatory findings, the CRC concluded that one of the greatest possible benefits for the use of Hoover Dam power would be for rural development and diversification. In CRC’s regulations, it indicates that “Rural development and diversification is considered by the Commission [CRC] to be of paramount importance. By allocating power to those utilities which primarily serve the rural areas, the Commission may provide assistance necessary for these areas to grow and reach the level of self-sufficiency enjoyed by the Las Vegas Valley.” Lincoln County Power whole heartedly agrees with the CRC’s assessment that Hoover Dam power is vital for rural economies such as that found in Lincoln County. Irrigated agriculture, the primary non-service, non-governmental industry of the County would face economic hardship and possible elimination without Hoover Dam power.
Up until a few years ago there had only been one month in which Hoover Dam power was not sufficient to supply all the needs of
Under a federal law signed in March of 2011, Lincoln County Power’s contract for Hoover Dam power was extended through September 2067. Lincoln County and it farms, businesses and residents will benefit from Hoover Dam for decades to come.
Great public works projects are a hallmark of this country and vital to its economic prosperity. Hoover Dam is one such great public works project. Hoover Dam was authorized by Congress in 1928 and dedicated by President Roosevelt in 1935. There are 17 main turbines in the Hoover Power Plant, nine on the Arizona wing and eight on the Nevada wing. The dam and its generators are operated and maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. According to the Bureau of Reclamation, Nevada receives approximately 25 percent of the electricity generated at Hoover Dam.
Lincoln County Power is very grateful to those who had the wisdom and foresight to construct Hoover Dam in the 1930s, and to those who have worked hard to ensure its benefits will continue to be received by the customers of Lincoln County Power for generations to come.