When it comes to Sin City, there’s at least one thing that’s now guilt-free: energy use. Las Vegas officials recently announced that 100 percent of city-run systems are powered by nearby solar farms, solar panels on city buildings, and hydroelectric generators including the Hoover Dam. The move to renewables is expected to save the Vegas roughly $5 million each year.
The switch from fossil fuel power didn’t happen over night. In 2008, the city began installing solar panels and taking steps to become more energy efficient, eventually reducing its power needs by 30 percent. But even that wasn’t enough.
In 2015, the city government threatened to leave the energy grid entirely, but ended up making a deal with provider NV Energy in exchange for the plan to transition to clean sources by 2017. That goal was finally met in mid-December when a large-scale solar array at Boulder Solar 1 went live.
The renewable sources are now producing power for more than 140 city buildings in addition to street lights, community centers, and more than a dozen parks.