The Rise of Green Energy on the Las Vegas Strip

renewable energy on vegas strip
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There is a persistent myth that Las Vegas’ power is generated solely by renewable sources making it the first large city in the USA to be green-powered. The origins of this misconception date back to an announcement by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman on December 12, 2016.

The truth is that Mayor Goodman was talking about the city government of Las Vegas, not its private businesses, casinos or residential buildings. Furthermore, the Las Vegas Strip is not actually within the limits of the city of Las Vegas.

While it is a major achievement that all of the city of Las Vegas’s 140 public buildings, as well as its city parks, community centers, fire stations, and street lights, are powered by a combination of solar and hydroelectric energy, the famous lights of the Las Vegas Strip are powered by other means entirely. Therefore, baccarat players concerned about the environment may well be better turning their attention to online baccarat.

Fossil Fuel Reduction on the Las Vegas Strip

However, efforts are being made by resorts on the Strip to generate power from renewable energy sources. For example, in June 2021, MGM Resorts started using a 100-megawatt Mega Solar Array that, at the time, could provide up to 90% of the power required by its 13 properties on the Strip during the daytime.

Prior to the completion of the Mega Solar Array, which contains an astonishing 323,000 solar panels, the MGM Mandalay Bay was receiving up to 25% of its power from 26,000 solar panels placed on its roof. The company also has 3,456 solar panels on the top of the parking garage at MGM Springfield and a 100kW rooftop solar panel array to help power the T-Mobile Arena.

MGM Resorts is not the only casino operator turning to renewables. Wynn Las Vegas has covered 100,000 square feet of its roof with solar panels and back in 2020, the company brought a 160-acre solar power plant online that generates up to three-quarters of its peak Las Vegas power requirements.

While Caesars Entertainment does not have its own solar arrays, it does purchase solar energy from the open market and it has made a commitment to reducing its carbon emissions by 30% by 2025 and by 95% by 2050.

In 2019, Las Vegas Sands revealed that the Venetian and the Sands Expo and Convention Center covered 100% of their energy usage by obtaining renewable energy certificates from Nevada Energy. These properties were then sold to Apollo Global Management, Inc. affiliates and VICI Properties, Inc. in 2022.

Much More to Be Done

While all of the above is a step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go for the Las Vegas Strip to be wholly powered by renewables.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, in 2021, just a third of Nevada’s power came from renewables (5% from hydroelectric, 9% from geothermal, and 18% from solar), while 61% came from natural gas-fired plants.

As is clear from the above, MGM Resorts is working hard to reduce its carbon footprint. However, the Luxor Sky Beam only operates at night. This means that it doesn’t receive any of its power from the Mega Solar Array. It is the most powerful man-made light in the world and uses the light from 39 xenon lamps that is collected with curved mirrors and focused into one narrow beam. It is visible up to 275 miles away and requires an enormous 982.8 million joules of energy per hour, which is enough energy per hour to power 2.5 average households every year.

Originally, the beam measured 42.3 billion candelas, but since 2008, only half of the lights have been turned on in order to reduce costs and save energy.

There are other positive signs in Nevada. More solar panels are being installed all the time and the large casino resorts are making considerable efforts to become more environmentally friendly. Nonetheless, it will be some time before the Las Vegas Strip can claim to be entirely powered by renewable sources.

Caroline Richardson
Caroline Richardson Read Bio
Hi all, I’m Caroline. I’m based in Boston, Massachusetts, with my husband and our three noisy and inquisitive kids. I began my career in journalism, working for several Boston-based....
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