News Releases

NV Energy Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Tracy Generating Station

Oct 10, 2013

When NV Energy’s 53-megawatt Frank A. Tracy Generating Station started producing electricity for northern Nevada 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy was leading the nation, Bonanza was a hit on television, and the Beatles had just released “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Since October 1963, the generating station along the Truckee River 17 miles east of Reno has continued to grow, and now the facility, which is fueled with natural gas, has the capacity to generate over 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

NV Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Yackira joined other company executives, employees, retirees and community leaders on Wednesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tracy Unit No. 1.

Tracy is the largest of the three company-owned power stations that serve NV Energy’s 323,000 electric customers in northern Nevada. Electricity is also generated at the North Valmy Generating Station near Battle Mountain and Fort Churchill Station about 10 miles north of Yerington.

The combined electrical output of the three generating stations is capable of providing for nearly all of northern Nevada’s electricity needs.

Construction of northern Nevada’s first steam-driven electric generating plant by Sierra Pacific Power, as the company was known then, was a major milestone for the region.

Before the first generating unit was completed at Tracy, most of northern Nevada’s electricity was purchased from other utilities and delivered over an electric transmission line interconnected with California’s Pacific Gas & Electric Company near Donner Summit. A forest fire burned down a portion of the line in 1960, leaving most of Sierra Pacific’s electric customers in the dark for several days.

Also, prior to the construction of Unit No. 1, the Reno-Sparks area did not have natural gas service. Because a natural gas pipeline had to be constructed from Mountain Home, Idaho, to Tracy to fuel the generating unit, it was economical for Sierra Pacific to extend the pipeline to the community.

The generating station was named after Frank A. Tracy, who served as president of the company from 1942 to 1961 and was active in the Reno community as director of the Greater Reno Chamber of Commerce, president of the Reno Rotary Club, and Director of the Nevada Heart Association. Besides Tracy, among those attending the plant’s dedication and “press preview” on Sept. 20, 1963, were Nevada’s two U.S. Senators, Howard Cannon and Alan Bible; Congressman Walter Baring and Nevada Lieutenant Governor Paul Laxalt.

For further information: Karl Walquist (775) 834-3891; Faye Andersen (775) 834-4822