The City of Las Vegas consumes about 180,000 megawatt hours (MwH) of power in 2009. Though that that may seem like a lot, it’s nothing compared to what the casinos use.
In 2009, 62 million MwH of power were consumed in utility NV Energy’s service territory, with their biggest users found in Las Vegas and its shiny Strip. A typical Vegas casino racks up a six-figure power bill on a daily basis.
Goodman says what the city discovers in its energy-use analysis could “definitely” find its way into the city's energy-use policies for all its residents and businesses.
The city already shares conservation ideas with big gaming operations—Harrah’s Entertainment and MGM Mirage — as well as other businesses.
The city government has already taken some steps towards greater energy efficiency, including the conversion of 97 percent of its vehicle fleet to greener fuels and the installation of solar panels on city-owned parking garages.
Vegas’ hedonistic private sector anted up with its own ideas.
MGM Mirage’s massive 18 million-square foot CityCenter complex opened in December 2009 with several environmental innovations, both large and small, including a dedicated 8.5-megawatt, natural-gas-fired power plant to produce enough clean energy to power almost 3,000 typical homes, and small air conditioners built into the bases of slot machine bases to cool guests from the floor up instead of from the ceiling down.
Yet for all The Strip’s over-the-top displays and 24/7 lifestyle, such service-heavy economies, be they cities focused on entertainment or financial services—use far less power per dollar of income generated compared to manufacturing or energy-production states, like Alaska or Louisiana.