Reno Chamber Affirms N Nevada Potential as Major Renewable Energy Hub


Much of the press about Renewable Energy (RE) projects in the Southwest has centered around S. Nevada, with their huge solar arrays and Senator Reid’s annual Energy Summit in Las Vegas.

And then there’s coverage of the debates in California over wildlife projection in the Mojave Desert and the resultant slowing of RE energy projects. Meanwhile, N. Nevada has been quietly building -- and earning – its credential as a rapidly growing and diversified green hub. Noteworthy, is the significant contribution geothermal electricity generation has made in N. Nevada in recent years.

The most recent event validating the area’s emergence is the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce and their first Energy Forum, called “Clean Energy Strategies for Nevada Businesses.” It was held at the Atlantis Hotel Casino in Reno, Tues, Sept. 14.

The days activities were in two parts with the early morning shared by four energy executives, touting these key highlights:

David Owens, Exec VP, Edison Electric Institute

Mr. Owens spoke about three game changers as we look at the future role of RE: Climate change, shale natural gas as an undeveloped resource and the Smart Grid. And that a price on carbon is coming.

Jeff Ce ccarelli, Senior VP, NV Energy (NV Utility)

Mr. Ceccarelli identified three major strategies for NV Energy to address future electricity demands: increase energy efficiency among homes and businesses (low hanging fruit), increase integration of RE sources, with geothermal being greatest and wind the least and add new, more efficient gas power plants and transmission lines.

Craig Mataczynski, CEO Gradient Resources and Tom Clark, Holland & Hart (attorney)

Mr. Mataczynski lead off with a historical view of why government policy is necessary for the RE industry to attract investor support and, conversely, this lack of policy is encouraging offshore competition. And that oil and gas has been receiving tax incentives since the early 1900’s, but renewables have not. Mr. Clark added that [li]Nevada now has a new RE Authority agency and that he expects state legislation supporting RE’s in 2011. The second part of the day offered four breakout sessions in two tracks that repeated. These intimate, albeit all too s hort, sessions covered these areas:

Energy Efficiency and Conservation

Renewable Generation

Electric Vehicles and

Education and the Workforce

Twelve speakers were drawn from the RE industry, the state utility company (NV Energy) and energy sciences of academia. Notable among the speakers for these break out sessions were Jason Geddes, Ph.D, Environmental Services for the City of Reno and UNR Regent, Mike Bergey, President, Bergey Wind Turbines and Ted Plaggemeyer, Dean, School of Science, Truckee Meadow Meadows CC.  Article also appeared in my energy column.

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