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Northern Nevada leading conversations about renewable energy

RENO, Nev. -- Geothermal experts and policymakers from across the country are in Reno this week, and they are making northern Nevada the center of renewable energy conversations.

The Geothermal Energy Association is having its annual summit here, for the fourth year in a row.

"Nevada is the home for geothermal and the geothermal industry," said Karl Gawell. "I mean, Reno is really a microcenter for not just the geothermal industry in the United States, but around the world."

Gawell is the Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association, and Enel Green Power and Ormat Technologies are two international companies with a big local presence. "They're companies that are reinvesting in themselves, building, trying to be the best at what they do. I think that that's good for both those companies and it's good for the people who work for them and it's good for the state of Nevada."
 
Ormat's Senior Vice-President of Business Development Bob Sullivan said the Silver State is ideal for geothermal power. "We've consistently been able to put power plants online almost every year for the last decade in Nevada."

Sullivan said he see that trend continuing. "Now we're looking at replacing a significant portion of coal in our state with renewables and we think, of course, geothermal is the most appropriate to replace that coal with."

Sullivan said geothermal is the easiest on our environment. "The only impact of this facility environmentally is that it's sitting here on the ground and we had to build it."

William Price is the Vice-President of Engineering & Construction at Enel, and he agrees with Sullivan. "It's producing energy, clean energy, not polluting the atmosphere and not consuming anything."
 
Price said Enel's stillwater facility near Fallon is bringing new hybrid technology to the people of Nevada. "They have, in their backyard, a very high advanced technical facility that doesn't exist (anywhere else) in the world right here in Fallon."

They are combining geothermal with solar to increase their impact. Gawell said both plants provide enough power for their cities. "Now we can have Fallon and Reno compete with who has more geothermal power working on its side, which is good competition."

The National Geothermal Summit continues on Wednesday. For more information on the geothermal industry in Nevada, visit the Ormat website, the Enal website, or the Geothermal Energy Association website.