It’s reassuring to see that Nevada is continuing to garner national attention for our efforts to nurture an environment for clean and renewable energy technology. The National Clean Energy Summit 4.0 that was held in Las Vegas in late August showcased some of the exciting prospects on the horizon.
Nevada, of course, leads the country in per capita solar and geothermal generation. Nevada is the top state in the nation in solar resources, generating more than 30 watts per person. We’re also the number one state in the country for per-capita geothermal energy production, generating more than 110 watts per person. Reno is the only sizeable U.S. city that produces enough geothermal energy to meet our entire residential load.
Like many supporters of economic diversification and the promotion of home-grown start-up companies, I was happy to see that this year’s summit focused, in part, on ways to use the potential for clean and renewable technology industries to create new businesses and rebuild the state economy. Notable developments in the works include the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes solar energy project near Tonopah, which is expected to eventually generate enough solar energy to service 43,000 homes; the Silver State North Project in the Ivanpah Valley is set to be the first solar energy facility built on Nevada federal land and the first utility-scale photovoltaic solar project in the nation constructed on public land; and DoubleTree Ranch, a Lovelock producer of naturally-grown produce, is about to introduce a hybrid solar technology developed by Reno-based SunScience Corp. The technology will combines photovoltaic generation of electricity from sunlight with a thermal solar system to capture heat.
In addition to the new clean energy developments underway throughout the state, I want to point out the growing participation of Nevada’s college and university students in the clean energy arena. Student representatives from UNLV’s Solar and Renewable Energy Educational Programs participated in this year’s summit, discussing the university’s research agenda as it pertains to renewable energy technologies. During the past five years, UNLV has received $55 million for projects involving renewable energy. Part of the funding is being used to help attract clean energy industries to the area by providing them with research and logistical support.
This most recent summit attracted a wide range of participants, including local and national business leaders, clean energy experts and innovators, legislators, educators, investors and entrepreneurs. The last two factions, I believe, will play an exceptionally pertinent role in the evolution of Nevada as a clean energy leader. While the potential for different forms of clean energy technology carries with it influence from a number of different political agendas, I firmly believe that the active participation of Nevada innovators will be pivotal in actually bringing sustainable ideas to fruition.