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Geothermal energy called ‘slow, steady reliable resource’

RENO — Geothermal energy was called a “slow, steady reliable resource” on Tuesday by an official participating the Geothermal Energy Association’s annual national summit at the Grand Sierra Resort.

“Nevada has done some incredibly innovative things dating back to 1983 that continue to move geothermal forward, and I think we are seeing a benefit from that from an economic standpoint,” said Paul Thomsen, director for the governor’s office of energy for Nevada, during a panel discussion. “Geothermal has been a slow, steady, reliable resource for us and a huge economic development driver in the state of Nevada.”

For the conference’s first event, state Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-Las Vegas, and Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Washoe, participated in a panel talk and discussed moving forward with geothermal technology in the Silver State. Also joining the panel was the director of regulatory and legislative strategy for NV Energy Jack McGinley, and Thomsen, who moderated the discussion panel.

Topics discussed by the panel were Senate Bill 123, adopted by the Nevada Legislature in 2013, which requires eliminating 800 megawatts generated by coal plants and transitioning into cleaner energy resources. The panel also chimed in on other topics such as exporting energy to surrounding states, Nevada’s energy infrastructure, and new ways to tap into geothermal energy.

The summit, where policymakers, industry leaders and professionals are discussing opportunities and challenges that face the geothermal industry in Nevada, is underway through Wednesday.

Geothermal energy is the heat generated from reservoirs of hot water deep within the Earth. Some geothermal power plants use the steam from a reservoir to power a turbine/generator, while others use the hot water to boil a working fluid that vaporizes and then turns a turbine.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Whip Villarreal at wvillarreal@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901. Find him on Twitter: @WhipVillarreal.

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