The people cry for clean energy | NevadaAppeal.com

The people cry for clean energy

by Becky bosshart

Everybody seems to be interested in clean energy technology, but are we willing to invest in it?

Clean energy was identified as one of six business sectors to pursue for new business recruitment, expansion and start-up in Northern Nevada, according to a report issued Thursday by development consultant AngelouEconomics.

AngelouEconomics, which is leading the Target2010 economic planning process, narrowed its analysis to six business sectors best suited for growth based on the region’s ability to support the industry and the community’s goals for future business development, according to the report. The sectors are:

• Business and financial services

• Software

• Clean energy

• Advanced manufacturing

• Advanced logistics

• Life sciences

These sectors were selected based on interviews with regional leaders, focus groups conducted throughout the region, and more than 1,200 surveys. Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada’s Target2010 encompasses a six-county region including: Carson City, Washoe, Douglas, Storey, Churchill and Lyon counties.

Not too surprising, those surveyed want to attract industries that are considered clean and environmentally sensitive. What is surprising, is that these people selected this as a primary goal for future business development, ranking it on the same level as wanting to attract higher wages and higher skilled workers.

Clean energy technology also ranked as the No. 1 industry that Northern Nevadans would like to see expand or locate here in the visioning report for Northern NVision, a regional economic report. A little less than 50 percent of survey respondents selected clean energy, edging out health care with 39 percent.

Nevada has a large availability of geothermal energy, not to mention plenty of sunny days for solar power, and select locations for wind turbines, says Chuck Alvey, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

He believes locals selected clean energy because Nevada is such an exemplary site for it. And then there’s the wallet factor: traditional sources of energy are becoming more expensive.

“We have such a great natural environment that people want to protect the environment and they also know there are ways to do that in terms of our energy use,” he says.

A future role of economic agencies such as his, may be to connect “people with the money” to venture capitalist opportunities.

One such start-up company is Energy Nevada. It needs about $10 million to capitalize a wind turbine manufacturing company locating in Northern Nevada.

Steve Taber, CEO of Carson City-based Energy Nevada, says he’s looking for investors who want to own a portion of a wind turbine plant operated by Nordic Windpower.

“We’re in discussion with several investor groups,” he says.

Nordic Windpower is based in the United Kingdom, and has operations in Taby, Sweden, and Rosyth Fife, Scotland. The agreement to establish Nordic’s U.S. manufacturing activity here was signed in November 2004 by Dr. Mike Robinson, Nordic Windpower chief executive, and the CEO of Energy Nevada.

The agreement states that Nordic will begin manufacturing wind turbines “as soon as a Nevada wind energy project of sufficient size is committed to construction.”

The community seems to favor developments such as this, so maybe this will lead to capable investors.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.