Official discusses why clean energy in Nevada is important
Jason Geddes is the manager of governmental affairs for the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Nevada , Reno in environmental sciences and has served as assemblyman for the state, a chemist for the state department of agriculture and a member of the state board of regents.
How do you define clean energy?
We’re talking about the generation of electricity or power from a renewable recourse. So solar, wind, biofuel – like biodiesel or ethanol or biomass generation – and then geothermal. In addition, we’re talking about the technologies around clean energy like the battery packs or the wind turbines or those sorts of things.
What is Nevada doing with clean energy? How does it match up to the rest of the country?
I would say the Midwest is far ahead on wind, but for geothermal, we’ve had geothermal plants here since 1984 and our geology makes us one of the best states in which to develop geothermal. Also, if you look at a map of solar recourses, the center of the map of North America is Nevada. We have the most intensive sunlight and when you add that to our elevation, it makes it for some great solar recourse potential.
How does a business or agency collect geothermal energy?
They basically drill a well down into the ground and pump the hot water up into their plant and that hot water heats a secondary fluid that turns a turbine.
What are businesses or agencies using besides clean energy?
Coal and natural gas are their two predominant sources.
Why are we seeing a turn to clean energy?
Partially because of government standards, and partially, at least in the case of geothermal, it has become cost competitive with fossil fuels. With the tax credits, wind is also pretty close to cost competitive, but you can only generate power when wind is blowing. Solar is still expensive, but the government incentives are out there.
Is clean energy ever going to be as affordable for businesses as traditional energy?
I believe that we will get to predominately clean energy in the 20 -to 50- year time frame.
Why should the average person care about clean energy?
One, it’s a national security issue. If you look at where we’re getting most of our gas, diesel and natural gas, it’s from countries who aren’t very friendly to us, so it’s utilizing the resources we have in our boarders.
Also, it’s about what we export. If you just look at what we have in Nevada, we’re exporting between $8 and $11 billion a year to purchase to coal, natural gas and diesel.