Renewable energy talks moving forward |

Renewable energy talks moving forward

by Jill Keller, Appeal Staff Writer

Carson City and several interested partners will begin interviewing potential renewable energy providers Monday as they take the next step in a process that promises to bring the “green” power industry to the area.

The city began soliciting nationally Jan. 30 to find companies interested in producing energy from solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, bioenergy and landfill gas as potential renewable energy sources.

Companies submitted 14 proposals that included 59 alternative energy firms who expressed an interest in either building a plant in the city or delivering power to the area, said city economic consultant Charlie Long.

The city is working with the state of Nevada, Washoe County, Churchill County, Carson City School District, Western Nevada Community College and Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission to explore buying alternative energy as a group. The total energy load could be as high as 12 megawatts, Long said.

Several different proposals were received, including some that focused on generating electricity from the city landfill either from wood chips deposited there or from solid waste.

There was some interest in providing research into hydrogen fuel cells and retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient. Some ideas included using solar power to light street lamps and traffic signals, Long said.

“It’s a pretty broad range of projects,” Long said. “We’re very pleased with the interest.”

As part of an economic strategy for the city, one of Carson’s goal for the project is to make the city into a research and manufacturing center for alternative energy.

The city is proposing to purchase the renewable power to provide energy to its water and sewer treatment operations. The cost of providing power to the operations last year was an estimated $1.5 million.

After interviewing potential providers, the group will bring a recommendation to the city’s Board of Supervisors in June, Long said. He expects the recommendation will include a full energy development contract.

The firms selected proposed risking their own money to study and design projects and give the city and its partners the option of deciding whether to actually purchase the power, Long said.