Alternative energy is the spirit of cooperation |

Alternative energy is the spirit of cooperation

The Lahontan Valley News

For a small county, this area sat at center stage last week for all the world to see. This area is accustomed to the occasional visit from a presidential candidate every four years or from one of Nevada’s elected officials, but the arrival of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini, to tour and inaugurate Enel’s Stillwater renewable hybrid facility 12 mile northeast of Fallon was magnifico.

The nurturing of the partnership between Churchill County and Enel, which has its corporate headquarters in Rome and its Enel Green Power operations in Andover, Mass., has made our area one of the top producing alternative energy hubs in the United States, second only to Lake County, Calif.

The special dedication last week only solidified the cooperation that has grown between Nevada and Enel, which also operates another plant at Salt Wells.

Not too long ago, Churchill County Commissioner Pete Olsen said “the third leg of the stool” to making the area’s economy strong focuses on alternative energy.

The last decade has also seen great expansion. Cyrq, Inc. bought the Patua Hazen and the Soda Lake plants in 2015. Ormat is working with the Bureau of Land Management on permits for the Edwards Creek plant east of Fallon, while Enel Green Power’s officials dedicated the world’s first and only solar-geothermal hybrid project at Stillwater in 2012. And just last year, Work finished on the third stage in 2015 — a 2-megawatt capacity power project is operating alongside the geothermal plant and the solar photovoltaic facility is giving the world the first facility that produces energy from three separate energy sources.

Both the Stillwater and Salt Wells geothermal plants opened in April 2009, making them the largest geothermal plants in the world. Their presences has added to the county’s economy and will do so in the future as Enel considers both the Stillwater and Salt Wells facilities as key operations and economical boosters for the county.

“The lessons we are learning at this advanced geothermal solar facility will be key to the development of other hybrid plants throughout the world,” said Enel CEO Francesco Starace.

Furthermore, what also helps in the cooperation with Enel is Gov. Brian Sandoval’s support and commitment to developing renewable resources and energy in the Silver State.

Additionally, Dr. Martin Keller, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, said his agency is also committed to bringing its expertise to areas developing alternative energy.

Churchill County is in a win-win situation as it embraces both alternative energy and the worldwide companies who consider our area key to future development.

Editorials written by the editorial board appear on Wednesdays.