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Old mines could provide opportunities for geothermal energy development in Nevada

Abandoned mining infrastructure, Nevada (source: flickr/ BLM Nevada, creative commons)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 19 Nov 2018

With voters in Nevada pushing the state towards a 50% renewable energy target, new research shows the opportunities of old mines and other industrial sites being used for geothermal, as well as solar and wind development.

With a recent decision by voters in the State of Nevada to push for concrete renewable energy targets, a recent article by Las Vegas Review-Journal looks into how the state could meet these targets without impact on land.

According to a report by The Nature Conservancy and the Rocky Mountain Institute, old mines and other industrial sites could accommodate new solar, wind and geothermal plants. Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data on brownfield sites in Nevada, the Rocky Mountain Institute identified more than 2.8 million acres of land that is already disturbed and could be used for renewable energy development.

The identified land, so the analysis “could meet about one-third of the new green energy standard, enough wind energy to meet the standard two times over and enough solar energy to meet the standard 20 times over”, so analysts according to Las Vegas Review.

Many of the brownfield sites – sites that have previously been developed but are currently not in used – already have access to roads and transmission lines making development less cumbersome.

The land identified provides a great opportunity for Nevada to reach its clean energy goals, yet requires focused policy work to break down barriers, according to John Zablocki, Southern Nevada conservation director for The Nature Conservancy.

Based on work by the group, the Administrative Code of Nevada  lists “renewable energy development and storage” as an acceptable post-production use for shuttered mining operations.

 

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal