With push for renewables, geothermal developers in Nevada hopeful for more growth

Geothermal plant by Ormat, Steamboat Hills, Nevada (source: ThinkGeoEnergy)
Alexander Richter 6 Sep 2020

During a recent presentation to the legislative committee for energy in the State of Nevada, Matthew Rosenfeld of Avalon Geothermal/ Cyrq Energy and Paul Thomsen of Ormat Technologies shared the role of geothermal and the opportunities for Nevada.

Recent electricity market challenges in the State of California, are seen as an opportunity for geothermal operators and developers in the State of Nevada.

A lot of geothermal development in the United States has happened in Nevada and a lot of the electricity generated by plants in the State feeding customers in California. An example is the recent 30% expansion of the Steamboat Hills geothermal power plant by Ormat Technologies near Reno, Nevada.

The electricity is sold to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to help it meet its renewable goals. Many other geothermal plants in Nevada are doing the same, so a recent article by The Nevada Independent.

“For the first time in probably five years, we are seeing tremendous attention and contracts being executed for geothermal in California,” said Paul Thomsen, Ormat’s vice president for business development who formerly chaired the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.

With ambitious policy goals across the Western United States, there is pressure to decrease the amount of electricity generated by fossil fuels. So while many states have been focusing on adding large amounts of (cheap) solar power to the grid, this is not sufficient. One would always need back up to fuel power demand around the clock. This is where geothermal developers see an opening for more geothermal development and power to feed the grids in the West.

The geothermal sector sees itself as elementary part of the future energy mix in the West, yet faces challenges such as a high up-front cost in development compared to other renewable energy sources.

Without the necessary lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., the sector  has not seen the same tax incentives as the solar sector. There are though signs of improvement. More interest on the federal level indicates that tax incentives running out now in December 2020, might be prolonged.

With funding of the U.S. Department of Energy also supporting efforts by the University of Nevada in Reno and Ormat, there is also support on pushing technical development and research.

The geothermal sector in Nevada is hopeful given that there are still a lot more of resources that can be tapped in the geothermal sector. … and the opportunity lies also beyond electricity, with heating also an option and concrete efforts being made e.g. by Avalon Geothermal, and as we reported last week by Cyrq Energy.

Paul Thomsen of Ormat and Matthew Rosenfeld of Avalon Geothermal/ Cyrq Energy presented at a recent the Legislative Committee on Energy meeting in Nevada and gave a “Presentation on Geothermal Resources’ Unique Attributes Across Industry Lines”.

The video presentation can be accessed here, the presentation for geothermal starts at around 11:23 am (the time stamp as part of the video). Here the link to the presentation part of the meeting (roughly 11:23am to 12:30 pm).

Source: The Nevada Independent