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February 13, 2008
By John Trent
The University Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy was an important contributor to a report for Gov. Jim Gibbons’ Renewable Transmission Access Advisory Committee that was released in late January.
This report is an important contribution to the knowledge base for the state’s renewable energy assets, as it notes the locations of renewable energy resources, their relation to power lines available to transmit the power to population centers, and the locations where transmission lines are needed. The report is now posted to the web.
According to Lisa Shevenell, director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy, Gov. Gibbons has consistently pledged his support for renewable energy development.
The Great Basin Center provided geothermal resources maps from which derivative maps for the report were prepared. A beta version of all of the renewable interactive maps can be found at the center’s website.
These maps show geothermal, solar, wind and biomass potential in Nevada, along with land ownership and land restrictions.
Shevenell said the maps show that there is tremendous potential for renewable energy development in Nevada. She noted that in summer 2005 the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy hosted a Western Governor’s Association workshop to determine the amount of geothermal power immediately available with known resources and existing technologies. It was estimated then that there was 1,500 megawatts of power that could be developed by 2015. Based on additional resources located throughout applied research projects at the center since 2005, it is estimated that there is now a minimum of 2,500 megawatts of energy that could be produced using conventional geothermal resources in Nevada with existing technologies.
Some of the newly located resources were leased by the Bureau of Land Management during its most recent lease sale in August 2007. The 2,500 megawatts of new geothermal energy generation will be an important contributor to the energy supply of Nevada, which has a renewable portfolio standard that requires Sierra Pacific and Nevada Power Companies to produce 20 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2015, Shevenell said.
She also noted that if all of the 2,500 megawatts from geothermal is brought online by 2015, geothermal would account for 29 percent of Nevada’s needed electrical capacity.