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Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in Nevada

Due to its increasing population, the State of Nevada spends approximately $6 billion every year on imported energy. Therefore, numerous lawmakers in the state have turned to an alternative, smarter solution for powering the energy – through the use of renewable energy that is locally produced. Nevada is blessed with over 250 days of pure sunshine annually and is one of the top nations in the state for solar energy production. Nevada is also rich in geothermal and wind resources as well. The state has created its own renewable portfolio standard – their 2005 standard states that a minimum of 20 percent of total power will be created using renewable sources of energy by the year 2015.

1) Renewable Energy Businesses in Nevada. Nevada has the distinction of housing a large number of renewable energy businesses. Premier Power Renewable Energy, Inc. is one of the leading North American and European providers of high quality solar power systems for commercial, industrial, government, agricultural, utility, and residential use. The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute is an organization assisting in offering transportation technologies that minimize environmental impacts. The Clean Energy Center designs as well as installs wind turbines, solar electricity, and solar hot water systems in Nevada and California.

2) Nevada Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Authority. The Nevada Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Authority is a one-stop-shop website for all things renewable energy and energy efficiency in Nevada. The website offers a number of rebates and incentive programs, tax abatement projects, energy grants, and the various laws, regulations, and rules involved in clean energy. It is the best place for businesses and residents to go to and learn about clean technologies.

3) Nevada State Financial Incentives for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficient Goods and Services. In an effort to make renewable energy and energy efficient products and resources more affordable to businesses and residents, Nevada created a number of financial incentives for assistance. This includes portfolio energy credits, property tax abatements for green buildings, renewable energy systems property tax exemptions, and a large number of utility rebate programs.

4) Nevada-Based Nonprofit Organizations Receive Energy Efficiency Grants. In 2010, NV Energy offered almost $210,000 in energy efficiency grants to different nonprofit organizations. These funds were invested in a number of energy efficient improvements including lighting retrofits and insulation, air conditioning, and window upgrades. The projects are predicted to provide more than 450,000 kilowatts of annual electricity, enough for 51 homes in northern Nevada.

5) Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization. The Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization is a public-private partnership consisting of a number of utilities, research institutes, energy producers, distributors and users, corporations as well as venture capital organizations. The institute looks to speed up the total deployment and comprehensive adoption of different renewable energy solutions throughout the state and create new jobs.

6) Nevada Renewable Energy Consortium. The Nevada Renewable Energy Consortium is a partnership between the Desert Research Institute, the University of Nevada at Reno and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas along with a number of community colleges around the state. The objective of the consortium is to assist the state in achieving its goal of becoming a national leader in the field of renewable energy research, development, and workforce development. They have a number of projects, including thermal treatment of biomass, low cost and high efficient flexible solar cells, and geothermal-life cycle.

7) Nevada Attracts Renewable Energy Industry. Nevada is looking to show its presence and become a major state for renewable energy investment. Nevada wants to become a leader in many areas of renewable energy. Nevada has a large number of solar energy projects, including Nevada Solar Pone, the third largest solar thermal power plant around the world. Nevada also houses the largest photovoltaic generating plant in the United States. As for geothermal, Nevada has the potential to offer more than one-thousand megawatts of energy. The state has the number one spot for per capita use of geothermal energy.

8 ) Nevada Shows Renewable Potential. Nevada is a large renewable energy base, home to three key sources of renewable energy power – hot springs, wind, and sunlight. In one study done by the Energy Information Administration, roughly half of the state has enough sunlight for the generation of a minimum of six kilowatt hours of solar power for every square meter on a daily basis. Approximately half of the state has ample underground hot springs able to produce a minimum of 80 milliwatts of geothermal power for every square meter. Finally, 25 percent of the state receives ample wind to host a number of utility-scale wind farms. According to John White, executive director at the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “Nevada is abundantly blessed with renewable energy resources. There’s no question Nevada has the potential to be completely reliant on renewable energy for its power needs, and to be a net exporter.”

9) Nevada-Based Renewable Energy Company Partners with Hyundai and LG. In mid-2010, Matinee Energy, Inc, a Nevada based company reached an agreement with LG Electronics, Inc, and Hyundai Heavy Industries, two of Korea’s manufacturing giants. In the plan the three companies will pledge more than $1 billion to pursue a couple hundred megawatts of energy via utility-scale solar projects throughout the United States. The initial goal is set for 240 megawatts but the total should be higher when the project is over. The first development is the Paragon Ranch Solar Project in New Mexico which is a 200 megawatt solar plant. The joint effort Matinee has with these two companies will assist in their plans to reach a larger client base in both wind and solar energy industries.

10) University of Nevada Renewable Energy Center. The Renewable Energy Center at the University of Nevada in Reno is a fairly new collaborative that focuses on creating programs designed for competitive research to create comprehensive plans to boost the standing of Nevada in the field of renewable energy. The collaboration focuses on four colleges, Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources; Engineering; Business; and Science. There are current research groups for hydrogen energy and storage, biomass, geothermal, solar energy, and power grid. The facility is one of the most unique in the country allowing for cutting edge research, development, and interaction.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at