Reno, EDAWN pitch geothermal firms to locate HQs here

A couple thousand people from the geothermal industry will arrive in Reno for a four-day industry meeting next week.

City and business leaders hope to convince some of them to stick around for a quite a bit longer.

Because Nevada is home to some of the world's most promising geothermal resources, the City of Reno and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada believe it makes sense for companies in the industry to locate their corporate offices in northern Nevada.

And if the corporate offices are located in Reno, city and EDAWN executives figure it won't be long before related professionals engineers and lawyers, for instance follow.

But first EDAWN and the city need to plant some seeds.

They'll get their opportunity as the Geothermal Energy Association and the Geothermal Resources Council gather for what they're calling the largest geothermal gathering in the world Oct. 4-7 at The Peppermill.

About 1,800 people attended the event last year, and organizers expect more this time around.

Among the 120 vendor booths at the expo will be a high-profile display from the City of Reno.

John Hester, the city's community development director, says city staff will offer interested geothermal executives a bus tour of potential sites for corporate offices and research facilities. Among them: the Redfield campus area of south Reno, downtown office buildings, the proposed DRI Research Park and the neighborhood just south of the University of Nevada, Reno.

Chuck Alvey, president and chief executive officer of EDAWN, says the economic development already has begun identifying prospects in the geothermal industry.

An e-mail marketing campaign from EDAWN targeted 133 companies in the renewable energy arena solar, wind, biomass and geothermal. The campaign spotlighted Nevada's business-friendly tax climate as well as the high marks won by the state's requirement that electric utilities buy a growing portion of their supply from renewable sources.

"It's very targeted toward development of relationships," Alvey says of the effort by EDAWN and the city.

EDAWN has targeted clean energy as one of the six industry groups to get special attention as the region seeks to develop more high-skilled, high-paid jobs.

The geothermal expo and annual meeting will draw representatives of companies that are developing geothermal power plants, suppliers of geothermal technology and firms that supply professional services.

Conference subjects will range from financing of geothermal projects to reviews of new technology. Field trips to geothermal facilities such as the Steamboat Hill complex at the south edge of Reno also are scheduled.


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