Mines may prove to be attractive locations for renewable energy operations, says the founder of a Reno company that's working to bring a solar facility to reality at a New Mexico mine.
Remote Energy Solutions was founded just over two years ago by Reno's Ann Carpenter, a career geologist and former executive with U.S. Gold.
Carpenter believes that large and small mining operations are ripe for development of renewable energy power generation facilities because the majority of infrastructure already is in place as well as much of the required permitting.
"I realized there is an opportunity to co-use mine sites for renewable energy deployment, help to evolve the mine sites to something multi-functional," Carpenter says. "Power can be consumed right on site, or it can be a stand-alone business and sent downstream."
RES recently entered into its first partnership, an agreement with Warm Springs Renewable Energy Corp. of New Mexico to develop a solar facility at the Copper Flat mine site under development by Mercator Gold of Britain.
Carpenter will help guide the solar facility through permitting and feasibility studies. Mercator is expected to be the first customer of the new solar facility.
"You have disturbed lands that are already is in use," Carpenter said. "You already have a whole lot of environmental clearances completed for the mining project, and those can translate into energy production fairly easily."
The deal with Mercator came about when Carpenter was contacted by Managing Partner Patrick Hartford to deploy renewable energy to offset energy needs at the Copper Flat project. RES can earn a 30 percent stake in the project by guiding the solar facility into the construction phase.
Carpenter says RES has several other projects in the queue, but no agreements have yet been inked.
Finding the most cost-effective and profitable ways to partner with companies to advance renewable energy projects, as well in bringing in infrastructure to support the new facilities, are the biggest challenges facing RES.
"It's finding the right utility as a partner and finding good transmission and getting those to work well together," Carpenter says. "Transmission is one of the big bottlenecks right now all across the country."
Along with Carpenter, RES has two other principals: Vice President Charles Reith is stationed in Washington, D.C., to keep abreast of regulatory developments; and Senior Analyst Zack Gorstein recently relocated to New Mexico to work on the Copper Flat solar project.