Past Pages, June, 13, 2011: Geothermal industry faces challenges as exploration widens

The cover of the June 13, 2011, edition of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

The cover of the June 13, 2011, edition of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week in 2021, we will feature snippets of stories that published a decade ago to provide readers a 10-year perspective of business news in the region. This week’s stories first published in the June 13, 2011, edition of the NNBW.

Geothermal industry faces challenges as exploration widens

Early developers of geothermal resources in Nevada headed for obvious locations — the sorts of places where steam rose from cracks in the ground — to build electric generation plants.

As those sites are developed, however, the geothermal industry now looks farther afield for prospects — a search that is substantially more expensive and risk-filled.

The stakes are big. The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology estimates that geothermal production revenues could total $1 billion a year in Nevada in the next couple of decades, and geothermal resources could meet 35 percent or more of the state’s needs for electricity.

But developers no longer can simply drill holes at locations such as Steamboat at the south edge of Reno or Brady Hot Springs northeast of Fernley. Now the search extends into Nevada’s notoriously complex geology, as exploration teams attempt to predict locations where suitable resources of hot water can be found anywhere from 2,000 to 8,000 feet below the surface.

— Page 1, by John Seelmeyer

Looming retirements spark new worries about nursing shortages

While the recession helped curtail nursing shortages in Northern Nevada, hospital executives worry the combination of an economic recovery and the aging of a cadre of baby boomer nurses may create a significant shortage within a few years.

Jeff Stout, chief nursing officer at Renown Health, says the hospital is still in a hiring phase and expects to bring on 60-70 newly graduated nurses during June alone.

As the largest medical employer in Reno-Sparks, Renown has the greatest need for new nurses to complement its current staff of 1,300 nurses. However, despite being adequately positioned today, executives are looking several years ahead when the region recovers from the recession that has kept many older nurses working to support their households rather than retiring.

— Page 1, by Rob Sabo

Construction underway at facility for Urban Outfitters

Paul Kinne was just beginning work in a new job as a business development manager with the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada in mid 2010, touching base with contacts from his previous career in real estate development.

Much to his surprise, his contact at Urban Outfitters returned his call within about an hour to ask for his assistance with a major facility proposed for Northern Nevada. Last week, almost exactly a year to the day from that first phone call, the Philadelphia-based retailer formally broke ground on a 462,720-square-foot fulfillment center in Stead.

The center will employ about 150 full-time people when it opens in 2012; Urban Outfitters’ investment in the facility is estimated at $60 million.

— Page 2, by John Seelmeyer


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