Past Pages, Jan. 9, 2012: Ormat’s retreat – geothermal no slam dunk

Cover page of the Jan. 9, 2012, edition of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

Cover page of the Jan. 9, 2012, edition of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we 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 Jan. 9, 2012, edition of the NNBW.

Ormat’s retreat: Geothermal no slam dunk

Ormat Technologies’ recent troubles at its Carson Lake project in Churchill County underscore the gamble geothermal developers take when trying to bring new projects online. Ormat pulled the plug on a power purchase agreement signed in 2006 with NV Energy after delays in bringing online the proposed 30-megawatt geothermal plant.

Reno-based Ormat began pre-drilling at the Carson Lake site near the beginning of 2007, but the company never found the high-temperature hot water supplies it expected to drive turbines at the facility. Costs mounted as Ormat conducted exploration drilling in hopes of finding lower temps.

On Dec. 22, the company terminated its power purchase agreement for the Carson Lake facility and paid NV Energy a fee of $1.7 million.

“We were expecting to find a high-temperature resource at Carson Lake, and what we were expecting to find never materialized,” says Paul Thomsen, Ormat’s director of public policy and business development.

— Page 1, by Rob Sabo

Agents square off against secretary of state

The Nevada Registered Agent Association and one of its members have gone to court in an attempt to stop Secretary of State Ross Miller from gathering information from out-of-state home-based companies that say they’re not required to pay for Nevada business licenses.

Miller has claimed fraud is widespread among out-of-state companies that incorporate in Nevada and say that they don’t need to buy a business license. State law doesn’t require business licenses for home-based firms with net earnings of less than $27,000.

But NRAA, which represents the new-business incorporation business in the state, contends that Miller may be scaring off companies that otherwise would incorporate in Nevada.

—Page 1, by John Seelmeyer

Mining boom a bonanza for Reno staffing specialist

Nevada’s mining boom has been more than kind to Reno-based Geotemps. The mine-site staffing agency cut more paychecks in 2011 than the two previous years combined. Further, in 2011, Geotemps placed the second largest number of temporary employees at mines throughout the world in the company’s history, says Operations Director Stephanie Dmytriw.

Nevada’s booming mining industry still accounts for the majority of Geotemp’s placements, but the company has placed an increasing number of employees at mines in Alaska and abroad through Geotemps International, a sister company in Vancouver.

The cadre of Geotemps workers are overseen by 20 office workers spread across six branch locations in Arizona, Alaska and Nevada. The company, which provides staffing services in about 15 western states, is eying several expansion sites in 2012, Dmytriw says.

— Page 3, by Rob Sabo


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