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Geothermal exploration at Gerlach planned by venture

NNBW staff

The family of a Reno developer has joined with Boise-based U.S. Geothermal to create a joint venture that will explore potential geothermal resources around Gerlach.

U.S. Geothermal, which is publicly held, said last week it created the joint venture with Gerlach Green Energy LLC. State records show Gerlach Green Energy is managed by members of the family of Sam Jaksick, the developer of Montreaux, Caughlin Ranch and Lakeridge.

The Reno company will contribute two geothermal leases one on private property, one on Bureau of Land Management property to the joint venture in exchange for a 40 percent ownership. The 200-acre private lease covers Great Boiling Springs.

U.S. Geothermal will contribute one BLM lease to the joint venture and will invest an additional $1.7 million in exploration. It also will manage the project.

The combined leases cover 3,615 acres about 5.6 square miles.

Daniel Kunz, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Geothermal, said the Gerlach area has been ranked by the U.S. Geological Survey as one of the top geothermal regions in the state.

U.S. Geothermal last month struck a deal to purchase an existing 3.6-megawatt geo- thermal plant near Gerlach from Empire Geothermal LLC and Michael B. Stewart of Reno. It plans to invest $75 million to $85 million to boost the plant’s capacity to 27 megawatts.

The company also has acquired geothermal leases on about 5,400 acres six miles north of Gerlach.