Ucilia Wang, Contributing Writer, GigaOm, Forbes, Renewable Energy World
Bob Boehm, Director, Center for Energy Research, UNLV
BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- A deal with ENN Mojave Energy would have generated enough solar power to supply 200,000 homes – and brought 2,200 jobs to Nevadans. But the agreement fell through when the utility company couldn’t get a purchasing agreement in place to sell the energy.
“It’s not a shock,” says energy journalist Usilia Wang. “I think it was first announced in early 2012 and the timing just wasn’t right.”
Wang says California and Arizona are hotbeds of solar energy development, so there’s intense competition. The utility companies have a lot of choices as to where to locate.
And they’re more likely to choose a location where there is greater depth of expertise in developing solar.
“It’s fairly new to us,” she says.
It’s not only the competition and lack of research and development talent that hinders Nevada’s ventures into solar. It’s a weaker commitment to developing renewable energy sources vs. finding cheaper energy sources.
“I think that natural gas will take first priority because of its inexpensive nature,” says Bob Boehm, Director of the Center for Energy Research at UNLV. On the other hand, with Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway buying NV Energy, he says, that’s difficult to say for sure.
“They’ve shown quite a bit of interest in renewable energy in other locations,” says Boehm.
Wang says attracting the kind of solar energy talent to Nevada that California boasts requires developing assets the state doesn’t yet have.
“It’s going to be pretty hard to try to create that community,” says Wang. “You really have to attract, not only the money, you’ve got to have the right housing and schools.”