Sustainable heat source will stay online after Reno utility company sells geothermal plant


    GEOTHERMAL NEIGHBORHOOD.jpg

    It all started with a letter two months ago-- That's how residents in one South Reno neighborhood learned their geothermal plant would go offline this summer.

    But this week, homeowners are breathing a sigh of relief after receiving yet another letter, giving them new hope they'll be able to keep their sustainable heat source.

    "We were trying to seek any and all alternatives to shutting down the geothermal system." Curt Ledford is an attorney representing Nevada Geothermal. He said the utility company decided to take the plant offline because they could not afford the estimated $4 million in repairs to keep the system up to date.

    "We were extremely worried." Geothermal customer Steve Hess said some of his neighbors faced thousands of dollars to overhaul the utility systems in their homes. "There's a lot of people who don't have backup systems int he area and those people don't have to spend anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 to put in the backup systems."

    Just this week, those worries were quelled when Nevada geothermal announced they will sell the sustainable energy plant.

    Ledford said, "we have selected a prospective buyer for Nevada Geothermal Utility Company."

    Another letter to residents announced Cyrq Energy will take over the system. Ledford said Nevada Geothermal was looking for a buyer "that would propose a plan to keep the geothermal system operating. We think Cyrq has that capability."

    Cyrq Energy is no stranger to the alternative energy industry. At a meeting on March 8, the company's Vice President of Operations and Safety spoke to residents about Cyrq's interest in buying the geothermal plant. Monte Morrison said, "we also have power plants in Utah and New Mexico."

    The South Reno geothermal plant supplies just 104 homes, but it's actually the largest residential geothermal district in all of Nevada.

    And some homeowners are hoping Cyrq Energy will expand the geothermal plant, so more people can take advantage of the sustainable heat source.

    Steve Hess has been using geothermal energy since he moved to his home 31 years ago. He said, "you're not using up natural gas. You're not using up oil. You're not putting CO2 into the air. So it's really a cool fuel."

    Most residents are relieved they get to keep their geothermal system. Hess said, "I always had that hope that something would happen but we are really, really happy."

    But some still have concerns. They want to be sure the new owners will make the necessary repairs to the system. Hess said, "we hope they're here for the long haul." And they wonder if their utility bills will go up under new ownership.

    News 4/Fox11 reached out to Cyrq Energy to try to get some of those questions answered for the people living here, but we have not yet heard back.

    And keep in mind, the deal can't be finalized until the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approves it, which likely won't happen for a few months.

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