Senator Harry Reid lauds Nevada’s new Tesla battery factory at Vegas event

Nevada Senator Harry Reid kicks off his clean energy summit. Image courtesy of Katie Fehrenbacher, Gigaom.

The news that Tesla plans to build its massive battery factory in Nevada dominated the discussion at a clean energy summit in Las Vegas on Thursday. Nevada Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid — who organizes the National Clean Energy Summit — praised the deal, which will be officially announced this afternoon in Carson City, Nevada, and said in morning remarks: “this is great news for Nevada.”

A recently raised spot of land in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. Image courtesy of Katie Fehrenbacher, Gigaom.

A recently raised spot of land in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. Image courtesy of Katie Fehrenbacher, Gigaom.

Reid said Tesla partially wanted to base its factory in Nevada because of the local availability of lithium. Rockwood Lithium operates a lithium mine in Silver Peak, Nevada, one of the only ones operating in the U.S. “Tesla will have access to a lithium producer right here in Nevada,” said Reid. Reid also noted that Tesla successfully used a loan from the Department of Energy to build its facility in Nevada, and Rockwood Lithium received funds from the DOE to for its Nevada mine.

The Tahoe Reno Industrial Center. Image courtesy of Katie Fehrenbacher, Gigaom.

The Tahoe Reno Industrial Center. Image courtesy of Katie Fehrenbacher, Gigaom.

Reid said in a press conference that details of the deal would be left to Governor Brian Sandoval and Tesla CEO Elon Musk this afternoon in Carson City. We’ll bring you more news when it’s officially announced.

The timing of the Tesla announcement was great for Reid and Nevada. Maybe not so much for Fulcrum BioEnergy, the trash-to-fuel company, which held a press conference to kick off the Vegas event on Thursday morning. Fulcrum BioEnergy founder Jim Macias answered questions about how he felt about being new neighbors with Tesla, while reporters asked Reid about the Tesla deal.

Here are some of the reasons why Tesla chose Nevada for its factory.

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