A Modern Comstock Lode: TESLA’s New Gigafactory Battery Facility

If you frequented any local business in the Sierra in the past month you likely overheard significant chatter about Tesla choosing Reno as the location to build it’s new Gigafactory battery facility. While there is no new silver ore mine attracting prospectors, there is that same excitement and hope for a renewed economic prosperity for the region that existed after the discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859. One cannot underestimate the potential economic impact of such a high tech facility on the Sierra Nevada region. According to the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development 6,500 jobs will be created over the next four years from the facility alone, not to mention the 15,000+ likely additional jobs from the ancillary small businesses that will be created or boosted from Tesla’s presence. Tesla will be one of the largest employers in the Sierra.

COMM AG BlogImage 2014The potential influx of new residents and development will shape the future of the Sierra Nevada region for future generations to come. New infrastructure will be needed and existing infrastructure will have to be updated. With great new potential economic opportunity and infrastructure development also comes great responsibility to manage the new development and redevelopment in a smart and sustainable manner.

It’s vitally important that we learn from the past mistakes of poor city planning that consisted of urban sprawl coupled with endless cul-de-sac developments and rampant car based culture and instead focus on promoting sustainable communities with mixed use infill development and walkable neighborhoods interconnected with an extensive public transit system. It’s my hope that Reno can rise to the challenge and serve as a model for future sustainable city development.

As the Sierra copes with the realities of climate change, Sierra Business Council will continue to serve as a catalyst for promoting sustainable businesses in the region such as Tesla that are good for people, planet, and profit. The future economic and environmental challenges that face the Sierra Nevada region will be difficult, but with innovative solutions and the resiliency of our region, I’m optimistic that we will build a better Sierra Nevada.

If you want to become part of the conversation to build a more prosperous Sierra Nevada, please join Sierra Business Council at our Peak Innovation Conference October 8 – 10 at the Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge in Tahoe City, California. Register today, the first five registrants to use the code SIERRA100 will received $100 off the total conference cost!