Charging Ahead: Max’s Role in Nevada’s “Battery Boom”

In the heart of Reno, Nevada, resides Max Georgeson, a passionate advocate for clean energy and a driving force behind our state’s burgeoning clean energy sector. Max’s journey reflects the transformative job opportunities that come as a result of investments from President Biden’s clean energy plan 

Max’s story begins at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he pursued a Materials Science and Engineering degree. It was there that he encountered a pivotal moment that would set the course of his career in clean energy. Inspired by a professor’s mention of UNR’s pioneering minors in batteries and energy storage technology, Max seized the opportunity to delve deeper into this emerging field.

Max, right, is pictured above with current UNR President and former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, left, at his UNR graduation upon completing his Master's Degree in Computer Science & Engineering.

“I've always been a chemistry nerd, and that was what led to my material science and engineering degree in the first place. The chemistry of energy storage has always been interesting to me,” says Max.

With the nearby presence of the Tesla Gigafactory, which opened in 2016 and recently announced a 4 million square feet expansion in Storey County, Max was drawn instantly to the intersection of technology, sustainability, and automotive engineering.

His immersion into the world of battery engineering opened doors to exciting opportunities, including an internship and, eventually, a full-time role building batteries as a Battery Engineer for Panasonic and now as a Data Analyst for Redwood Materials. Max’s journey exemplifies the transformative impact of the federal Clean Energy Plan, which continues to stimulate economic growth across the country and a culture of innovation and opportunity in communities like Reno.

Max is pictured above, working remotely from his office at home in Reno, NV.

Max’s enthusiasm for clean energy extends beyond the confines of his profession; it permeates his interactions with his community and inspires others to explore the possibilities within the clean energy sector. While it’s only been a few short years, Max has tried to demystify the role clean energy technologies play in our day-to-day lives, particularly electric vehicles (EVs), and even empowering his parents to make the long-awaited switch to an EV of their own! Max explains the impacts:

“I think talking to people about what actually goes on in EVs makes them more comfortable with the idea of owning an EV themselves. I think that was huge for my parents getting an EV… My experience helped a lot with them just getting more comfortable with the idea and embracing a new technology.”

Notably, one of the most significant benefits Max has witnessed is the proliferation of clean energy jobs and the industry’s rapid growth. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), celebrated as the most impactful climate and clean energy legislation in our nation’s history, has been crucial in fueling this growth.

The Inflation Reduction Act has kickstarted Nevada’s economy, providing thousands of high-quality, good-paying jobs– just like Max’s.

Across Nevada, new clean energy projects have already spurred $12.19 billion in investment, the 6th highest in the nation, and created or moved forward 15,938 good-paying clean energy jobs, the 5th most in the country.

“There's a lot of room for growth in the clean energy industry. People who would come out there straight out of high school, they'd work as a base level operator for six months, and within a year or two, they'd already be up to supervisors or as maintenance technicians.,” says Max when asked about the job opportunities available to Nevadans in the energy sector.

In 2021, there were already 32,378 Nevada workers employed in clean energy jobs, a figure set to soar with the implementation of the IRA. The law will bring an estimated $2.7 billion investment in large-scale clean power generation and storage to Nevada between now and 2030, creating good-paying jobs across solar, wind, storage, and other clean energy industries. For the first time ever, federal clean energy tax credits include bonuses for businesses that pay a prevailing wage, ensuring that Nevada workers earn a good paycheck as the state builds its clean energy future.

Max's experience at the forefront of battery engineering resonates with the state's clean energy boom: “When I was at Panasonic, even though it was a 100-year-old Japanese company, it was also an American startup. So everyone who gets in early and sticks around ends up on the forefront within a matter of years. There's not a lot of industries that you see that in.”

Did You Know:

  • Nevadans can get a clean energy job through Job Corps, a federal program that works with young people who have had difficulty getting an education or employment.

Research shows Job Corps boosts earnings for the young people it serves.

Since the passage of the IRA, clean energy projects in Nevada have surged, creating jobs and investing in the state’s clean energy economy. Notably, Redwood Materials, a battery manufacturing and lithium refining hub, has received substantial support, including a $2 billion loan commitment from the Department of Energy to build and expand a $3.5 billion battery materials campus in McCarran. The project will create thousands of good-paying union construction jobs and employ approximately 1,600 full-time employees, further bolstering Nevada’s clean energy workforce.

Construction is underway at Redwood Material's battery materials campus at Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center in April 2022 (pictured above).

Reno, NV: The Energy Hub That’s Powering Our Nation’s Future

Max underscores the urgency of transitioning from “finite,” environmentally harmful resources to renewable, sustainable alternatives. 

As he puts it, “I think the thing that I always come back to is that the two options are depleting a resource that we know is finite or expanding infinitely towards the future.”

With the October 2023 designation of Reno as a federally recognized “Tech Hub,” Northern Nevada is acknowledged as a hub of innovation, economic opportunity, and natural beauty—a place where clean energy thrives and the jobs of the future are being created. With its majestic landscapes, vibrant community, and emerging clean energy sector, Reno beckons to those who dare to envision a world powered by renewable energy and guided by a commitment to sustainability.

Max on Reno and our state’s clean energy boom: “Nothing really stacks up to Reno in terms of its location, let alone the fact that we're getting this mass tech boom from tech workers moving here. We’ve got the battery boom going on. We've got Google, Switch, and everything out here. What’s not to love about that?”

The Road Ahead

As he reflects on his experiences, Max’s advice for those seeking to be part of our country’s clean energy industry is simple: “Why not be part of the future?” 

Beyond his work in the energy sector, Max is passionate about the outdoors. His many hobbies, from mountain biking and skiing to camping and surfing, reflect his deep connection to nature. As he puts it, “Everything that I can think of that I really enjoy doing is all outside,”  recognizing that it’s about living a lifestyle that aligns with environmental consciousness.

In his free time, Max is a proud outdoor recreationist and often enjoys “driving up in the mountains, camping, and being out in nature!”

Max’s journey is a unique example in the clean energy industry. His story not only underscores the immense potential of investing in clean energy but also highlights the pivotal role of education and innovation in shaping that future. As we reflect on Max’s trajectory, we are reminded that the seeds of progress are sown not just in policy chambers but, more importantly, in classrooms and communities. With each step forward, we reaffirm our commitment to forging a brighter, cleaner tomorrow for Nevada and beyond.

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