Burning Man Becomes Latest Adversary in Geothermal Feud

One of the darkest towns in America lies roughly 100 miles north of Reno, where the lights are few and rarely lit until one week each summer when pyrotechnics and LEDs set the sky and mountains aglow.

In tiny Gerlach, just outside the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, residents have watched the Burning Man festival grow over the last 30 years to a spectacle of nearly 80,000 countercultural hippies and tech billionaires, offering an economic lifeline for the unincorporated town. Now, Burning Man and Gerlach are more tightly aligned, joining conservationists and a Native American tribe in an alliance against a powerful adversary: Ormat Technology, the largest geothermal power company in the country.

Both Burning Man and Ormat share a vision for a greener future, yet neither can agree on the road to get there.

The festival promotes self-reliance and leaving no trace of its ephemeral metropolis, yet it contributes an enormous carbon footprint; the power company is vested in the future by…

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This article was written by Arielle Paul and originally published on www.nytimes.com