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Photos show potential 'Gigafactory' site in Reno; CA incentive bill hits snag

by Justin King

Rumors suggest company is already breaking ground in Nevada.

Contractors commissioned by Tesla Motors may already be working to prepare a site near Reno, Nevada, to house the company's Gigafactory, according to a flurry of rumors.

Photos capture by Reno resident Bob Tregilus and posted by appear to show bulldozers leveling a large site at the Taho-Reno Industrial Centre. Sources 'close to the project' believe Tesla is behind the development, though the contractor potentially does not know, or cannot say, who the client is.

The secrecy is viewed as consistent with Tesla's approach, allowing states to continue battling for the site even after the site is already under construction, though it is not a particularly unusual demand from any large company worried about the prying eyes of competitors.

Reno has already been viewed as a top contender in the multi-state battle to host the $5 billion factory, which is expected to require millions of square feet and employ thousands of workers. Analysts suggest the "oasis in the desert" provides a perfect mix of minimal regulatory red-tape, plenty of renewable energy and access to rail transportation.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised to simultaneously break ground at two or more sites, suggesting the Reno development may not be guaranteed to host the factory even if Tesla is the man behind the curtain. The approach allows the company to keep the project on track even if setbacks cause delays at one of the locations.

Separately, California legislators appear to have hit a snag in their incentive push. Property-tax breaks were recently signed into law, however a second 'urgency' bill proposed in June has not yet moved to a vote, according to . Proponents would need a two-thirds majority to quickly apply incentives, rather than waiting until January 1 for a normal bill to come into effect.

Despite serving as a home base for thousands of workers at Tesla's Fremont factory, the state was initially excluded from the Gigafactory short list. A more complex web of regulations and permitting requirements has been viewed as a deal breaker, though the incentive packages will likely include provisions to fast-track or sidestep the compliance hurdles that could otherwise delay progress.

Photo courtesy of Bob Tregilus.

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