Sen. Harry Reid: A clean energy investment moves Nevada forward

While there have been encouraging signs that our economy continues to recover, families in Nevada and around the country are still struggling. These challenges facing these families demand that Republicans and Democrats work together to keep our economy on the right track and to ensure that Nevada's workforce can compete in the global economy.

One of the best ways this can be accomplished is by working to ensure that Nevada leads the nation in clean energy jobs. Our state's recovery depends upon our ability to take advantage of our abundant clean energy resources and translate them into economic opportunity. There have been many exciting developments in the past few months.

A financing deal was approved earlier this year to fund the public-private partnership that will construct a north-to-south electricity transmission line that will help transmit clean, affordable energy to the places that need it. The financing deal set the foundation to create 400 construction jobs in the short term and thousands of jobs as the line helps renewable energy projects throughout Nevada access the electricity transmission grid.

In March, the Geothermal Energy Association released a report that shows Nevada leading the nation in geothermal energy by developing twice as many projects as any other state. The report makes it clear that Nevada is at the epicenter of the geothermal energy revolution. That means good paying jobs for Nevada. This is due largely to the Economic Recovery Act which invested $360 million in geothermal energy in Nevada. Thanks to this boost, projects across the state, and particularly in rural counties, are moving forward and putting more Nevadans back to work.

Beyond the Economic Recovery Act, I've worked with Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar to get permitting for renewable energy projects fast-tracked. Together, we have improved Interior's renewable energy project coordination to expedite permits for solar and geothermal projects that will keep Nevada's clean energy industry innovating. In fact, the Bureau of Land Management announced recently that three proposed geothermal plants and a transmission line to deliver renewable power have been designated as priorities, focusing the BLM's resources on making these projects a reality. We've done a lot to build a strong industry that will create good-paying, secure jobs that can't be off-shored. However, we can and must do more.

We should extend and improve critical tax and financing incentives, modernize the electricity transmission grid, and continue improving renewable energy permitting programs. I will also continue to urge the collaboration and cooperation needed between the federal government, the States, power providers, and other stakeholders to create new export markets for Nevada's clean power, ensuring that growth in the clean energy sector becomes synonymous with Nevada.

• Sen. Harry Reid can be reached through his website at http://reid.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment