Skip to comments.Building a Clean Energy Future(FLASHBACK)
Posted on 08/13/2013 5:46:58 PM PDT by mdittmar
Our country is too dependent on oil and fossil fuels, which pollute our air, place our economy and national security at risk, and contribute to climate change. As the Senate Majority Leader, I am working on building a clean energy future that will help provide Americans safe, reliable, and affordable supplies of clean energy.
In March 2012, I released a report that details how Nevadas renewable energy economy has been aided by federal legislation focused on spurring investment in clean energy and the reform of policies that have accelerated the deployment of clean energy projects on federal lands. Click here to read the report.
Clean Energy and Economic Recovery
Over the last decade, several important federal policies and incentives have helped Nevada and the nation start to realize its enormous clean energy potential. In 2009, one of the most significant steps toward realizing that clean energy potential came when Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). This legislation is helping Nevada become the nations renewable energy leader and is making a real difference in our efforts to create jobs and reduce energy costs for American families.
Through the Recovery Act, Nevada has received over $550 million for a range of energy efficiency, renewable, and weatherization projects as well as hundreds of millions in low-cost financing for transmission and renewable energy deployment projects. This legislation provided billions to modernize our electric grid and to enhance the security and reliability of energy infrastructure. The legislation also provided competitive funding for geothermal technologies, biomass research and development, and advanced battery manufacturing. These types of investments are making Nevadas institutions of higher education, schools, cities, private businesses, and counties synonymous with some of the nations most innovative clean energy projects. And these are the types of clean energy projects that can help cost-effectively reduce our inefficient use of dirty fossil fuels, and through the electrification of our transportation sector, reduce our addiction to oil.
I was pleased to help ensure the legislation included extensions of important renewable energy production and investment tax credits, eliminated the previous cap on the credit for residential solar electric systems, and created the new Treasury Departments (Section 1603) grant in lieu of tax credit program. These kinds of incentives are imperative for protecting our economic, energy and national security and providing business certainty. They have helped make solar electric panels more accessible and affordable for the average homeowner and helped businesses tap into the American innovative spirit, create jobs and build sustainable economic growth, and are speeding the development of Nevadas and the Wests abundant solar, wind, and geothermal resources.
The Recovery Act has also helped Nevada families permanently reduce their energy costs by providing over $38 million in weatherization funding. Reducing our energy usage by making our homes more energy efficient not only creates jobs, but it can also save families 32 percent or more on their overall energy bills, putting money back in their pockets to spend on other priorities. Examples of the dozens of renewable energy projects that are benefiting Nevada include:
Supporting Renewable Energy in Nevada and Across America
Nevada has the potential to be the nations renewable energy epicenter. In fact, I strongly believe that Nevada can become a net exporter of renewable power with the right partnership between federal and state government and the private sector. Nevadas solar potential is already attracting innovative businesses and southern Nevadas abundance of clear sunny days makes it one of the best locations for solar energy in the world. Northern Nevada holds some of the largest amount of untapped geothermal resources in the United States, and there are tremendous wind resources throughout the state.
The great economic benefits of realizing this potential is one of the reasons why in August 2011, I joined with the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Clean Energy Project, UNLV, and MGM Resorts International to host the fourth annual National Clean Energy Summit.
Following up on similar events I hosted in 2008, 2009, and 2010, the most recent summit included presentations and speeches from Vice President Joe Biden, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, California Governor Jerry Brown, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and other leaders from government, business, labor, and the non-profit communities. These Summits have helped bring Nevadas potential and clean renewable energy to the attention of the world, including investors and project developers.
The knowledge gained through these Summits has also made it abundantly clear that our nations long-term security and environment rests on our ability to access and develop renewable energy resources, and to invest in greater energy efficiency. I am pleased that these events have brought together a diverse group of individuals to discuss our countrys growing energy needs. I look forward to regularly bringing together leaders from across the globe to guide federal and local government in rapidly developing clean renewable energy and growing a green economy.
These important conversations, videos from the events, and policy recommendations can be found on the National Clean Energy Projects website.
Click here to learn more about the Blue Ribbon Panel on Energy that I created after the first National Clean Energy Summit. The Blue Ribbon Panel is comprised of policymakers, experts, industry leaders, representatives of both business and labor, Democrats and Republicans who are all committed to charting a course to energy independence and creating jobs and sustainable economic growth for Nevada.
Delivering Renewable Power to Nevadans through Transmission
One of the largest impediments to increasing electricity generation from clean renewable sources is access to transmission lines. That is why I introduced legislation in the 111th Congress entitled the Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act (CREEDA) that charts a course to a cleaner, greener, and smarter national energy transmission system without sacrificing reliability or affordability. This will ensure a more secure and sustainable energy future for America, and I will be working in the 112th Congress to support similar legislation.
The legislation I introduced last Congress would require the President to designate renewable energy zones with significant clean energy generating potential. Then, an important planning effort will begin in all the interconnection areas of the country to maximize the use of that renewable potential by building new transmission capacity. The states would then propose cost allocation means to fund the new lines in the green transmission grid plans. If either process falters, then the federal government would be given clear authority to keep things moving and get the new transmission built on schedule and funded equitably.
Some of Nevadas best renewable energy resources are located in rural areas where access to transmission lines is sorely lacking. Upgrading transmission lines in these energy rich locations will create jobs and can power towns and cities throughout our great state. Transmission lines linking northern Nevada with southern Nevada must be built so that we can fully reap the benefits of our abundant renewable energy resources, improve the reliability of the grid, and make energy use more efficient and affordable.
Efficiency and Conservation
As energy costs continue to eat into consumers savings, our country must make more serious investments in energy efficiency research and in technology deployment. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and consulting firms like McKinsey & Company have estimated that America wastes billions of dollars in energy annually and misses out on billions of dollars in energy savings opportunities with short paybacks. According to the National Academy of Sciences, energy efficient technologies for residences and commercial buildings, transportation, and industry exist today that could save 30 percent of the energy used in the U.S. economy while also saving money. Reducing energy consumption and becoming more energy efficient in our communities, homes, and businesses is the most cost-effective and practical way to increase total energy supplies, reduce harmful pollution, and protect our economy from volatile energy prices.
Nevadans pay high prices for electricity, and could face additional rate hikes in the near future. Energy efficient homes and buildings reduce the demand for electricity at the utility level and reduce the need for utilities, especially in southern Nevada, to buy expensive out-of-state power to meet peak power needs. Energy efficiency and conservation are practical and cost effective they have the potential to reduce entire U.S. energy demand by 14 to 19 percent by 2020 without costing a dime in the long run.
That is why I have supported legislation that has improved standards for federal and commercial buildings, as well as appliances and lighting. Thanks to landmark energy legislation passed in 2007, consumer appliances, like dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, and freezers will now use less electricity and reduce consumers energy bills. New buildings will also use much less energy compared to existing buildings, as states phase in new design standards and codes based on models created by the federal government. In addition, the federal government is leading the development of technologies that will contribute to these codes and standards in part through the new zero net energy initiative for federal buildings.
harry spent alot of our money on "Clean Energy",to bad it hasn't helped his constituents.
Must be fun though to party at the Mandalay Bay.