Reid: Green energy means good things for Nevada consumers | NevadaAppeal.com

Reid: Green energy means good things for Nevada consumers

RICK SWART
Nevada Appeal News Service

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Sen. Harry Reid on Monday unveiled his renewable energy bill, saying it would create up to 3,300 Nevada jobs and at the same time reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

Senate Bill 1531, which Reid introduced on the Senate floor May 25, creates tax credits nationwide for a wide range of renewable energy projects, including solar, wind, and geothermal power.

Reid focused attention on the proposed legislation by pointing to examples of innovative clean energy projects currently under way in Nevada during press teleconference Monday afternoon.

“It’s a good bill, not a perfect bill, but a good bill,” said Reid. “If you look around Nevada, we’re surrounded by energy – wind, solar, geothermal. Our country’s basic ingenuity we have not been using.”

Reid pointed to a geothermal project at Naval Air Station Fallon as an example of the kinds of projects that are needed to reduce greenhouse gases, lower energy costs to consumers and reduce dependence on imported oil.

The U.S. Navy, which has been exploring the potential for geothermal development at NAS Fallon for the past 20 years, has contracted with Ormat to develop a 30 megawatt geothermal power plant on the south end of the base’s 8,400 acres, according to NAS Fallon Captain Scott Ryder. Ormat will build and run the plant and pay the Navy a percentage of the proceeds from electricity it produces.

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The plant when it is built in the next couple of years will produce more than enough power to run the naval base, although its primary purpose will be to feed electricity into the power grid, for which the Navy will receive royalty payments.

“From my perspective it’s like having a great big backup generator,” said Ryder, noting that currently the base is not immune to power outages, although mission critical operations like air traffic control and runway lights have their own generators.

Ryder said the geothermal project is one example of the Navy’s and the federal government’s commitment to renewable energy.

“Entities of the federal government are and have been working on green energy initiatives for a long time,” he said.

In addition to credits for alternative energy development, Reid’s bill includes punitive measures for oil companies who engage in price gouging. Those measures include windfall profits taxes designed to push oil companies to invest in new oil refineries to increase the supply and lower the price of gasoline.

“What we say is price gouging is unconscionable,” said Reid, who is also calling for automakers to produce vehicles that on average get 35 miles to the gallon.

Together these measures will create new construction jobs in Nevada and lower energy costs for consumers, Reid said. This is “a big deal for Nevada consumers.” he said.

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