State seeks ‘green jobs’ and renewable energy |

State seeks ‘green jobs’ and renewable energy

Associated Press Writer

After a week of sparring over the budget, Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons and Democrats running the Legislature ended up agreeing ” more or less ” on at least one thing: the need for “green jobs” and renewable energy infrastructure in Nevada.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, said in a speech Thursday that a key initiative for Democrats during the 2009 session will be creation of 15,000 “green collar” jobs to retrofit schools and homes with energy-saving measures.

“We must look to Nevada’s considerable renewable energy to create short- and long-term jobs as we work towards a clean energy economy in our state,” Horsford said.

Gibbons followed up with a press release stating that Nevada is well on its way to developing the infrastructure, public-private partnerships, and private investment it would need for such an effort.

“As I said in my State of the State address, I hope for bipartisan support for our plan to expand our renewable energy industry, and I am glad to see that Democratic leadership is on board with our vision,” Gibbons said.

Horsford said he’d like to see federal money used to create “centers for renewable and sustainable energy,” to train workers to conduct energy audits, weatherize homes and retrofit schools and other public buildings with energy-efficient measures. He foresees job-training centers in Reno, Las Vegas and rural Nevada.

Gibbons has said that he plans to expand the renewable energy industry in Nevada, and the state’s abundant sunshine, wind and hot springs make it an ideal location for solar, wind and geothermal power production.

But Nevada’s power grid in the south, centered around Las Vegas, is not connected to its power grid in the north, around Reno, which has stalled renewable energy development.

In order for new power sources to reach the entire state, transmission lines would have to be built between the northern and southern population centers.

Dan Burns, spokesman for Gibbons, said the governor has met with representatives of companies that are interested in building transmission lines to connect the two power grids.

“The governor is intensely interested in a renewable energy future for Nevada,” Burns said. “This is an industry that would come here, and create thousands of jobs, that would stay in this state for the long term. This country will always need energy.”