Alternative energy – the next big thing |

Alternative energy – the next big thing

It’s good to see Sen. Harry Reid taking the lead on a more rational and enlightened national energy policy that will not only be good for the environment but also will reduce this country’s dependence on foreign oil.

Reid is going about this much-needed transformation the right way – by offering entrepreneurs strong tax incentives to develop alternative sources of energy, including wind, solar and geothermal, all of which are available in vast quantities in Nevada but as yet are sorely underutilized.

Hopefully these tax incentives will be the catalyst that innovative business owners need to invest in new technologies that will pay big dividends down the road.

Blessed with wide-open spaces and more sunny days than almost any other place in the country, solar power is an obvious choice. The same expansiveness of Nevada’s high desert, coupled with the ever-present currents moving our way from across the Sierra, make wind farms a distinct possibility as well.

The region’s geothermal resources are immense.

Reid estimates that his tax credits could stimulate creation of 3,300 jobs in Nevada alone, and many of them in rural areas, in things like construction of power plants, retrofitting schools and developing new technologies.

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The benefits of a comprehensive alternative energy program go far beyond jobs and lower energy costs, though. They will also help to reduce greenhouse gases that most scientists in the world today believe are causing global warming.

The federal government must take the lead in changing the collective mindset of the population from one of consumption to one of conservation and sustainability. Market forces alone are seldom enough to effect huge paradigm shifts, which is why tax incentives are essential. They give good ideas with marginal short-term economic benefits the extra push they often need to get started. Rewarding right behavior by providing incentives is imminently more effective than hitting people over the head with regulations, fines and other punitive measures.

Alternative energy, especially in Nevada, is a veritable gold rush just waiting to happen.

This editorial appeared in the Lahontan Valley News