Energy Policy and Nevada
Critics say Nevada's largest utility is undercutting the spirit of legislation designed to spur renewable energy development by purchasing power from out-of-state sources. ...the company has used wind power from Wyoming, geothermal from Utah and hydropower from Idaho dams to help it meet the state's requirement.
The politics of renewable energy headed the agenda in battleground Nevada on Tuesday, as Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar opened a fifth annual green energy conference with the announcement that a 12-square-mile wind energy farm in rural White Pine County will begin producing electricity.
"To increase utility rates on Nevadans struggling to emerge from a severe economic recession would result in the imposition of an unnecessary and unfair burden on our recovery," he wrote.
The bill, critics said, could have put ratepayers on the hook for $1 billion in transmission lines.
In Utah, state officials are fielding various combinations of energy proposals, a list that includes solar and geothermal installations and an energy storage project ...Scores of projects - some speculative, others well-funded and a few quirky - have surfaced with energy companies eager to take advantage of loan guarantees and tax breaks being promoted by President Barack Obama.
A state committee is recommending that power companies spend about $3 billion on transmission lines to connect renewable energy sites in rural Nevada to existing lines.
Political leaders from both parties have often said Nevada is in a race with other states to attract renewable energy projects.
Solar, wind and geothermal energy production represent the very future of Nevada's economy, they say.
Despite the bold talk, state government has lagged behind surrounding states in applying for millions in federal stimulus dollars for renewable energy and energy conservation projects.
Despite a historic budget shortfall that forced lawmakers to make deep cuts in nearly every state agency, the Legislature created the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Authority. Lawmakers hope it eventually will be funded with tax dollars from the renewable energy projects the authority helps to attract to the state.
In the meantime, the new authority has $500,000 taken from the Public Utilities Commission's reserve account.
Harnessing the sun and the winds will be looked at Monday by the Mohave County Supervisors.
The supervisors will look to hold a special workshop in the coming months dealing with renewable energy projects in Mohave County. No workshop has been scheduled, but, upon recommendation of the county planning and zoning board, one is highly likely.
Reid announced the pending legislation at the opening of the National Clean Energy Project in Washington. Former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, billionaire wind-energy promoter T. Boone Pickens, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others joined Reid at today's summit.
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- Gov. Jim Gibbons isn't joining U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in condemning three proposed coal-fired power plants in rural Nevada that would supply electricity to Las Vegas.
Although coal plants long have been criticized for the pollutants they spew into the air, the Republican governor said new technology "minimizes the production of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emission."
Reid, D-Nev., said he opposes the coal-fired plants in White Pine and Lincoln counties because they would produce millions of tons of pollution. As an alternative, he wants the state to consider renewable forms of energy and improved energy efficiency.
WASHINGTON - The House rejected a resolution Wednesday that would block government plans to spur construction of major new power lines in many states regardless of local opposition.
The issue has been contentious in parts of the East Coast and in the Southwest, where two high priority transmission corridors for power lines were proposed. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., warned colleagues that unwanted power lines could come to their district.
A new federal proposal to help electricity flow more freely could help the energy-choked East Coast. But it could also infuriate landowners, who have traditionally gotten their way in fights against utilities in Delaware.
U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman last week named Delaware as part of his proposed eastern National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor. It would run from New York to Virginia, and west to Ohio. A second corridor would run through California, Arizona and Nevada.
Lawmakers debated three bills Wednesday that change Nevada utility regulation, including one to classify power plants that burn tires as renewable energy systems for purposes of meeting state standards for “green” energy production.
The other bills heard by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee state that co-ops, non-profits and renewable energy systems are exempt from the state environmental review laws on utilities.
The co-op and nonprofit measure, SB111, was approved despite opposition from state regulators and the Nevada Conservation League. The environmentalist group also opposed the other two bills, which will come up for committee votes at later hearings.
SB111, sponsored by Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, would exempt non-profits and co-ops that want to build power plants from terms of the state’s Utility Environmental Protection Act, or UEPA.
LAS VEGAS -- Sen. Harry Reid called Wednesday for a 14-year federal energy plan that he said would encourage renewable sources of power and ensure domestic supply.