Library from Nevada
This economy, proponents say, promises to rebuild communities abandoned by bankrupt manufacturers, restore jobs lost by the busted housing market and reinstate America as a global leader. Not so fast. Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says renewable energy has the potential to create "tens of thousands of jobs" in Nevada and more than a million nationwide, little research has been done on actual job creation in such an unchartered area.
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.
Salazar said Interior is setting aside 24 parcels of federal land for a special study of environmental effects. Those areas, a total of 670,000 acres, were chosen based on the routes of transmission lines and early indications that they are less environmentally sensitive than other areas in the state. Once an area wins preapproval, applications for solar plants could race through the process, officials say.
Duke Energy representative Robert Charlebois began Thursday afternoon's public meeting on the company's plans to build a large wind farm here by trying to make clear to residents that he had learned from earlier rejections. "I remember the first meeting walking out with the unambiguous understanding that our original proposal was completely unacceptable to the town," Charlebois said of a meeting in January on the wind project. "We went back to the drawing board."
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.
On a vacant piece of land near Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, the promise of solar energy has collided into the demands of military training. And a solar project that would have featured a vast field of mirrors, a molten-salt storage facility and a 600-foot "power tower" appears to be heading for defeat.
Col. Howard "Dave" Belote, commander of the 99th Air Base Wing at the Nellis Air Force Training Range, pledged to work together early in the process on projects like renewable energy in an attempt to dispel the military's image as an obstacle. "We're not trying to stop development, but we want to say we're here, we're going to be here for a long time," Belote told Nye County Commissioners Tuesday.
Over the objections of some Wilcox Ranch residents, Washoe County commissioners today approved a resolution to sponsor a regional planning amendment to create a new utility corridor for wind turbines in the mountains of Warm Springs Valley. The 17-mile route would be for a 120-kilovolt line to bring power from up to 70 wind turbines that Nevada Wind wants to put on Virginia Peak to a major power transfer station to the south in Tracy
Concerns over a proposed wind farm near Searchlight dominated a Tuesday town hall meeting hosted by County Commissioner Steve Sisolak in the rural community. ...Duke Energy has proposed erecting large wind turbines on public land surrounding Searchlight and many residents are worried that the wind project will ruin their views of the surrounding hills, damage wildlife and drive away tourists.
Days before the Washoe County Board of Commissioners would have heard an appeal against the Virginia Peak Wind Project, a settlement was reached between the appellant and Nevada Wind, LLC.
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.
The Virginia Peak Wind Project hearing by the Washoe County Board of Commissioners has been delayed at the request of both the appellant and applicant, according to Washoe County senior planner Trevor Lloyd. Lloyd said the hearing has been moved to the April 14 meeting of the Washoe County Commission.
Nevada has handed out tax incentives worth an estimated $45 million to lure solar and geothermal projects to Nevada over the past four years. So far, the state has received in return promises that the projects' developers will create 89 permanent jobs. It's a number so small that some lawmakers are questioning whether taxpayers are getting a good return on their investment in the incentives.
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.
Residents of the desolate Palomino Valley have attended citizen’s advisory board meetings, planning commission meetings and will soon face another round of meetings because of an appeal filed by area resident Dan Herman. Herman said he filed the appeal not in opposition to the Virginia Peak Wind Project as a whole, but in opposition to the project’s two closest turbines to residents’ homes and property. As part of the special-use permit, approved by the Washoe County Planning Commission on Feb. 4, no wind turbines can be installed within one mile of existing homes.
Nevada Wind won a small battle with the Washoe County Planning Commission on Feb. 4 when the panel unanimously voted to approve a special-use permit for the project slated for development in the Palomino Valley, approximately 30 miles north of Sparks. ...Then the project hit a snag Tuesday when nearby landowner Dan Herman filed an appeal. "Well, the only thing I appealed is the one condition that allowed the two windmills on the property at the end of Quaking Aspen that directly affects the surrounding neighbors," Herman said.
Storey County residents told the Bureau of Land Management on Thursday that a proposed windmill project would ruin the tourist-based economy in Virginia City and surrounding areas. Jane Peterson, bureau energy project manager, said in a presentation to the Storey County Planning Commission that public comments collected since November have been split on whether to allow Reno-based Great Basin Wind to build about 70 windmills on BLM land in Storey and Washoe counties.
An appeal against the Virginia Peak Wind Project was filed Tuesday afternoon with Washoe County, meaning one more hurdle for the alternative energy project slated for an area north of Spanish Springs. ...The appeal was filed in the afternoon on Tuesday, Lloyd said, the final day that an appeal would have been accepted. Lloyd would not disclose the name of the person who filed the appeal.
Nevada needs billions of dollars in new transmission lines if it is to capitalize on its renewable energy potential and become a net exporter of clean energy, Gov. Jim Gibbons said in a statement. He and other Western governors have called for changes in tax laws to further stimulate transmission line development.
Storey County could ban a 69-windmill project not only near tourist towns but almost anywhere in the county. The county planning commission looked at the ordinance Thursday night that could affect a windmill project planned for the mountains north of Carson City and west of Virginia City. The draft ordinance bans commercial windmills visible from the 19th century mining towns of Virginia City and Gold Hill.