Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2019

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Nevada must play to win in clean energy

More than 100 years ago, Teddy Roosevelt issued this nation a challenge: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat,” he said.

Roosevelt’s belief that hard work was the surest way to achieve greatness is as true today as it was then. And it is especially relevant to Nevada’s clean energy future. Nevadans know that we can accomplish great things by challenging ourselves to take advantage of our vast renewable energy resources. The development of our geothermal, solar, and wind energy resources can broaden our economic future and position the Silver State to become the vibrant core of a Western and national clean energy market.

To help meet that challenge, I have been focused for the better part of a decade on working with all levels of government and the private sector to support the development and deployment of Nevada’s clean energy resources. While progress has not always been easy, because we dared to challenge the energy technologies of the past, we have been making headway toward realizing the clean energy potential of both Nevada and the nation.

That progress is evident in every corner of our state, from Primm to Tonopah and from Ely to Boulder City, where the construction of wind and solar projects are underway, and energy efficiency projects are saving consumers and taxpayer money. Taken together, these projects and others underway will contribute more than $1 billion in financial benefits and more than 2,200 jobs to Nevada.

These successes did not happen overnight and they did not happen by accident. If Nevada is serious about continuing to compete in the growing clean energy sector, then our state must play to win. This starts with having a coherent strategy to attract new industries, to forge regional and national alliances, to create markets for our products and renewable power, and to develop our human resources and capacity for innovation.

The opponents of renewable energy will continue trying to derail Nevada’s and the nation’s efforts to build a cleaner and safer energy future. Therefore, I encourage every Nevadan to visit to examine how a number of important federal and state actions have helped Nevada start to real­ize its clean energy potential. You will also find ideas there on how to make sure that future actions to grow Nevada’s clean energy economy are as effective as possible and promote rapid investment in Nevada.

Despite the improving economy, the recent economic hardships should remind us that we must do more to broaden Nevada’s economy so that we are better positioned to grow and succeed in the coming decades. Nevada’s work to take advantage of its renewable energy resources does not come without risk, but we cannot turn away from clean energy and miss our opportunity to strengthen Nevada’s future with a victory in clean energy.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is the majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

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