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Reid rallying cry for Nevada RPS

Senate majority leader wants tougher clean energy mandate

Reid rallying cry for Nevada RPS image

Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid (pictured) called on lawmakers to support the renewable energy industry in a wide-ranging speech to a joint session of the Nevada State Legislature yesterday.

The sector "has been a bright spot during dark economic times, helping our state attract new businesses and create thousands of jobs that can never be outsourced", he said.

"For instance, construction continues outside Tonopah on the largest solar power tower project in the world. Rising more than 500 feet in the desert, this is a historic investment in technology that will capture the power of Nevada's sunshine, store it in molten salt and use its heat to generate clean electricity for 75,000 homes.

"In Spring Valley near Ely, a successful wind developer has erected enough turbines to power 45,000 homes. Nearby, construction continues on a transmission line that will connect the northern and southern Nevada electrical grids for the first time, making it possible to transfer power from where the wind blows hardest and the sun shines brightest to where demand for electricity is highest.

"These successes didn't happen by accident. They are the result of more than a decade of coordination between businesses, utilities and all levels of government. The linchpin for this progress is a state law that guarantees a market for Nevada's clean, renewable energy resources... the renewable portfolio standard.

"We must prove Nevada is serious about creating a vital Western clean energy grid by developing our state's own market for renewable energy. Strengthening our renewable portfolio standard would be a good start."

The mandate currently calls on utilities to source 18% of their power from renewable sources by 2013. The senator took aim at the companies in his home state, arguing lawmakers should close loopholes that allow them to evade the spirit of the RPS law.

(Senator's office)

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