CEP in the Las Vegas Sun: Candidates need to know about Nevada’s energy issues2012-02-06 07:38:00
by Rocky Fernandez, CEP Communications Director
This past weekend, the Las Vegas Sun ran our Op-Ed encouraging candidates to know, understand, and address Nevada's energy issues and jobs potential. From the Sun:
In the coming days and months, many candidates for the 2012 elections will visit Nevada to speak out on issues affecting our state. If you are one of those candidates, this letter is for you. For a state struggling with high unemployment, it’s important for our future leaders to know key facts about the Silver State’s energy resources and jobs potential.
First and foremost: Nevada has none of the fossil fuel resources that other states have to put people back to work. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Nevada ranks 47th among the states in total energy production. The state has no coal or natural gas to speak of and extracts a minute amount of oil each year, representing a microscopic percentage of U.S. production.
Let me be clear: It’s not bureaucracy holding back job creation in the fossil fuel industry in Nevada. Oil, coal, and natural gas reserves simply don’t exist in Nevada. We buy our fuel for electricity generation and transportation from out of state, sending an average of $1 billion per year out to their economies. This creates jobs for those states, but not for ours.
Nuclear energy generation isn’t a viable option, either. There simply isn’t enough water here to meet the needs of a modern nuclear plant.
Nevadans support a clean energy economy. We know we have significant renewable resources to tap, including energy efficiency. A lot of the buildings erected in the past two decades could be upgraded to become less wasteful of energy and more comfortable to live in, while putting construction workers back on the job.
These approaches are the real job-creators for unemployed Nevadans. Thanks to good public policy decisions and key incentives, Nevada already leads the nation in per-capita solar and geothermal generation, as well as in energy-efficient LEED-certified building space. But for a state that still imports most of its energy, it’s simply not enough. Key federal incentives need to be extended for renewable energy similar to the way we’ve made government assistance to out-of-state fossil fuel industries near-permanent in our tax code. The expiration of those incentives places Nevada’s energy sources at a competitive disadvantage on the national energy playing field and stifles our recovery.
Controversial oil pipeline proposals will do nothing for Nevada’s economy or job market. We need to hear from candidates that they understand these facts about our state, leave the drilling proposals back east, and propose ideas and strategies for helping the state produce home-grown solar, geothermal, efficiency, wind, and transmission that are the only sources for energy jobs in Nevada.
Rocky Fernandez is communications director of the Clean Energy Project, which is based in Las Vegas.
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