Senate Majority Leader Promotes Renewable Energy

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, February 20, 2008 (ENS) – The federal government should set aside large tracts of federal land that are environmentally appropriate for renewable energy production, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada told a renewable energy conference here Tuesday.

“Every time our country has faced a daunting challenge, we have risen to the occasion. That’s who we are. That’s what we do best,” said Reid. “And that’s what we must do today: return to the endless well of American ingenuity – and turn to the endless sources of renewable energy all around us – to set a new course that will keep us safe, create good jobs, and protect our planet for generations yet to come.”

Reid said power companies should make renewable energy available to consumers and give them the option to power their homes from those sources at a fair and reasonable cost.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid (Photo
courtesy Library of

Consumers also should have the ability to reduce their power bills by generating renewable power at home or at their business, said Reid. Consumers should also have the option to have a net meter installed at a fair and reasonable cost so they can get credit from their electricity provider for home generation.

The utiltities should build a smart power grid that can charge electric automobiles and store electricity to reduce our reliance on oil, including oil from unstable regions of the world, he said.

And finally, Reid says the state government should provide strong incentives to utility companies to encourage them to invest first in energy efficiency and renewables in Nevada.

“When God created the first man,” Reid quoted from a Hebrew text, “he took him around to all the trees in the Garden of Eden and said to him: ‘See my handiwork, how beautiful and choice. … Be careful not to ruin and destroy my world, for if you do … there is no one to repair it after you.”

“In these past 1,500 years, God must truly be troubled at the man-made damage to his handiwork – especially the last oil-driven century,” Reid said.

“The effects of human activity on earth are easy to see,” he said. “Pollution is filth in our water. Pollution is filth in our air. Pollution is filth in our soil. Wildfires, dangerous weather patterns, and drought.”

“Last week, we learned that Lake Mead – the water source for 22 million of us – may disappear in 13 years, “said Reid, who hails from the arid Nevada town of Searchlight. “Our way of life and our very existence is threatened.”

Reid said America can implement a clean energy revolution using wind, solar and geothermal power that grows the economy, protects the planet and strengthens national security.

He urged Congress to pass a national Renewable Electricity Standard, a minimum requirement of renewable fuels as a percentage of all energy consumption.

And he urged Nevadans to reject coal-fired power plants. “On top of the high price of coal power, studies show that there are hidden costs of $30 per megawatt hour or more – like respiratory illness, radiation, and hazardous waste,” said Reid.

On the other hand, Reid cited a University of Nevada-Las Vegas study found that solar, wind, geothermal and biomass projects would create more than $20 billion in business for Nevada over the next 25 years.

“Each new megawatt of geothermal power creates up to 10 new jobs. Each new megawatt of solar-thermal and wind power create at least six new jobs,” he said.

Reid said, “If just half of Nevada’s potential clean energy resources were developed, 22,000 new jobs in the next decade would be created.”

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