Nevada Rep Argues About Green Energy Policies

Editor’s Note: EarthTechling is proud to repost this article courtesy of Nevada News Bureau. Author credit goes to Sean Whaley.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said recently that any “green energy” policy that leads to higher electric bills for Nevadans who are looking for work in tough economic times is the wrong energy policy for the state.

“Nobody is anti-green,” he said. “We struggle to compete with the cost of a kilowatt hour when we talk about economic development. And economic development has something to do with jobs.”

Desert Solar Array

image via Shutterstock

If federal money is going to be spent on research and development to make wind, solar and geothermal energy more competitive that’s one issue, Amodei said.

“But if those, when they get done, go to sell into the grid and that increases rates, especially right now when things are they way they are in Nevada, and competition for sustainable living wage jobs is what it is in the Inter-mountain West, I think that’s the wrong energy policy,” he said.

Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District representative made his comments to Sam Shad in an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers television program in response to recent comments from U.S. Sen. Harry Reid saying that NV Energy’s Reid Gardner coal plant in Clark County should be shut down. Reid has also urged NV Energy to support a $5 billion solar project that a Chinese company ENN Mojave Energy, wants to build near Laughlin.

An NV Energy official told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week that the utility has no plans to purchase more renewable energy at this time because it has exceeded the state’s requirement that 15 percent of its portfolio originate from green energy sources.

Amodei also questioned the effectiveness of federal financial support for green energy projects.

“If you go to the Department of Energy and you look in the last few years, they provided $1.5 billion, Sam, $1.5 billion in loan guarantees, to those projects in Nevada,” he said. “And while it’s great news for all the construction folks, I get that, in terms of the long-term jobs, it has created 137 long-term jobs throughout the state. That’s $22 million a job, Sam, in loan guarantees.”

Amodei appeared to get his math wrong, however, with a closer estimate being $11 million a job based on 137 jobs and loan guarantees of $1.5 billion.

The Nevada Policy Research Institute last week released its own analysis of the renewable energy sector in Nevada and found that over $1.3 billion in federal funds funneled into geothermal, solar and wind projects since 2009 has yielded and is projected to yield 288 permanent, full-time jobs, or $4.6 million per job.

Amodei said Gov. Brian Sandoval could create more jobs in Nevada if given a $1.5 billion bank to do so.

Reid was also successful several years ago in getting NV Energy to terminate the construction of a coal-fired plant near Ely in eastern Nevada. NV Energy announced in 2009 it was stopping work on the $5 billion project. Two coal plants had been planned for the area by the utility.

Amodei said the project was able to meet all environmental and air quality requirements.

“These folks have complied with all of the objective regulations and permitting requirements, and you’ve got somebody (Reid) coming in, going, ‘forget about the rules, I’m going to impose my will,’ ” Amodei said.

  • I would be very leary about letting the Chinese built. They want their foot in your door the rest soon to follow. We need to stop selling our land and resources to the Chinese.

  • 11 or 22 million per job? this is the math of idiots on either side. energy is being produced. it has cash value. that’s the point. nobody spent 10 or 20 million to make a job. it’s crazy to think in those terms. all new technology is the most expensive until developement and the market have their effects. a cell phone was 2000.00 in 1984

    • Pete

      Well said. It always amazes me to hear these politicians talk as though it doesn’t matter what is produced from the job. The money invested in these projects is creating some jobs, yes, but it’s also giving us virtually marginally free energy over the next 20 to 30 years. That has huge value that enhances productivity — the ultimate long-term job creator.

  • Joan

    I knew when I read that he said it would raise electric rates that he was another Repug–an especially uneducated, ignorant one!
    Joan

  • Harry Dier

    Solar energy costs are now rising thanks to the new tariff. Any new solar project in the state will double (a guess – don’t hold me to my math Joan).

    • Pete

      Harry — Last I saw* on solar price response to the duties was that they were not stopping the price slide. But that was more than a month ago. You have more recent data?
      Pete

      *http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/18/us-solar-tariffs-idUSBRE86H1I320120718