Legislature looks at job creation through advanced energy technologies

Published: Mar. 31, 2017 at 3:30 PM PDT
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State legislators are looking at several bills that would expand Nevada's renewable energy output. A study by the American Jobs Project, a nonprofit focused on creating jobs in clean energy sectors, identified solar and battery technology as the state's most promising fields.

"Nevada is incredibly well positioned and could become a world leader in not just solar installations but solar manufacturing as well," said Jackie Kimble of the American Jobs Project. "We really wanted to bring the message to legislators to please consider the larger picture because this opportunity isn't going to be here forever, so now is the time to act."

The nonprofit is encouraging lawmakers to take a holistic approach when it comes to new energy legislation.

"We want policymakers to think about not just clean energy policies directly but the entire picture - workforce development, innovation, ecosystem, access to capital," Kimble said. "By building a strong foundation for businesses, Nevada can attract world-class companies from around the world and really be a global leader in green energy."

The Senate subcommittee on energy is looking at a bill that would create a green bank program to help with access to capital for green technology.

"This is a bank that focuses on helping citizens to participate in renewable and clean energy projects with low-interest and sometimes no-interest loans," Senator Pat Spearman (D-Las Vegas) says. "This is the missing piece because many of the traditional banks are not offering this to consumers. Anything pertaining to renewable energy is available as a possible loan through a green bank where that might not be an option with a traditional bank."

She said legislation aimed at expanding Nevada's renewable energy sector will help the state become a global leader in renewable technology.

"Based on the legislature we've already had and that we're going to pass, Nevada is positioning itself to be the world leader; I know we can be," Spearman said.