New legislation to address renewable energy, efficiency

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Several lawmakers are introducing legislation this session that could help Nevada become a clean energy leader.

"If you look back 40, 50 years and look at our gaming industry, Nevada led the industry and we're still the gold standard today," said State Senator Pat Spearman. "We have an opportunity here in Nevada to do the same thing with renewable and clean energy."

She's introducing legislation that will address geothermal feasibility and expansion.

"We have to look at things like geothermal and solar, we should be looking at algae farms, at wind," Spearman said. "There are a umber of things we've not yet looked at that we have here in Nevada."

There's also legislation that would create a community solar program in Nevada.

"There's been a lot of talk about rooftop solar but there's a lot of people that have been left out of that renewable energy market," said Jessica Scott of Vote Solar. "Half a million people in Nevada are renters. Or you might have a home that's shaded or blocked by a building so you can't put solar on the roof. There's something called community solar which opens up access to much more Nevadans and you get that credit from the solar project directly on your energy bill."

Assemblyman William McCurdy II is introducing legislation that would allow more low-income Nevadans access to energy-efficiency programs.

"It would help them with things like bringing their homes up to code in regards to energy efficiency," he said. "This will save consumers money and we'll look to pump that money back into the economy and create jobs in the long run. We're talking about real potential savings; $3.4 billion dollars over a ten-year period."

He says there's going to be a lot of energy-related conversation this session.

"We have the capacity to be the nation's leader in clean energy and that's what we need to do this session, have a very robust conversation," he said.

Spearman recommends a film produced by the Truman National Security Project called "The Burden."

"Whenever we buy fuel from countries that are geopolitically unstable, when things could change at the drop of a hat, one of the things that happens is we inadvertently give money to the bad guys," Spearman said. "Are we going to ask people in the military to continue to pay the price for fossil fuels with their lives just so we can continue what we've always done? I think the answer comes back a resounding no."