Thursday, February 21, 2013

Harry Reid's Mean, Green Ultimatum

As of late, we've seen more and more signs of its arrival. It's happening, and we can't ignore it any more. Climate change is here, and we must do something about it.

Harry Reid has talked about this before. But last night, the US Senate Majority Leader asked something of the Nevada Legislature.

[Reid] said [NV Energy] should not get credit for buying hydro-electric power from Utah or “allow them to meet the portfolio standard by handing out energy-efficient light bulbs at Home Depot.”

“Closing these loopholes will strengthen the law and send a powerful signal that Nevada remains committed to kicking our dependence on out-of-state, fossil fuels,” he said.

Environmentalists and renewable energy developers have blamed NV Energy, in part, for a stalled renewable energy market in Nevada.

State Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, and Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, avoided mentioning loopholes or NV Energy in statements released after Reid’s speech but applauded his proposal to strengthen the state’s renewable energy standard.

Reid certainly caused a stir in Carson City last night, but he wasn't wrong on the facts. In September, The Sun uncovered NV Energy's scheme of "filling the renewable energy portfolio" by purchasing electricity from out of state and purchasing so much that it has "credits" to offset its dirty power plants in-state. Not only has NV Energy exploited loopholes in state law, but it's also been undermining the very purpose of the renewable energy standard.

Nevada has already begun feeling the effects of climate change. Communities are already being hurt, especially in rural areas that have depended on agriculture. And communities all feel even more pain if we fail to act.

Hopefully, legislators were taking heed to Senator Reid. This is serious. Nevada shouldn't be losing out on both green job creation and an opportunity to really make a dent on carbon emissions. And we shouldn't lose out just because the local electric monopoly is too greedy to do the right thing.

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