By: Jared Fisher
While encouraging Nevadans to embrace renewable energy has the potential to be a great investment for the environment, what many don’t realize is that it can be a great investment for the economy as well.
As a renewable energy advocate running for governor of Nevada on the Republican ticket, I’ve certainly encountered my fair share of solar skeptics. I maintain, however, that the facts speak for themselves: Solar, wind and geothermal heat energy sources can be an amazing business opportunity. I know because I’ve seen it firsthand.
In 2011, I built a 100-percent solar and wind-powered building for my tour business, Escape Adventures. I designed my business’s headquarters to be powered solely by the 208 solar panels that line the building’s roof as well as a wind turbine that operates outside—one of the only vertical wind turbines in the Las Vegas valley.
Today, my business operates at a 103 percent energy capacity, which means that not only is it able to run entirely off of solar and wind energy, but it’s also able to generate a three percent reserve of excess energy, which I send back to the grid in exchange for credits.
As you can see, renewable energy has saved—and earned—my business money. I believe it can do the same for the state of Nevada as well.
Here are three ways Nevada can profit from renewable energy:
1. Renewable energy will save taxpayers money
Sunlight is free, and we certainly have no shortage of it here in Nevada! By utilizing the free and ample resources we have at our disposal—wind and sunshine, for example—we can generate enough energy to power the entire state without having to pay for energy from out-of-state sources. Currently, Nevada purchases over 70% of its energy from out of state, which is unfortunate when you think about the abundance of energy resources we have outside in our own backyard. Solar power is cheaper than the majority of other types of electricity and Nevada has more federal land than any other state, which means we have the budget and more than enough open space—let’s use this to our advantage!
In addition to reducing the amount of money we pay to power our homes and businesses, tapping into the natural energy resources available locally will empower our state government and make Nevada more independent and self-reliant. This will position us to be a leader in the nation’s effort to free itself from dependence on foreign oil. We can show the rest of the country how it’s done! And we can save money in the process, too.
2. Renewable energy can earn Nevada money
Because Nevada has nearly 300 sunny days per year, earning it the ranking as the third “sunniest state” in the country, Nevada has the potential to not only generate enough energy to power every home, business and public facility in the state, but also enough energy to develop a sizeable reserve of excess energy that we can use as an export. We can sell the extra supply of energy to the states that need it. This would generate additional revenues for the state.
3. Renewable energy will create more jobs and attract top talent
The renewable energy industry in Nevada currently employees over 8,000 workers, but this number would be expected to rise if Nevada were to refocus its commitment to the solar, wind and geothermal industries.
We’ve already seen that happen with the recent passing of Assembly Bill (AB) 405, Nevada’s new net metering law. As a result of the bill, two solar companies, SunRun and Vivint, announced they’d be returning to Nevada, bringing with them hundreds of jobs. Additionally, the solar car company Tesla unveiled plans to expand its operation in Nevada and thus projecting the need for thousands of new workers.
Nationwide, renewable energy jobs are on the rise. In fact, according to the US Department of Labor, the solar energy industry was responsible for creating one out of every 50 jobs in the country last year. Furthermore, “wind turbine technician” is the fastest growing job in the US.
With the demand for more high tech laborers and a need to innovate our grid storage technology, the University of Nevada Reno (UNR) and the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) would need to develop new programs that focus on technology and engineering; like that of MIT. This would work to ensure Nevada retains and attracts the best and brightest of young minds to work in the state’s renewable energy facilities.
It is for these reasons and more that I am making renewable energy one of the key issues on my platform for the 2018 bid for governor of Nevada.
I hope you will join me as we work to make Nevada the “Solar State.”
Read my renewable energy policy to learn more: http://fisherfornevada.com/issues/innovation-energy/
Randazzo, Ryan. (2010, November 23). Study: Arizona should export solar power. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved from: http://archive.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/2010/11/22/20101122biz-solar1123.html
Associated Press. (2004, June 21). Sunshine state isn’t the sunniest. USA Today. Retrieved from: https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/weather/news/2004-06-21-fla-sunshine_x.htm
Frangoul, Anmar. (2017, February 7). Solar was responsible for one in 50 new US jobs last year, says National Solar Jobs Census. CNBC.com. Retrieved from: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/07/solar-was-responsible-for-one-in-50-new-jobs-last-year-says-national-solar-jobs-census.html
Young, Robin. (2017, January 31). Wind Turbine Technician Blows Away Competition As Country’s Fastest-Growing Job. Here and Now on WBUR Boston. NPR. Retrieved from: http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/01/31/wind-turbine-technician
About Fisher for Nevada:
Fisher for Nevada is the official campaign website of Jared Fisher, 2018 candidate for governor of Nevada. Jared Fisher is running on a platform that focuses on the 3 E’s: Energy, Education and Economy. You can read more about his plans and policies on his issues page or by following him on Facebook and Twitter. Got a question or concern? Tweet at him using the hashtag #HealthyNevada.