Recovery Act funding will help create hundreds of jobs
January 11, 2010
Las Vegas, NV - Nevada Senator Harry Reid today made the following remarks at an event announcing a financing agreement to construct a transmission line between White Pine County and Clark County. The remarks below are as prepared for delivery.
"As you know, I believe making Nevada and the nation energy independent is among the most urgent things we can do at this moment in history. It is one of the best ways to get our economy back on track and get Nevadans back to work.
"The good news is that we already have the tools at our fingertips to do just that. Our state is blessed with bountiful renewable resources. We already have the cutting-edge technology, the ingenuity and the innovation we need to tap the enormous potential right in our own backyard.
"And that means we have everything we need to create new jobs - good-paying jobs, jobs that can never be outsourced, and jobs that will help our economy bloom once again.
"This transmission line will plant vital seeds of that growth.
"First, I want to thank Tim Meeks, the Administrator of the Western Area Power Administration, for all he's done to make today possible. In the economic recovery plan we passed last year, we invested $67 billion to develop clean energy, and $500 million more to train a new green-collar workforce - Americans who each day will make our nation more energy efficient and energy independent.
"Tim Meeks and Western are among the many trusted civil servants who must deploy this new funding, and I am confident that he will use it wisely. I know that Tim shares a vision with the President and me that we can double America's renewable electricity production in the next three years or sooner - and maybe double it again three years after that.
"I have to also commend Michael Yackira and Mike Segal - both of whom are fierce competitors and excellent business leaders - for joining forces get this project moving for the benefit of all Nevadans. I know that the economy has thrown them some curveballs, so I am grateful for their perseverance, their commitment and their presence here today.
"They recognize as well as anyone that when Nevada develops clean renewable energy resources that helps move us away from oil, it is a win-win-win: it's good for our national security, it's good for our environment, and it's good for our economy.
"We're already seeing the economic benefits. Today's unique agreement will directly create about 400 construction jobs, and hundreds of Nevadans will soon set out to build a transmission line that will finally connect the northern and southern ends of our state.
"That success will only continue. As those renewable power projects get underway once new transmission is completed, they will in turn create thousands of even more new jobs.
"It will also create millions of dollars of much-needed tax revenue to fund critical public services. The State will see about $15 million in sales tax on material and equipment, while Clark, Lincoln, Nye and White Pine counties together stand to take in about $6 million. But those counties will also see many millions more in property taxes over the life of these facilities.
"And this line is an also important step toward a national smart grid. It represents new hope for the rapid development of renewable resources in rural areas all across Nevada. That's good for our future in more ways than one.
"This project represents also major progress toward Nevada's energy independence. That is really important because today we depend on far more fossil fuel resources than we have at home.
"With this connection, hundreds of megawatts geothermal and wind power that is generated in the north will be able to move down south. At the same time, solar and wind power created around where we are today will be able to move up north. We'll connect our renewable resources will every part of our state - but importantly, those resources will stay within the state.
"That will help keep Nevada's energy assets here until we're ready to become a net exporter of our clean power resources.
"The connection between north and south will also help improve reliability and reduce costs. For instance, peak demand in Las Vegas occurs at a different time of day than it does in Reno. So intermittent power generated in vast wind farms can be used more efficiently and made more valuable.
"Because of the very low-cost financing provided by Western through the Recovery Act, Nevada ratepayers will reap a solid return on this new investment in the form of jobs, economic development, increased reliability and ultimately lower rates.
"This public-private partnership shows what is possible when business and government come together for the common good of our state.
"And as this transmission project begins to unlock Nevada's abundant renewable resources, it will unleash the economic growth we need and have been waiting for. Years from now, when Nevada is truly the leader in tomorrow's clean energy economy, we will be able to point to the progress being made behind me and say this is where it all began.
"We're not there yet, but we're well on our way. So many people and organizations focused on a common goal are working together to lay a solid foundation, one upon which we can begin the process of moving Nevada forward, putting people back to work and strengthening our state's economy."