Washington, D.C.—Nevada Senator Harry Reid and Nevada Congressman Dean Heller today introduced companion bills in the Senate and House of Representatives that would create a new revenue source for Nevada’s county and state governments and diversify local economies by creating new clean energy jobs. Senator Reid also introduced a bill that would ensure expanded development of geothermal energy resources in Nevada and throughout the West.
“These bills encourage renewable energy development, ensure that state and county governments get fair compensation, and make critical investments in our wildlife and other natural resources,” Reid said. “These efforts will move Nevada’s clean energy economy forward and make job-creating renewable energy projects a win-win for our state, counties and wildlife.”
The Clean Energy, Community Investment, and Wildlife Conservation Act establishes a competitive leasing pilot program for solar and wind energy projects that will likely serve as the basis for a national leasing program on federal lands. The bipartisan bill also directs the Secretary of Interior to establish royalties for solar and wind electricity generation on public lands. Counties and states would each receive 25 percent of the revenues collected by the federal government from these clean energy projects. Additionally this bill would set aside a major share of wind and solar revenues for fish and wildlife conservation for providing access to public lands, and for processing renewable energy applications. Reid was joined by Senator Jon Tester of Montana in introducing this bill in the Senate, and Heller introduced it in the House.
“This bill will ensure the legacy of renewable energy development in Nevada and across the west. While we encourage renewable energy development, we are also promoting responsible development, reinvestment in wildlife and habitat, and enhanced recreation opportunities. This measure will create jobs, provide a fair return to our state and counties, and allow Nevada to be at the forefront of renewable energy development,” said Heller.
Senator Reid’s Geothermal Exploration Act is an investment bill that will promote the development of geothermal energy resources in the U.S. by assisting with the high up-front costs of exploration and drilling for geothermal resources. It establishes a fund from which the Secretary of Energy can provide loans to geothermal energy developers for high-risk exploration and drilling. Reid was joined by Senators Tester, Mark Udall (D-CO) and Jeff Merkley, (D-OR) in introducing the Geothermal Exploration Act.