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September 18, 2014

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Report: Going green could reap 15,000 new jobs for Nevada

A new report from the Center for American Progress says $100 billion in green investment could create 2 million jobs in the U.S., including 15,000 in Nevada.

"In a time when people are hurting, 15,000 jobs seems like a good idea," said Scot Rutledge of the Nevada Conservation League.

The $100 billion "green economic recovery program" - about the size of the recent federal stimulus package - could be paid for by auctioning the right to emit the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, according to the center.

The report says $865 million of that $100 billion would be invested in Nevada. That figure is based on contribution to gross domestic product and population. When natural renewable energy resources and existing favorable state policy toward renewables are factored in, environmentalist said, the investment here is likely to be much higher.

Union leaders, environmentalists and business representatives touted the plan under the shade of solar panels at the Springs Preserve on Tuesday.

Lydia Ball, a regional representative of the Sierra Club, said she's often asked whether the economy or the environment takes precedence.

"It's both," she said. "We need to put Americans back to work and we need to address climate change, and we can do both."

Robert Buntjer, assistant director of an apprenticeship program for electrical workers unions in Las Vegas, called the predicted $865 million in investment in all things green in Nevada the "huge shot in the arm we need... for the Nevada construction economy."

The unions have had a training program for solar photo voltaic installers in Las Vegas since 2003. Their training facility already has solar panels installed for trainees to practice on, and will soon have a wind turbine thanks to a variance from the city, Buntjer said.

Les Lazareck, owners of Home Energy Connections, said the largest part of the $865 million investment in Nevada would go to conservation efforts.

Lazareck said improving insulation in homes could reduce the energy use by Nevada's 700,000 homes by 30 percent.

The report calls for $346 million to be invested in energy efficiency in Nevada. Another $173 million would go to mass transit and freight rail improvements, $87 million to electrical grid improvements and $260 million to advancement of wind, solar and advanced biofuels technology.

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