Las Vegas Sun

November 28, 2014

Currently: 49° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Harry Reid, Dean Heller back clean energy legislation

Image

STEVE MARCUS / LAS VEGAS SUN FILE

This solar field is part of the Nevada Solar One 64-megawatt solar thermal power plant in Boulder City’s Eldorado Valley Energy Zone.

Click to enlarge photo

Harry Reid

Click to enlarge photo

Dean Heller

Congressman Dean Heller and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today introduced legislation that would extend royalties and lease income from solar and wind projects to home states and counties.

The Clean Energy, Community Investment, and Wildlife Conservation Act would change the system for acquiring Bureau of Land Management land for solar and wind developments from a “right of way” process originally intended for multiple use applications like grazing, off-road racing and transmission corridors, to a competitive lease auction.

Such a system has already been in use in the geothermal industry since 2007. Under the Reid-Heller plan, solar and wind developers would have to bid for leases on parcels made available from the BLM at an annual auction. The home state and county would each get 25 percent of the lease and royalty income over the life of the project. Another undisclosed amount would go toward funding the BLM’s renewable energy offices, which process applications for new developments and to a fund to aid wildlife and recreational uses of nearby land.

"This bill will ensure the legacy of renewable energy development in Nevada and across the west," Heller said. "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."

In other renewable energy news today, Reid introduced legislation that would provide loans for high-risk geothermal energy exploration.

The Geothermal Exploration Act is intended to help developers overcome the high up-front costs of geothermal exploratory drilling. This is the most expensive phase of geothermal energy development and can take several years.

The bill would establish a fund from which the secretary of energy could provide loans to geothermal energy developers for the exploration.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

No trusted comments have been posted.