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October 23, 2014

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Alexandra Berzon

Story Archive

The cost of building a solar powered economy
A lush Nevada valley seems the perfect foundation for green industry, but obstacles — such as available water— stand in the way
Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009
Solar developers looking to build here and across Southern Nevada have run into logistical problems, including a lack of suitable transmission lines, and opposition from local conservationists who don’t want to see the desert torn up for solar plants — not to mention a credit market that still has not shaken loose. Plus, there’s the issue of water.
Democrats: Green U.S. at grass roots
In high-profile conference organized by Reid, heavy hitters issue call to arms, saying public support is key to advancing energy agenda
Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009
At the National Clean Energy Summit on Monday afternoon, former Vice President Al Gore made a promise to the people of Las Vegas.
If the Senate passes an energy bill to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, Gore will return less than two weeks later to train a group of people in how to conduct his famously wonky but demonstrably effective slide show presentations that vividly depict the perils of global warming.
Clinton: Efficiency efforts would bring jobs boost
Energy summit begins amid protests from activists outside
Monday, Aug. 10, 2009
Former President Bill Clinton today urged America to take control of its energy future. In a nearly hour-long speech at the National Clean Energy Summit at UNLV, Clinton urged Americans to support energy efficiency measures, including green building practices and weatherization retrofits on all buildings.
Natural gas gets attention where renewables ruled
On eve of clean energy summit, Reid voices support for fuel some see as bridge to future
Monday, Aug. 10, 2009
In remarks to media setting the stage for today’s National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Sen. Harry Reid spent a good deal of time voicing support for tax incentives to convert natural gas to fuel.
Rare study by feds may prompt OSHA changes
Friday, July 31, 2009
The U.S. Labor Department has formed a task force to look into problems at Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The task force will issue a report detailing any problems it discovers and recommending policy changes.
Professor nominated to position overseeing FedOSHA
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
George Washington University professor David Michaels will be nominated as the assistant secretary of labor to run the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the White House said Tuesday.
Scott Nowicki, who bikes from Boulder City to UNLV
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
For three hours a day, four days a week, Scott Nowicki gets a view of Las Vegas few ever see: from a bicycle. That’s his method of commuting from his home in Boulder City to his classroom at the Department of Geosciences at UNLV, where he teaches geographic mapping and modeling and studies transportation systems.
Why your electric bill, all of a sudden, went up by $10.25
NV Energy raises rates as it shifts its focus from buying much of power it sells to making more of its own
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Planning for future energy needs has sparked a battle between NV Energy and the state’s consumer protectors, who contend the utility has inflated growth numbers to make a case for building and buying unneeded power plants that ratepayers will pay for.
Official: Inspection reports falsified
Harmon Hotel inspectors’ employer may be suspended
Saturday, July 25, 2009
This week, an administrative hearing officer said the county-approved private inspectors hired by MGM Mirage to inspect the Harmon didn’t simply err accidentally, but rather must not have been conducting thorough inspections despite signing documents saying they were.
Company that missed CityCenter flaws might face suspension
Friday, July 24, 2009
The discovery of 15 floors of major construction flaws at CityCenter’s Harmon Hotel last year shut down the project for a time, forced MGM Mirage to redesign the building and left numerous questions in its wake. Among them: Why had the county-approved private inspectors hired by MGM Mirage to inspect the Harmon issued numerous false reports stating that the reinforcing steel was according to plans? Were they knowingly not doing their jobs, or merely incompetent? Responding to a county request for judgment, an administrative hearing officer this week became the first to officially weigh in on that subject. He said the inspectors hired by Converse Consultants didn’t simply err accidentally, but rather must not have been conducting thorough inspections even though signing documents saying they were. Converse Consultants could be punished with a suspension of up to six months from taking on new projects in Clark County, according to the county building department’s interpretation of the hearing officer’s order, released Friday afternoon.


Eastern Nevada transmission line project gets boost
Thursday, July 16, 2009
A plan to build a major transmission line from southern Idaho through eastern Nevada to Las Vegas appeared to gain some momentum Thursday.
Next to gaming board, other enforcers look like pushovers
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The recent fine levied against Planet Hollywood for nightclub violations was eye-popping — especially when compared with fines from other state regulatory agencies.
Cloud hangs over bright idea
Nellis commander concerned about interference with mission
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Framed by his cowboy hat under a canopy of solar panels at UNLV last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar declared the era of solar power in the West upon us.
“I would hope that when people look back in the year 2020 at this announcement here in 2009, they will see this as a true milestone moving us forward to the renewable energy future, to energy independence, environmental security and jobs, jobs, jobs,” Salazar said. Toward that end, he announced new Interior Department plans to speed the process of granting permits to build solar projects on federal land.
Harmon inspector lacked experience
At hearing, he said he read building plans in prior jobs only with help
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
An inspector responsible for monitoring construction at the troubled Harmon hotel in CityCenter last year said he had never read engineering plans without assistance before taking that job, despite earning a civil engineering degree. The revelation by inspector Joseph Glenn Laurente was contained in documents the county released Tuesday after a hearing.
‘Innovative’ move makes NV Energy’s rate hike manageable
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Utility executives and government officials sat calmly Wednesday morning while Nevada Public Utilities Commission members Rebecca Wagner and Sam Thompson said residential electricity rates would rise an average of $10.25 a month under a new order.
Searchlight residents still wary of proposed wind farm
Friday, June 26, 2009
Duke Energy representative Robert Charlebois began Thursday afternoon’s public meeting on the company’s plans to build a large wind farm here by trying to make clear to residents that he had learned from earlier rejections. “I remember the first meeting walking out with the unambiguous understanding that our original proposal was completely unacceptable to the town,” Charlebois said of a meeting in January on the wind project. “We went back to the drawing board.” If Charlebois had hoped to win over residents’ support with a new plan, it didn’t work out that way. In a nearly unanimous chorus, Searchlight residents came out loudly against the latest iteration of a planned wind project near their town at a community meeting held in the town’s community center and museum hall.
NV Energy rate increase gets commission's OK
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Southern Nevadans will see their monthly electricity bills increase an average of $10.29 over the course of a year following an order adopted by the Public Utilities Commission at a meeting Wednesday morning. That's a slight increase from the proposal in a draft order issued last week from one of the commissioners.
Draft plan would hike NV Energy rates
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Under the draft of a plan released Wednesday evening by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, the average family would end up paying an additional $10 a month on electricity bills averaged out over the year.
Many hands draw maps showing renewable lodes
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
On one map they look like bubbles. On another they’re more like hot dogs.

State thinks big on solar power
As competing states dawdle, Nevada adds incentives for construction
Monday, June 15, 2009
Charged with reworking the state’s renewable energy policy, Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick had one major objective as she entered the legislative session: Don’t give away the farm, er, the desert. Kirkpatrick was criticized after the 2007 session for working to give lucrative tax breaks to casino companies in the guise of “green buildings.”
She didn’t want a repeat. The North Las Vegas Democrat was operating in an environment that was at once friendlier and tougher than ever for renewable energy development.
CityCenter inspectors told: Easy on the paper
It’s not a policy change, official says, to first report flaws verbally to contractor
Thursday, June 11, 2009
County officials have instructed building inspectors at CityCenter to be more selective in using paperwork to document potential flaws in the massive MGM Mirage project.
Harmon flaws haven’t brought big fallout
County hearings on inspections delayed
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
It has been almost a year since an engineer discovered that the Harmon Hotel at CityCenter was riddled with construction problems.
Building a green economy
Eclipsed by rival states in attracting renewable energy manufacturers, Nevada hopes new tax abatements will entice the growing industry. But will the state’s plans work?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It rains nearly half of the year in Hillsboro, Ore. So unlike, say, the broiling Nevada desert, that region doesn’t immediately spring to mind during discussions of solar energy. Bills in the Nevada Legislature include incentives for large solar plants and smaller rooftop installations with the assumption that manufacturing facilities will naturally follow those generating facilities.
NV Energy stands to gain from late add in bill
Sunday, May 17, 2009
NV Energy lobbyists inserted into the Senate’s key energy legislation last week a provision that would partially sever the link between energy consumption and the utility’s profits.
Renewable energy bill cruises through committee
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The Nevada Senate’s key energy legislation won unanimous approval Tuesday by the Committee on Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation. The compromise version of Senate Bill 358 is the product of months of negotiations.
With little aid from expected allies, OSHA overhaul died
Sunday, May 3, 2009
The Nevada Legislature’s response to safety problems won’t approach the sweeping transformation seen in other localities following construction deaths and the documentation of weak safety oversight.
Suit in Orleans worker deaths allowed to proceed
Friday, May 1, 2009
A judge Friday issued an order that could allow family members of workers who died two years ago at the Orleans to continue with a lawsuit against the hotel-casino's owner, Boyd Gaming.
Compliance comes first
Labor secretary, lawmakers make it clear that safety does not take a back seat to profit
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration vowed Tuesday to strengthen workplace safety laws and step up their enforcement, moving away from the Bush administration’s belief in voluntary compliance.
A composite bill friendly to solar expected today
Horsford’s plan would sweeten tax breaks, boost rooftop panels
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford is scheduled to unveil legislation that likely will shape the future of state energy policy during a committee hearing this morning.
Families make push for reform personal
They descend on D.C. for hearings, activities on Workers Memorial Day
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Surely someone must have information for family members of workplace accident victims about how investigations into their loved ones’ deaths would progress and how she could become involved, Tammy Miser thought.
Reform deferred
Amended bill aims for step, not leap, in state OSHA oversight
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Not long ago, state Sen. Maggie Carlton, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor, set out to overhaul Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The Democrat said she was concerned that the state’s largest employers and their regulators had grown too cozy.

Solar power supporters split over roof panels
Issue is whether state should do more to boost small solar installations
Monday, April 20, 2009
Rooftops covered in solar panels. Miles of mirrors in the desert. Renewable energy boosters evoke both images while touting the coming green economy. But current market forces appear to favor the latter — large-scale utility plants.
An older type of ‘green’ takes precedence
Some state legislators want price on tax breaks
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Representatives of the nonprofit group Vote Solar were in Carson City last week to sell legislators on the benefits of building solar plants in Nevada, and brandishing a new report.
Agency opposes water recycling at homes
Return less to Lake Mead, it says, and we’ll get less out
Monday, April 13, 2009
In Las Vegas, water used indoors travels a continuous loop. From homes, water flows to a treatment plant, which sends it back to Lake Mead.

Worker safety advocate named to head fed OSHA
Announcement signals stricter enforcement of workplace safety laws
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Jordan Barab, a prominent worker safety advocate and a senior policy adviser overseeing worker safety legislation for the House Education and Labor Committee, will become the acting head of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Commission urged to reject proposed NV Energy rate hike
Increase would send residential utility bills up 16.7 percent
Monday, April 6, 2009
Her four young children seated behind her, Lorinda Johnson pleaded with the Public Utilities Commission Monday afternoon to reject NV Energy's proposed 17 percent rate increase for residential users. The anger ran thick, and Johnson's outrage was echoed many times over.
The power of the desert
Yes, solar electricity generated here could run the country; but no, it was never a formal plan
Sunday, April 5, 2009
A 100-mile-by-100-mile square of solar panels in Nevada — about 11 percent of the state — would be large enough to furnish the entire country with electricity. But it's a metaphor, not a plan.
Energy Department presses for license as if nothing’s changed
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The proceedings for the licensing of Yucca Mountain rolled on as if the administration of President Obama hadn’t all but killed funding for the project, as if Congress and the nuclear industry weren’t hashing out "Plan B," as if the secretary of energy hadn’t said he had no intention of seeing it built.
Delay sought for hearings on pumping water to Las Vegas
Monday, March 30, 2009
The Southern Nevada Water Authority sent a letter Monday afternoon to the State Engineer asking that hearings on the Water Authority's right to pump water from Snake Valley be postponed a year.
CityCenter shutdown would leave few options for many in construction
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The shutdown or delay of the $8.7 billion CityCenter project, once envisioned as a new urban core, could have drastic effects, economists said Friday.
Plan would weigh construction bidders’ safety along with price
Track records of those who do business with county would be reviewed if commissioner has her way
Friday, March 27, 2009
This past summer, when the Clark County Commission voted to grant a $1.2 billion airport construction contract to Perini Building Co., safety issues were hardly raised despite widespread concerns over nine deaths at the CityCenter, Trump and Cosmopolitan projects — all of which Perini ran as general contractor.
If you want our sunshine, you may have to pay extra
Assembly bill would tax renewable energy exported from Nevada
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
On one side, renewable energy companies argue Nevada needs tax incentives to attract the industry to the state. On the other, a group of lawmakers question the long-term benefit of giant solar projects generating energy largely for out-of-state customers. Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, has decided a tax on renewable energy would ensure the state benefits from its abundant sunshine.
OSHA revamp bill targets industry influence
Some doubt removing state agency from business department alone will improve its performance
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
A Nevada lawmaker is proposing legislation to overhaul the structure of the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The bill would place Nevada OSHA under the purview of an existing OSHA review board, a step intended to insulate the agency from strong business influence.
Solar developers shoot to beat buzzer for cash
Sunday, March 22, 2009
In the desert of Amargosa Valley, Rainer Aringhoff hopes to build a $1 billion solar plant filled with mirrors that concentrate heat from the sun to generate energy.
Small-scale solar seeks incentives
Advocates want bigger subsidies, tougher requirements for utilities
Monday, March 16, 2009
When solar lobbyist Rose McKinney-James began pushing solar legislation last decade, she imagined solar panels on household rooftops, parking garages and businesses across Southern Nevada.
Laws she helped get enacted in the past six legislative sessions required that a certain amount of energy in the state come from solar power, and provided cash rebates to encourage rooftop solar installations.

Families emote, labor mobilizes
Lawmakers are urged to strengthen state OSHA after construction deaths
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Union leaders, absent from an earlier hearing, turned out in force Wednesday to urge lawmakers to protect Nevada workers with a combination of safety training and stronger enforcement of safety laws by state regulators.
Without owners at table, unions unwilling to talk
Thursday, March 12, 2009
After meeting Monday to discuss a request that CityCenter and Cosmopolitan workers accept pay cuts and other concessions, building trades union officials were prepared to reject the proposal made by general contractor Perini Building Co.
Coal plant plan: Alone but unfazed
Lincoln County project won’t fall like others, company says
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Sithe Global, the last of three companies to seek to build a new coal plant in Nevada, now has the last coal plant proposal standing in the state — for now.

State faces obstacles to cashing in on the sun
Some see energy exports to California as revenue source for Nevada
Monday, March 9, 2009
Solar advocates call Nevada "a doughnut shop next to a police station." The reference is to neighboring California's voracious appetite for renewable energy and Nevada's prime ability to provide it. In fact, according to the Energy Department, a 100-mile-long stretch of solar panels in the Nevada desert could power the entire country.
Small town making hay
Boulder City luring solar developers with open land, speedy approval process
Sunday, March 8, 2009
If you’re a solar energy company wanting to do business in Boulder City, there’s really only one person you need to see. You’ll find him in the City Hall basement, where he’s been holed up for 32 years.

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