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ALTERNATIVE POWER: Energy summit will help create jobs

"ALTERNATIVE POWER: Energy summit will help create jobs(By Harry Reid and T. Boone Pickens via ReviewJournal.com)While the Congress is in recess, important work goes on. The National Clean
Energy Summit 2.0, which will be held in Las Vegas on Monday, will build on
the two previous summits which were held in Las Vegas and in Washington,
D.C. This year we will focus on how natural gas, wind, solar and other
renewable sources of energy will positively impact jobs as we begin to
emerge from the worst recession in decades.With Nevada's unemployment rate above 12 percent, the state and the entire
nation will be looking to the senior people at the summit for pointers on
how clean energy can and will create good, new jobs which cannot be moved
offshore.The move to alternative energy sources, by definition, creates economic
diversity. In small towns and cities all across the Great Plains wind farms
are reversing decades of population loss; helping to build schools and
renew downtowns. In Nevada and throughout the desert Southwest, actively
pursuing solar farms will have a similar effect -- and the prospect of
keeping young people from moving away by providing good schools and good
jobs in their home towns is well worth the effort we are putting into
renewable energy sources.According to the Department of Energy, building out the energy potential in
the Wind Corridor of the Great Plains would produce more than 3 million
jobs over the next decade. A similar number would surely result from an
aggressive effort to build out our solar capacity. Secretary of the
Interior Ken Salazar has opened the first renewable energy coordination
office in Nevada, and he has designated almost 700,000 acres in the West
that could produce more than 100,000 megawatts of solar power.For the past few years, we have sought to bring to the public's attention
the astonishing percentage of oil we import each and every month, nearly 70
percent of which is used as gasoline for America's 250 million cars and
light trucks and as diesel for our 6.5 million over-the-road heavy duty
trucks. A recent study by the Gas Progress Committee has estimated we have
some 2,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves in the continental
United States. This gives us a seat at the global energy table and an
opportunity to negotiate the price of oil down. As an energy supply, that
means our natural gas reserves contain more energy than the oil in Saudi
Arabia. In contrast, the United States has only about 3 percent of the
world's proven oil reserves, an amount that may last less than 10 years at
today's production rate, and OPEC will continue to set the world oil price
far into the future.There are bipartisan bills working their way through the House and Senate
that will help us take advantage of these newly available natural gas
reserves to significantly improve our energy and economic security: S.1408,
the NAT GAS Act, is in the Senate and has four other co-sponsors -- two
Democrats and two Republicans; and, the House companion, H.R. 1835, has 77
co-sponsors. These bills will expand and extend tax incentives that will
encourage the manufacturing of natural gas vehicles here in America.Right now, there are 10 million vehicles running on natural gas in the
world but only about 146,000 of them are in the United States. This bill
could provide a jump start for truckers who own and operate 18-wheelers to
replace their vehicles running on imported oil with trucks running on
domestic natural gas, and encourage fleet owners of all types to switch
from oil to a domestic fuel. Natural gas is 50 percent cleaner than diesel
and emerges from the ground at 130 octane, requiring no refining. A cleaner
fleet will also help improve air quality in our ports and other polluted
areas.Congress has already made some progress on a Renewable Electricity Standard
which will provide baselines and benchmarks for utilities to use in
producing clean renewable e"