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Renewable Energy Jobs - Green Jobs for Nevada's Future

Green Jobs for Nevada’s FutureSteven Horsford, Nevada Senate Majority Leader via NewsReview.comWhat we

all know is that these are unbelievably difficult times. Nevada faces an

enormous budget shortfall, now in the billions, and it will take the will

of elected leaders, along with the people of Nevada, to solve it. Everyone,

and we do mean everyone, is going to have to give something so that we can

begin to move forward. We must find a new path forward. It is going to take

courage to make bold decisions for the future of Nevada’s economy and

communities.We can no longer rely on an economy based largely on tourism and

discretionary spending, depending on good times elsewhere to ensure good

times in Nevada. We need to critically evaluate our revenue structure, and

make the changes necessary to protect Nevada from future economic storms.

We must chart new directions for Nevada—founded in a new economy that is

stable and robust, with good jobs that create new revenue. Our first step

is to invest in bringing green jobsto Nevada.Nevada can take bold action to become a leader of the emerging field of

green jobs. Our state’s climate presents us with both challenges and

opportunities. Las Vegas’s heat challenges us to minimize the costs of

keeping cool, our northern winters challenge us to keep warm, and our

cloudless skies challenge us to use our water sparingly. These challenges

can be met with greater emphasis on efficiency. By weatherizing homes, we

can reduce the energy we use to heat and cool. Already, Las Vegas has

succeeded in reducing the per-capita use of water, so that the even with

out city’s tremendous growth, we reduced our water use by an estimated 15

billion gallons annually between 2002 and 2007.1With Nevada’s sun, wind, and geothermal resources, we have the opportunity

to build a large infrastructure to generate the energy that our state and

its neighbors need. Generating energy from these renewable and bountiful

sources brings multiple benefits. We will reduce emissions of CO2 and other

gases and diminish the need for sources of foreign oil. With its available

resources, Nevada has the potential to become a renewable energy hub for

the entire mountain west, transmitting energy to our neighbors. Renewable

energy generation will diversify our state’s economy, so that we will be

less vulnerable to dramatic shifts in tourist behavior and a handful of

other industries.Perhaps most importantly, we will create new, high-paying jobs that will

stay here in Nevada. Workers who specialize in retrofitting existing

buildings to run more efficiently must live and work here to work on our

buildings, and when the economy recovers, will help build homes with

efficiency measures already in place. Jobs building and maintaining the

solar facilities, windmills, and geothermal stations that will power our

state’s future can never be outsourced to competitors overseas.These jobs provide ready access for citizens to start at the most basic

level and work their way up a career ladder or across branches of an

industry, increasing their skills and salaries across the span of a career.

For example, a young worker today might start as an apprentice electrician

updating wiring in low-income homes and work along the conventional

construction track to eventually become a foreman overseeing the

installation of solar panels on the roof of a mall or government building.

The same worker might decide instead to go back to school to become an

engineer, designing windmills. Or they might decide to start a small

business, teaming up with a former ironworker and a former glazier to

manufacture small solar units for home use.Taking this bold step forward will not be easy—but it must be done. Our

workforce will need to upgrade their skills to maintain state-of-the-art

knowledge of materials and practices, and the management of our electrical

grid will need to adjust to accommodate the new sources of power. We a