In early September, at the Mandalay Bay, I co-hosted the seventh annual National Clean Energy Summit. This event brings together leaders from the private sector, academia, and government to discuss clean energy innovation and investment in Nevada. This year's keynote speaker was someone with a long history of building clean energy partnerships: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
At the first National Clean Energy Summit in 2008, President Bill Clinton challenged Nevada to become the first "self-sufficient clean energy state in the nation." Remarkable progress has been made in Nevada since then. Our successes did not happen by chance; they are the result of hard work and collaboration between businesses, stakeholders and policymakers. That is why the theme of this year's Summit, "Partnership and Progress," could not have been more fitting.
I have never believed that government involvement is the end goal, but it must be a catalyst for growth. Governments should be partners in advancing energy infrastructure. Investments in our renewable energy infrastructure have been good for Nevada's economy and environment. Since the first Clean Energy Summit, Nevada has invested six billion dollars in its clean energy industry, creating good jobs and reducing our reliance on old and dirty technologies.
Nevadans can see the benefits of these investments in and near their communities. Driving across Nevada, you will find multiple large-scale solar projects under construction that will generate more than 800 megawatts of electricity. From Las Vegas to Searchlight, you will see four million solar panels installed, covering more than four miles. Let's not forget about the One Nevada transmission line, which was made possible by the Recovery Act, better known as the stimulus.
Nevada has responded to President Clinton's challenge and we are proving that it is achievable. At this year's summit, I renewed this clean energy challenge for Nevada. We should build our clean renewable energy generation until we have at least enough capacity to cover 100 percent of Nevada's electric load. Progress has been made in Nevada, but the best is yet to come.
Contact Harry Reid at http://reid.senate.gov/