RENO, Nev. (News 4) — Nevada lawmakers are going to be hearing from proponents of clean energy technologies.
About 80 energy experts, advocates and other citizens are planning to hold a series of public meetings about key policy recommendations that might be made in the 2017 Legislative Session. Some energy efficiency proposals are promoted as saving Nevadans millions while creating new jobs at the same time.
When you think of new clean energy jobs, you probably think of Tesla. But Tom Polikalas, who is the Nevada representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said you might want to think again.
"The Energy Efficiency Industry represents a huge opportunity for folks who have been in the construction industry," he said. "They already have the skill set."
CLICK HERE for December 2016 report on new energy efficiency jobs. Nevada is on page 88. It says Nevada already has more than 15,000 new energy efficiency jobs.
These would be folks who can install or retrofit energy savings systems ranging from LED lighting systems to even insulation.
Polikalas said, "When a home is going to be upgraded with energy efficient products, that's contractors coming in with a crew of maybe four or five different people. When you multiply that across the thousands of homes in northern Nevada, that need to be upgraded, that represents tremendous job creation."
Poliklas said they're going to recommend Nevada lawmakers make some slight changes to the way the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada determines cost benefits, with a change in the way the Commission evaluates supplying energy to saving energy.
The change would put them on equal footing. He mentioned there could be new rebate programs provided to save consumers money by saving energy.
He said, "That too has a benefit to Nevada's economy because consumers would have more money from energy savings to spend in other places in the economy."
CLICK HERE for more on how Utah has incorporated similar recommendations and rebate programs on energy efficiency.
Recommendations will also be made to help restore Nevada's rooftop solar industry. Kevin McGehee become interested as a citizen in the subject. He attended and advocated for rooftop solar before Nevada's Public Utilities Commission. The solar industry in Nevada saw significant job loss after the PUC made a controversial change in rates for solar customers.
McGehee said, "I believe solar will bring job creation, business development and national security to Nevada."
The two men said citizen involvement in developing policies and advocating to lawmakers is key to making clean technologies a growing sector of Nevada's economy. There will be more meetings and gatherings coming up in January and February.
For more information contact Tom Polikalas with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). For more on SWEEP CLICK HERE.