Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) introduced legislation to support Nevada’s clean-energy economy and the good-paying jobs it creates by funding regional research partnerships to develop and deploy new clean-energy technologies. The Regional Clean Energy Innovation Act would authorize a Regional Clean Energy Innovation Program at the Department of Energy (DOE) to award grants to public-private partnerships working on cutting-edge solutions that enhance U.S. energy security and improve our national competitiveness.
Nevada’s institutes of higher education, including the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Desert Research Institute, have endorsed this act and currently support a number of public-private partnerships to spur cutting-edge clean-energy technology. This legislation would help fund and grow these programs and ensure that new research is targeted towards Nevada’s needs.
“Nevada is already a national leader in clean energy, but we can do more,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “To foster the research and development that will create 21st-century solutions to our energy needs, I’m introducing this bill to invest in regional public-private partnerships and create good-paying jobs in local economies across the country.”
“I am proud to co-lead the Regional Clean Energy Innovation Act, which will uplift local economies and drive the clean energy transition,” said Senator Luján. “New Mexico has always been a hub of innovation, and the public-private partnerships established by this legislation will bring together our National Labs, universities, nonprofits, unions, local governments, and businesses to spur the creation of good-paying jobs in clean energy for New Mexicans and all Americans.”
“This proposed legislation will provide additional research and professional opportunity for University of Nevada, Reno students and graduates in a sector that is critical to our state’s sustainability and future,” University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval said. “There continues to be a national focus and emphasis being put on clean-energy technologies. Nevada has an opportunity to lead in this area with the research and development of these innovative solutions while promoting economic growth in our state.”
“Creating a regional clean energy program is an urgent need considering the mounting global climate crisis, which we can see and feel on a daily basis in Southern Nevada,” said University of Nevada, Las Vegas President Keith E. Whitfield. “This funding will spur research focused on creating and advancing innovation in clean energy that’s necessary to combat the climate crisis head on.”
“Clean energy holds great promise for helping to reduce our environmental impact and combat the climate crisis,” said Kumud Acharya, Ph.D., President of the Desert Research Institute. “DRI supports the Regional Clean Energy Innovation Act, which will foster the development of regionally specific and national clean energy solutions to the country’s energy challenges.”
The Regional Clean Energy Innovation Act would build on a recommendation from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to bolster programs that promote the economic development of diverse geographic areas of the United States by supporting clean-energy innovation. Two pieces of companion legislation have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.-01) and Representative Susan Wild (D-Penn.-07). This legislation is also endorsed by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Through her Innovation State economic agenda, Senator Cortez Masto has been a longtime proponent of renewable and sustainable energy. She recently introduced legislation to expand the solar manufacturing supply chain in the U.S. She secured an extension of the Investment Tax Credit and the residential renewable energy tax credit for solar in the 2020 government funding bill. Senator Cortez Masto was able to successfully advocate for two additional years of renewable energy tax credits for the solar industry and its workers.