Why NV Energy needs to step up its solar-power game
The eighth National Clean Energy Summit recently convened in Las Vegas, and with each passing year, its organizer, Sen. Harry Reid, keeps pouring on more heat for things to get done. This year, President Barack Obama — the first standing president to speak at the event — took the podium to lean in with his own expectations.
In its early years, the gathering at Mandalay Bay was a chance to motivate industry insiders to pursue clean-energy strategies. Soon enough, it began attracting government policymakers and other movers and shakers, and today — with marquee speakers — it is getting national press and the public’s attention. All the while, it has given Reid opportunities to heap scorn upon coal-fired power plants and to plug away for a cleaner, healthier world.
This year’s summit again was at Mandalay Bay, where a rooftop 20-acre solar panel array — the second-largest in the country — is being expanded by eight acres to eventually meet 26 percent of the resort’s power demand. This year’s summit speakers were equally ambitious in their goals for the power industry.
“Clean power from the sun is cheaper than conventional power from the utility,” Obama said. “It is impossible to overstate what this means. For decades, we’ve been told that it’s not possible to switch to renewable energy. Today, that is no longer true.”
Reid recapped the progress made through the years in pursuit of clean energy but bemoaned that “in many respects, we are still stuck in the 19th century.” He noted that power grids — networks of power lines to distribute electricity — were conceived by Thomas Edison in the 1880s. At the time it made sense, but no longer, Reid said.