As most successful investors know, a balanced portfolio provides the greatest opportunity for long-term gain. By investing in diverse areas, one is protected from the unexpected – a sector bust, a natural disaster or a financial scandal.
The same approach is needed when considering our rapidly growing energy demands. To put all of our resources into just one source – be it natural gas, coal, geothermal, wind or solar energy – would be irresponsible.
Nevada is already leading the way in developing renewable energy, but geothermal, solar and wind energy hold much more exciting potential for our state. The Ely Energy Center in White Pine County will play an important role in advancing Nevada’s renewable energy resources.
The Ely Energy Center offers a solution for Nevada to diversify and stabilize our energy sources. By connecting Northern Nevada with Southern Nevada, it allows for the continued development of renewable energy, but this alone cannot meet our needs. It will also provide a reliable energy source using clean-coal technologies to balance our portfolio and help keep costs down for ratepayers.
Coal is abundant, inexpensive and available domestically. New technologies to make clean coal possible are on the horizon and will be employed at the Ely Energy Center. These advancements in carbon-capture technologies are essential to our future because, when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining, we still need a reliable energy source not imported from Saudi Arabia.
Simply put, without the Ely Energy Center and its transmission line that will carry solar, geothermal and wind power throughout the state, there will be no meaningful development of alternative energy in Nevada. It will be economically and logistically impossible. Seniors on a fixed income and low-income residents would bear the brunt.
As Congress continues to drag its feet, our nation faces a related challenge. Key tax incentives that encourage the development of renewable energy are set to expire. As a result, much development toward alternative energy sources will slow or even stop.
Some tremendous projects have already come online across Nevada – solar in the south and geothermal in the north. In order to meet the rapidly growing energy needs of this country, we must plan for our future and develop the resources that are available domestically. It must be done by using all of the resources at our disposal, including solar, geothermal, wind and coal. We have a duty as stewards of our environment, and we must be responsible and realistic about meeting our energy needs. Future generations depend on it.