Nancy E. Brune, Truman National Security Project Fellow, was featured in the Reno Gazette-Journal applauding Nevada Governor Sandoval’s leadership on clean energy and addressing the need to continue said progress.
Last month, Governor Brian Sandoval delivered his final state of the state address in which he focused on the great economic and clean energy progress Nevada has made during his time.
Nevada, said Sandoval, has successfully added $6.5 billion worth of renewable energy projects that have created 4,500 new jobs. Sandoval also highlighted the news that Tesla has committed to an expansion of its initial investment in the state by ordering the parts for the company’s next car to be built at its Gigafactory. This expansion is projected to bring in more than $350 million in investment and add 550 new skilled jobs. Advancing the clean energy economy has contributed to the decline in Nevada’s unemployment rate to 5.1 percent, down from 14.0 percent in 2010. Nevada now leads the nation in job growth. Sandoval’s announcement of a new forum, the Committee on Energy Choice, is further evidence that Nevada’s evolving energy future is a priority.
These clean energy commitments are great strides forward for the Silver State. In 2013, Nevada passed a bill that moved the state’s energy dependence away from coal-fired power plants.
In the years following, Sandoval has taken strong action to combat the effects of climate change and build a new economy around renewable energy. In 2014, Sandoval met with California Governor Jerry Brown and congressional leaders to sign a pact to protect Lake Tahoe from the effects of climate change, drought, and catastrophic wildfires. In 2016, Sandoval issued an executive order to reconvene the New Energy Industry Task Force, which examined clean energy technologies, the aging energy grid, and rooftop solar and net metering.
This laser focused attention on policies that address climate change impacts are needed now more than ever. Last month, scientists confirmed 2016 as the third straight year that the Earth beat its own record high temperature. Meanwhile, the National Intelligence Council released its report, Global Trends, which describes the need for clean energy as a matter of national security. Some of the main threats include: infrastructure failures (e.g., blackouts), disease outbreaks, escalating tensions over food and water scarcity, and mass migration. At its core, climate change is a threat multiplier, meaning that it can exacerbate already devastating situations, like drought, into an overwhelming challenge that strains limited resources. This reality threatens our nation’s national security, as the U.S. is frequently drawn into global efforts to respond to such crises.
Sandoval has demonstrated repeatedly at home and, in collaboration with governors in the West, that climate change — and sound policies that address the impacts of climate change — is a nonpartisan issue. Nevada’s economic growth underscores the fact that the renewable energy economy is a good business proposition. Despite the uncertainty of the national landscape, states – as “laboratories of democracy” – are well positioned to continue leading the way in promoting policies that expand the clean energy economy.
Nancy E. Brune formerly worked at Sandia National Laboratories as a senior policy analyst examining issues of energy security and climate security and is a Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project. She lives in Las Vegas. Views expressed are her own.
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