Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who was appointed to replace John Ensign, narrowly defeated Democrat Shelley Berkley even as President Obama defeated Mitt Romney. Energy lobbyists say it was Heller’s support for clean energy that helped him buck the GOP Senate trend.
Nevada sees great potential for solar and geothermal development and people in both parties there support it strongly.
“Renewable-energy development could lead to thousands of new jobs in Nevada at a time when the state leads the nation in unemployment,” Chandler Smith, a Heller campaign spokeswoman told Politico.
It reminds me of how Gov. Butch Otter made solar development a part of his last campaign.
At the height of the recession the Idaho Legislature allowed a six percent sales tax rebate for renewable energy projects to sunset, which prompted at least one major developer to pull up stakes. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission action dramatically limiting contracts under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act also has halted new projects.
Even with federal tax credits and subsidies now slated to end this year experts don’t expect new projects in the state until new transmission lines are built and natural gas prices rise.
But Nevada could become a major center of renewable energy, a point Heller and previously Otter, got.