Nevada is moving into a leadership position in both solar and in geothermal energy in both cases it is forging ahead and building a renewable energy base for its economy to grow on. The state is also making aggressive moves to ramp up its energy efficiency both in the residential and in its commercial sectors and it has achieved a top 2010 USGBC national ranking in terms of its per capita green building capacity.
The Pew Charitable Trusts “Clean Energy Economy Report“ found that in 2007 Nevada reported 511 cleantech businesses that provided a total of 3,641 green jobs. Over the decade 1998-2007 employment in the Nevada cleantech sector grew by 28.8% compared with a 26.5% growth in overall employment for the state over the same period. Over the two year period (2006-2008) Nevada saw around $20 million of venture capital invested in its cleantech sector.
Renewable Energy Job in Nevada
The US solar power market grew a record 67% last year, making it the fastest-growing energy sector, the industry reports .Its market share jumped from $3.6 billion in 2009 to $6 billion in 2010, according to a report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research. The report also ranked the top states for PV installations in the US and Nevada was in third place behind California and New Jersey.
Nevada also ranks second in the nation in installed solar capacity, and first in per capita solar energy production. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, it is the fifth largest solar state for cumulative installed solar capacity in the United States as of 2010.
Nevada is home to one of the largest CSP plants in the world: the 64 MW Nevada Solar One project near Boulder City. It is also home to the largest operating PV plant in the country: the 48 MW Sempra Cooper Mountain project, also near Boulder City. In 2008, Ausra built its first US manufacturing plant for solar thermal power systems in Las Vegas.
Nevada ranks second in the nation in installed geothermal capacity, with over 20 operating geothermal power plants ranging from 1 MW to 67 MW. It is poised to become the leader, with more projects in the pipeline than any other state.
A total of 58 confirmed geothermal projects are currently under development in Nevada, making it the state with the most production under development; neighboring California is second with 27 projects. New and existing geothermal projects will result in 3000 or more jobs added in the coming year, mostly in California and Nevada.
In 2010, a Nevada company was offered a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy to provide a partial guarantee for a $98.5 million loan to help build the Blue Mountain Geothermal project, a 49.2 MW plant in Humboldt County.
In August 2010, Chinese wind developer partner Shenyang Power Group announced they would employ up to 1,000 U.S. workers at a new wind-turbine factory in Nevada. The plant will produce 1.1 GW of turbines annually.
Energy Efficiency and Green Building Job in Nevada
Nevada has quite a few energy efficiency programs and initiatives that should hep the energy efficiency areas of its economy grow in the coming years.
Some of these programs are: Northern Nevada Low-Income Energy Conservation Program, which provides assistance for weatherizing and otherwise improving the energy effciency of low income housing; the Nevada ENERGY STAR® Home Program, that provides a recognizable measure of a homes energy efficiency rating; the Nevada Residential Energy-Efficient Consumer Products Rebate Program, which provides energy efficiency rebates; Northern Nevada Furnace Rebate Program, to help lower the cost for homeowners to replace energy inefficient furnaces with new energy efficient models; Nevada Large Commercial Energy Audit, which pays up to 50% of the cost of a detailed energy audit for large commercial customers, enabling them to get an accurate and measured picture of their actual energy use and inefficiencies; the Nevada Commercial Energy-Efficient Equipment Rebate Program, which helps defray the cost for new high energy efficient equipment intended for restaurants and other commercial establishments; the Southern Nevada Residential Weatherization Program, providing rebates for the purchase and installation of windows, attic insulation, floor insulation, and duct sealing and duct insulation; and the The Smarter Greener Better Solar Water Heating Program for Nevada, which is promoting the use of solar water heaters in the state.
In 2010 the USGBC ranked Nevada as the top state in the country for green buildings on a per capita basis, with 10.92 square feet of LEED certified green building per person. Naturally states with much bigger populations than Nevada outscore it on total cumulative rankings.
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