Heller boosts renewable energy storage

Nevada possesses enormous potential for renewable energy development. Recent advances in clean energy have helped make these resources cheaper and more reliable to produce. What has been missing is a strong investment from the federal government to incentivize innovative methods of clean energy storage. That is, until now.

Thanks to Senator Dean Heller’s support for the Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act, new investments in clean energy, good-paying jobs and ways to lower utility bills are on their way to Nevada businesses and consumers.

This bipartisan legislation’s goal is to integrate more renewable energy into America’s energy grid. Previous rules only allowed a limited tax credit for energy storage when installed alongside wind or solar; however, due to Senator Dean Heller’s work, this new legislation extends investment tax credits for all applications of clean energy storage, including consumer-owned and on- or off-grid generators.

In recent years, Nevada has been no stranger to renewable energy storage. Tesla Motors is in the process of finishing its $5 billion Gigafactory near Reno years ahead of schedule to meet the demand for lithium-ion storage units. The Gigafactory is on track to reach full capacity by 2020, the same point at which it is projected to produce more batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013. Access to this energy storage technology would allow homes and businesses in Nevada, and across the country to effectively and affordably store locally sourced geothermal and solar energy. Hundreds of local jobs have already been created due to the Tesla factory’s development, and Tesla believes there will be more than 6,500 new jobs on-site in the next four years.

Renewable energy success stories such as Tesla’s are leading to important changes in the public’s understanding of technological innovation in the energy sector. In June, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions sponsored a survey showing that 73 percent of likely voters in Nevada viewed exploration and development of renewable energy sources to be a high priority. More than eight in 10 respondents said that it is time for our country to update our energy infrastructure to allow for safer, more efficient delivery of traditional energy sources. More than 70 percent of these voters said they believe that energy innovators should be rewarded by the government for developing proven, measurable breakthroughs in clean energy technologies that improve reliability, affordability and environmental performance.

The Energy Storage Incentive and Deployment Act demonstrates strong bipartisan support for investing in renewable energy that modernizes America’s energy infrastructure and electric grid. Senator Heller has proven to be in touch with Nevadans’ needs, especially when it comes to promoting renewable energy technology that will benefit the state. He deserves credit for seeking to build consensus across party lines to advance technology that is advantageous for renewable energy providers and consumers alike.

James Dozier is the executive director and chairman of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. 

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