Thursday, December 22, 2016

Las Vegas' energy policy should not just stay in Las Vegas

Well, who knew that Las Vegas, Nevada, was a hot-bed of progressive thinking and renewable power initiatives? But apparently it is claiming to be the largest US city to run entirely on renewable energy. In actual fact, it is only the city's government facilities (government buildings, parks, street lights, etc) that are all green-powered and not the whole city, as many news outlets are reporting, but still...
Now, I had always written off Nevada in general, and Las Vegas in particular, as a Wild West enclave full of libertines and rednecks, but apparently there are sensible people out there. Nevada Governor Sandoval is a Republican but far from a typical one, a handsome Latino who supports abortion rights, healthcare reforms, same sex marriage, etc. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (unlike her flamboyant husband Oscar, a former mob lawyer and ex-mayor who has been called "the Jewish Donald Trump") is very low-key and self-effacing, and altogether quite non-Las Vegas.
Either way, the city has ploughed more than $40 million of its ill-gotten gains into renewable energy over the last few years, including the huge Boulder Solar 1 solar facility, which generates some of the cheapest solar power in the country. It claims to be saving about $5 million a year in energy costs from its new enlightened energy policy and some extensive investments in energy efficiency measures in recent years. It has also reduces its prodigious water demand by efficiency and recycling programs.
So, although some of its claims may be a little exaggerated, kudos to Las Vegas for its achievement, and let's hope it doesn't just stay in Las Vegas.

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