Center for American Progress Action

Press Release


Reid, summit partners deliver clean energy priorities for next president and Congress

Las Vegas, NVToday’s National Clean Energy Summit at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas produced an ambitious yet attainable outline for the future of clean energy in America and throughout the world.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid, UNLV, and the Center for American Progress Action Fund partnered to host the summit. Bringing together leaders in government, business, science, labor, and research, the summit convened with the goal of developing a set of guiding principles to deliver to the upcoming national political conventions.

The summit’s consensus recommendations include the following:

The federal government should:

  • Provide long-term tax incentives for renewable energy production and energy efficiency, including clean renewable energy bonds, and modify other tax policies to reward clean energy investments.
  • Set a national renewable electricity standard for utilities to produce a significant portion of their electricity from wind, solar, and geothermal energy. This should be at least 20 percent by 2020. It would reduce consumers’ energy costs, energy price volatility and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Establish, enforce, and update building code standards for energy efficiency in new and retrofitted buildings to save consumers money and reduce fossil fuel use. Provide incentives for efficiency related renovations Reduce building energy use by 50 percent by 2030.
  • Put a price on carbon pollution, through a cap-and-trade program or other means.
  • Modernize and expand the nation’s electrical grid to make it smart, more secure, and capable of transferring or storing clean renewable energy in combination with electric vehicles, while providing greater access to such resources in an environmentally responsible way.
  • Help fund the transition of states, like Nevada, or small countries around the world to be completely energy independent and carbon neutral to serve as an example of how these goals can be achieved.
  • Act swiftly to increase the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks, and increase funding for private-public partnerships to build a transportation sector that uses far less or no oil.
  • Buy and give significant incentives to consumers and small businesses to buy clean alternative fuel and plug-in hybrid vehicles. This should include natural gas fleet vehicles.
  • Initiate electrification of our entire transportation sector so it uses only clean domestic energy soon.
  • Fully fund and expand a green jobs/clean energy corps program to weatherize millions of homes, train workers for new energy technology application, build a smart grid, etc.
  • Provide incentives to states to decouple utility profits from electricity sales to encourage significant new investments in energy efficiency, and ensure net metering and time of use pricing/real time information is available.
  • Create a federal clean energy fund to invest in research, development, and deployment of efficiency and renewable technologies.
  • Encourage or direct utilities to organize the retrofitting of existing buildings.
  • Expedite identification and reservation of federal public lands that have high potential for the environmentally responsible production of renewable electricity, and improving permitting processes for clean energy production on such lands.
  • Vastly increase the budget for clean energy research, development and deployment, including greater emphasis on commercializing research funded by taxpayers.
  • Greatly increase investments in public transit to make it more affordable and accessible.
  • Fully fund and expand LIHEAP, low income weatherization, and Energy and Environmental Block Grant programs.
  • Reduce federal government energy consumption by half within the next 15 years, using procurement power to buy green products, buildings, and services.
  • Fund research into carbon capture and storage technology that can dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal fired power plants.
  • Speed the transition from corn-based ethanol to sustainable biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol made from wood chips, agriculture waste, and switchgrass. This could include a joint U.S.-Brazilian investment in sugar cane ethanol in the Caribbean, which would create jobs in this developing region.
  • Convert solid waste landfills so that they produce waste heat, biofuels, or fertilizer from methane emissions or organic materials.
  • Establish programs to promote exports of domestically made clean energy technology products. Assist China and India and other developing nations with their adoption of clean energy practices and technologies.

States should consider policies to:

  • Require all new government buildings to be LEED certified.
  • Convert state vehicle fleets to alternative fuels.
  • Create incentives for renewable energy by lowering property taxes for these facilities, and exempting them from sales tax.
  • Require that homeowner associations allow solar panels and other renewable technologies. Eliminate barriers and regulations that discourage energy efficiency. Increase transparency of commercial building energy use for consumers.

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