Clean energy summit to follow up on August conference in Las Vegas

WASHINGTON -- Following up on a conference in Las Vegas last August, experts at a clean energy summit planned for later this month will strategize the next steps to building a green economy, it was announced Monday.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is among the organizers of the National Clean Energy Project, which he said he will take part in along with top officials in the Obama administration and renewable energy proponents like oilman-turned-wind-energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens.

The half-day forum, scheduled for Feb. 23 at the Newseum in Washington, likely will focus on strategies to convey electricity generated by solar, wind, geothermal and other natural sources into the nation's transmission grid, Reid said in a conference call with reporters.

Reid said the forum was aimed at building momentum generated by the energy summit held in August at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"I want to move forward on that," Reid said. "We got a good start there."

John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress think tank, said some of the ideas generated at the Las Vegas conference influenced the economic stimulus bill being considered in Congress.

One of the goals of the legislation, according to President Barack Obama, is to create jobs by building industries around the generation and transmission of renewables, and the manufacture of products that make use of those resources.

The stimulus bill includes $11 billion to finance 3,000 miles of transmission lines to transport renewable energy, and install 40 million energy-saving "smart meters" in homes.

It also contains $13 billion in tax credits for renewable energy investors and $10 billion for loan guarantees intended to back up to $100 billion in loans for transmission and renewable energy projects.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be among the officials taking part, Reid said.