Health care, solar energy keys to Nevada economic diversification

Two growing industries give Nevada a tremendous opportunity to diversify its one-industry economy.

The first is health care. The announcement this week that the respected Cleveland Clinic has signed on with the under-construction Lou Ruvo Brain Center — now the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health — is a very big deal. The Cleveland Clinic is one of the best health care organizations in the world. For this organization to expand to Las Vegas — probably not the first city that would have come to mind — is a real coup for us. It’s also a huge deal for downtown Las Vegas.

Put the Cleveland Clinic alongside the emerging Nevada Cancer Institute, and Las Vegas has the potential to evolve into a major health care research and treatment hub. Our hospitals, unfortunately, do not have national reputations, but the Cleveland Clinic’s arrival should encourage them to raise their game. Same for the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

The second opportunity is renewable energy. Solar energy, in particular, is our prize to lose. Nevada political leaders, federal, state and otherwise, have been talking a good game about encouraging renewable energy here, but we are not in the lead among the states. Our wide-open spaces are ideal to host many, many square miles of solar panels. Some experts say Nevada could power much of the country if we seize the opportunity to become the continent’s solar center.

If we miss out on this huge growth industry, we need our heads examined at the Cleveland Clinic.

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