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BLOG: National Clean Energy Summit returns to Las Vegas in October

After a one-year hiatus, the National Clean Energy Summit is returning to Las Vegas on Oct. 13.

The event, which highlights innovations in the field of renewable energy, will be co-hosted by summit founder, retired U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. It will be held at the Bellagio hotel-casino.

The theme for this year’s event will be “Integrating Innovation.”

“It’s really quite remarkable what’s happened since 2008,” when the first National Clean Energy Summit was held, Reid said in an interview. Prices for energy generated by wind power and solar power have fallen. And newer technologies are making energy use more efficient, such as the switch from incandescent light bulbs to LED bulbs. “Things are changing,” Reid said. “And that’s why we’re calling this ‘integrating innovation.’”

The summit was held every year from 2008 until last year, when the presidential election took center stage and Reid was preparing to go into retirement. This will be the ninth event in the series.

“Now is the perfect time to bring back the National Clean Energy Summit,” said Karen Wayland, the executive director of the Clean Energy Project in Las Vegas, in a statement announcing the event. “The summit provides a national forum for exploring the clean energy innovations that create jobs, enhance national security, make the [energy] grid more reliable and deliver solutions that will contribute to a stronger and safer world.”

Over the years, the summit has heard addresses by former President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, then Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and former Center for American Progress President John Podesta. This is the first time it will be co-hosted by Sandoval, an addition Reid said gives the event a bipartisan appeal. “I’m really happy the governor has agreed to co-host this with me,” Reid said.

Sandoval signed a number of clean-energy bills during the 2017 session of the Nevada Legislature, including one to establish a higher net-metering rate that was designed to bring the rooftop solar industry back to Nevada. “I’m proud that Nevada is a leader in the clean-energy conversation,” Sandoval said in a statement.“The state has a history of collaboration and thoughtful discourse which results in effective policy-making and the summit will provide a platform for energy leaders to come together to discuss new ideas and share best practices.”

As in past years, the summit will feature an exhibit hall showcasing clean energy products. But new this year will be day-after tours on Saturday of big clean energy projects in Southern Nevada, including the Hoover Dam and the massive Copper Mountain Solar Facility in Boulder City. “It looks like a lake out in the middle of nowhere,” Reid said of the array of solar panels.

The summit is sponsored by the Clean Energy Project and MGM Resorts International, which owns the Bellagio. More details, including the speakers who will headline the event, will be announced later.

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5276. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.

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