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Nevada Solar Project: Turning on the Sun for Clean Energy




Thursday, December 6, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed two ordinances passed by the City Council approving the long-term purchase of solar power from a new development on tribal land in Nevada. The clean energy produced there will be enough to power more than 100,000 homes for 25 years.

The agreement is important here in Los Angeles, as the city moves away from coal and towards solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency.

But we need more from our investments than clean energy alone. We need that investment to lift up communities that have been struggling in this economy. Thanks to the work of advocates over the years, some political leaders are embracing that connection.

“These solar contracts are proof-positive that environmental progress and economic growth go hand-in-hand,” Mayor Villaraigosa said Thursday. The signing ceremony took place at Occidental College, which is home to its own solar array.

In this case, the economic impact of the agreement is especially important for the Moapa Band of Paiutes, on whose tribal land the solar project will be developed. In a recent Frying Pan News post, I interviewed Tribal Chairman William Anderson about the benefits the project would bring to his tribe, which has been fighting the effects of a nearby dirty coal plant. Good, unionized jobs will be available to the tribe and others in Nevada, thanks to a partnership with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 357.

Mayor Villaraigosa and Los Angeles City Council leaders aren’t the only elected officials to embrace the project and the nexus of environmental and economic benefits. Senator Harry Reid responded by video, recognizing the important steps taken here in Los Angeles. (See below.)

For more on the project, see this article by the Sierra Club’s Mary Anne Hitt and watch their video on the struggle of the Moapa Band of Paiutes.

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