Maybe Harry Reid should be talking about this instead of Romney's taxes: Harry Reid helps Chinese solar firm represented by his son.
Reid has beat up NV Energy pretty good in recent years. In the closing days of the George W. Bush administration, Reid blocked plans to build coal-fired power plants in Nevada. He said in April on the "Nevada Newsmakers" show, "I don't think NV Energy has done enough to allow renewable energy to thrive."
But that same month, NV Energy reported it had exceeded its state-imposed green-energy requirement of 15 percent by purchasing 16.7 percent of its power from renewable sources. And that was in spite of the Public Utilities Commission rejecting a handful of renewable contracts in July 2011, saying the company hadn't justified the purchases were necessary to meet its quota.
Now Reid is pushing for a Chinese company he played a key role in recruiting to Nevada, ENN Mojave Energy LLC
There's another factor, however, one more personal to Reid: His son, Rory Reid, is one of the attorneys for the ENN Mojave Energy project. A Reid spokeswoman said the senator did not suggest Reid's firm - Lionel, Sawyer & Collins - to ENN, nor has the elder Reid spoken to this son about the deal. (Reid imposed a strict ban on family members lobbying his office in 2003 after the Los Angeles Times asked him about lobbying by three of his four sons.)
But success for ENN in finding customers helps Rory Reid, and its failure could cost him a client. It's an undeniable conflict that Harry Reid should keep in mind as he twists arms at the PUC and NV Energy, lest he earn himself an ethics complaint.
Reid's office points out developing more renewable power will create jobs in Nevada that can't be outsourced and reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil. (It's also good for the environment.)
And while Reid said in that April interview that "Every day that goes by, the ability to produce solar [energy] is cheaper," the fact is, it's more expensive than coal and natural gas right now. Someday, green power may be cheaper than anything else. But that day isn't here yet, and until it arrives, Reid must mind the costs and the conflicts.
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