Environment & Science

Brown joins other political leaders at Vegas clean energy conference

California Gov. Jerry Brown
California Gov. Jerry Brown
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California Gov. Jerry Brown joined national political leaders at a “clean energy” conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu headlined the National Clean Energy Summit. It’s the fourth year in a row for the event sponsored by the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Chu told the conference that setting national goals for clean energy, as California has done, would be a good idea.

"A clean energy standard requires no investment of tax dollars. And if done wisely and in concert with an intelligent research and development it will have minimal impact on tax dollars," he said.

Chu noted the United States invested $34 billion in clean energy incentives, tax credits and grants last year. He says that’s less than China and Germany spend.

Brown joined Washington state’s Christine Gregoire and Nevada’s Brian Sandoval in a governors' discussion about regional energy policies. At previous clean energy summits, discussions around tax incentives, transmission funding and large-scale project financing have spawned federal and state programs to encourage renewable energy.

This year’s conference follows a Brookings Institution report that questions the jobs value of a clean-energy economy. Western leaders and Democrats counter that green jobs are growing twice as fast as others.

Speaking on the Vegas strip, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid said the conference is important because dependence on foreign oil hurts national security and the U.S. economy.