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As the battle over Nevadaâ€™s solar-killing fees wages on, state lawmakers, government officials and prominentÂ renewable energy advocates descended uponÂ Teslaâ€™s GigafactoryÂ near RenoÂ this week to discuss the future of clean energyÂ in the Silver State.
At Wednesdayâ€™sÂ event, attendees wereÂ given a tour of the still-in-construction Gigafactory. Once complete, the massive $5 billion battery plant will be 100 percentÂ powered by renewable energy sources, with the goal of achieving net zero energy.
The Associated Press reported that actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio was also at Gigafactory the same day to film a documentary he is directing on green energy. He was not part of the program but reportedly interviewed Tesla CEO Elon Musk for the film and met with some organizersÂ and attendees, including Nevada Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford (D-Las Vegas).
TheÂ event was organized by MuskÂ and SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive toÂ advanceÂ the developmentÂ ofÂ solar energy in NevadaÂ and to discuss how Teslaâ€™s suite of in-home batteries works in tandem with a residential array. AsÂ Vegas IncÂ reported:
[Riveâ€™s presentation focused] on how energy storage batteries and rooftop solar can work to reduce strain on the grid and help utilities operate more efficiently. The batteries, which are already being produced at the Tesla Gigafactory, can store solar-generated power so that it can be used at night or during times of peak power usage.
According to a copy of his presentation, Rive will encourage the lawmakers to look differently at the grid and embrace disruptive technologies, such as rooftop solar and home energy storage.
â€œNevada is at the forefront of the future of energy,â€ the text of Riveâ€™sÂ presentation said. â€œBut the future of energy will need leadership to enable change.â€
Though it wasnâ€™t explicitly said, Riveâ€™s comment takes aim at Nevadaâ€™s Public Utilities Commission (PUC), whichÂ votedÂ in December to increase a fixed monthly fee for solar customers by about 40 percent while simultaneously reducing the amount customers get paid for excess power they sell to the grid.
â€” Nancy Pfund (@NancyPfundDBL) March 17, 2016
AÂ fierce net metering battle has sinceÂ ensued and isÂ framed by media as a showdown betweenÂ Warren Buffettâ€”whose Berkshire Hathaway Energy owns NV Energy, the stateâ€™s largest utilityâ€”versus Musk, theÂ chairman andÂ largestÂ shareholder inÂ SolarCity.
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