The speaker list for the National Clean Energy Summit, which kicks off today in Las Vegas, is a who’s who of politicians that will be shaping clean energy policy. The list includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, T. Boone Pickens, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and DOE Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Outside of Washington, D.C., the summit is one of the bigger meet-ups for those who will be weighing in on the upcoming climate bill, which passed the House in June, and which the Senate plans to take up in September.
Reid, who co-sponsored the conference, which is now in its second year, will be one of the most influential voices in terms of what the climate bill will look like. He has a huge role in deciding how the free carbon-emissions permits will be allocated for the cap-and-trade system, as the Wall Street Journal’s Energy Capital blog pointed out last week. Which companies get how many free permits will, in essence, decide the economic impact of the bill and determine if the U.S. sidesteps some of the problems that Europe’s carbon regulation faced when it was launched. No wonder he wants a day of input from his fellow clean energy policy peers.
It’s somewhat ironic that the conference is being hosted in one of the most unsustainable cities we’ve ever been to. Anyhoos, we’ll be posting regularly from the show, so stay tuned.