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US energy chief touting renewables in stops around Las Vegas

AP Photo/Meg Kinnard
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm speaks to reporters after hearing engineering students' presentations on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, during a visit to South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm toured Nevada’s vast former national nuclear proving ground on Friday and visited a Las Vegas-area liquid hydrogen production plant as part of a tour of the U.S West touting Biden administration support for renewable and clean energy sources.

Granholm’s visit to the Nevada National Security Site included stops at Mercury, a town northwest of Las Vegas that once housed 10,000 people and workers at what was then known as the Nevada Test Site, according to an Energy Department statement.

Mercury now serves as the administrative hub of the remade government reservation that includes sites of nuclear detonations in the past and now has underground research facilities for non-explosive tests of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

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Granholm was joined in North Las Vegas by Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto at Air Liquide, a $250 million facility set to open in coming weeks to convert gas from landfills into hydrogen to power what officials say could amount to more than 40,000 vehicles.

The secretary’s itinerary also included accompanying U.S. Rep. Susie Lee, a Democrat from Las Vegas, on a tour of a Henderson facility that uses technology to update the electrical grid and a visit an energy-efficient home.