updated 8/18/2009 2:07:43 PM ET 2009-08-18T18:07:43

Local leaders and Nevada's two largest gambling companies are partnering to create a local nonprofit to encourage environmentally friendly projects and training programs.

Officials formally launched Green Chips on Tuesday.

Its board chairman is Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman; the mayors of suburbs North Las Vegas and Henderson are also on the board.

Casino operators Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., and MGM Mirage are also founding partners of the effort.

The nonprofit hopes to encourage so-called green investments and the creation of green jobs in the Silver State.

The organization will start with small-scale demonstration projects including a solar energy retrofit to help save energy at a local nonprofit agency, and a partnership to provide energy audits to low-income households in Southern Nevada. Several other partnerships are being formed to encourage energy-efficient construction and retrofits in communities throughout the region.

Green Chips says it also plans to aggregate resources to provide low-interest loans to homeowners and businesses for energy-efficiency, resource-preservation and carbon-reduction projects. 

A regional summit on conserving energy in Southern Nevada is planned for the fall.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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