Nevada has been a leader in the nation in tapping our vast solar and geothermal renewable energy resources to produce clean and affordable electricity to power our homes.
Renewable energy has received overwhelming support among Nevadans, with over 80% in favor of allowing more solar and wind energy projects on public lands in a recent Colorado College State of the Rockies poll. Many leading Nevada businesses have also embraced clean energy with Tesla, Apple, Switch Communications, and many others committed to utilizing 100% clean renewable energy to power their operations.
The 2017 Nevada Legislature has embraced a groundswell of support for clean power in considering a number of bills this session that will restore Nevada as a leading renewable energy state. One proposed initiative to advance clean energy would update the state’s renewable portfolio standard, a law that determines what percentage of electricity must come from renewable energy.
In 2009, Nevada established a standard that 25% of the electrical power produced in the state should come from renewable energy sources by 2025. At the time, this placed Nevada in the top tier of states promoting policies to encourage the development of clean renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal power, and wind. But by 2017, it is clear that Nevada’s standard is no longer driving the state’s transition to renewable energy. The state’s major electric utility is getting less than 20% of its power from renewables. Nevada is slated to be surpassed by 10 other states such as California, Colorado, and Rhode Island as they and others update or establish more aggressive clean energy policies.
In February, AB 206, was introduced by Nevada Assemblyman Chris Brooks to increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2030, with a goal of achieving 80% by 2040. The timing couldn’t be better. The cost of renewable energy has steadily declined with improved technology and efficiencies.
Renewable energy in Nevada has also been good for our state’s economy, creating over 20,000 clean energy jobs – 8,300 in the solar industry alone. Although Nevada has already attracted more than $6 billion in renewable energy investment, the state has the potential to bring in several billion in wages and create an additional tens of thousands of construction jobs.
Finally, the 50% renewable standard could, by 2030, add an additional 7,500,000 MWh of renewable energy per year to our fuel mix, as compared to the existing 25% renewable standard. This would reduce carbon dioxide pollution from the state’s power generation by an additional 33%, or 3.1 million tons of CO2 per year.
Two months into the Nevada legislation session, important votes remain on AB 206 legislation and other smart energy efficiency and renewable energy policies. WRA has been advocating to pass these important clean energy bills. We join with businesses, other conservation groups, and concerned citizens to encourage Nevada to reclaim its place as a leading producer of clean and renewable energy.
If you haven’t already, take WRA’s action today asking your Nevada legislators to support an improved renewable energy standard and lend your support for clean power for Nevada. Legislators need to hear from their voters directly! Also, follow WRA on twitter for updates as AB 206 moves through the Nevada legislature and other opportunities to help advance the state’s clean energy future.