FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Carson City, Nevada (May 13, 2021) — Nevada State Senator Chris Brooks (D-Las Vegas) introduced Senate Bill 448 today to align electric utility plans and investments with state climate goals. This expansive proposal—which would address key issues in energy transmission, electric transportation, rooftop solar, clean electricity, renewable energy storage, energy efficiency, and more—has already garnered support from local labor unions and clean energy advocates.
“The overwhelming economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread harm to the families of IBEW members and tens of thousands more working families throughout the state,” said IBEW Local 357 Business Manager James Halsey, IBEW Local 396 Business Manager Jesse Newman, IBEW Local 401 Business Manager Jacob Haas, and IBEW Local 1245 Business Manager Bob Dean. “As this dark cloud begins to lift, it is critical that Nevada move to incentivize and approve infrastructure projects like electric vehicle charging infrastructure build outs that will put our members back to work and infuse the economy with hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of investment and economic activity while simultaneously helping the state meet its renewable energy and carbon reduction goals.”
“This bill provides opportunities for Nevadans to plug clean vehicles into clean electricity,” said NRDC Senior Attorney Max Baumhefner. “Gas- and diesel-powered cars and trucks are the largest source of local air pollution in Nevada, a problem which is especially intense for low-income communities near highways and other busy roads. By prioritizing these areas of the state for new electric vehicle infrastructure investments, we clean the air in communities that have borne a disproportionate share of pollution for far too long.”
“This comprehensive bill would create much needed provisions for utility planning, transportation infrastructure investment, and transmission expansion that can support future regionalization to facilitate the use of clean energy and help Nevada reach its targets for reducing the carbon pollution that causes climate change,” said Cameron Dyer, Western Resource Advocates’ staff attorney in Nevada. “Importantly, the measure provides significant investment in low-income communities that are hardest hit by climate pollution and will help drive job creation across our state as our economy recovers from the impacts of the pandemic.”
“This landmark bill will reduce emissions, make electric vehicles more accessible to low- and middle-income Nevadans, and direct energy-saving programs to the communities that need it the most,” said Ellen Zuckerman, Utility Program Co-Director for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “At a time when far too many Nevadans are making painful economic decisions and falling behind on their bills, it’s essential that we offer them new and improved opportunities to cut their electricity bills.”
Key elements of SB 448 include:
- Supporting regional electric grid planning to ensure that Nevada and neighboring states can provide reliable, affordable, clean electricity to their residents in the years to come;
- Strengthening Nevada’s transmission infrastructure through smart planning to ensure reliability and resiliency as well as access to expanded renewable generation of all types;
- Accelerating the transition to electric vehicles through a $100 million investment from NV Energy to invest in new electric vehicle charging stations and electric buses, with at least 40% of this infrastructure located in historically underserved communities;
- Increasing opportunities for rooftop solar in commercial and apartment buildings by clarifying existing laws and programs;
- Aligning the utility planning process with state climate goals by requiring utilities to forecast how they could achieve an 80% reduction in their carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by the year 2030;
- Expanding the successful Renewable Energy Tax Abatement program to include renewable energy storage facilities in addition to the renewable energy generation facilities that are currently covered; and
- Doubling funding for energy efficiency programs that serve low-income customers and public schools in historically underserved communities.