Western Resource Advocates today welcomed the release of the Nevada state Climate Strategy Report by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Governor’s Office of Energy and noted the report signals a strong commitment toward reducing the state’s carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
The state report comes after NV Energy, the state’s largest electric utility, in November filed a Net-Zero Carbon Dioxide Emissions Goal Report with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. The NV Energy report details the utility’s attempt at meeting the carbon reduction requirements of Senate Bill 358, a 2019 measure signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak that set a statewide net-zero carbon-dioxide emissions goal for the state’s electricity providers to reach by 2050. In its report, NV Energy noted the importance of regional energy markets and renewable energy storage as key strategies for eliminating fossil-fuel emissions from its operations.
“Achieving significant reductions in Nevada’s greenhouse gas pollution will require the state’s largest utility, NV Energy, to continue decreasing carbon dioxide pollution,” said Cameron Dyer, Western Resource Advocates’ Clean Energy Program staff attorney in Nevada. “Encouragingly, there are numerous opportunities to reduce emissions in a cost-effective or even cost-saving manner, including expanded use of low-cost renewable resource like wind and solar, or expanding regional energy markets to more efficiently utilize those renewable resources.”
The state Climate Strategy Report was completed at the request of Sisolak, who in November 2019 issued an executive order calling for the two state agencies to develop policy recommendations and submit a report on strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The report’s development was led by Kristen Averyt, who last spring was appointed by Sisolak to be the state’s first climate policy coordinator.
The executive order directed the agencies to include policies that would create economy-wide or sector-specific programs to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, support transportation electrification and demand management, address building codes and other programs to increase residential and commercial building energy efficiency, and support tools and technologies to enhance climate resiliency and mitigate the impacts of climate change in urban and rural areas. Importantly, the executive order also directed the agencies to consider the impact of proposed programs and policies on disadvantaged or low-income communities.
The governor’s executive order followed the Nevada Legislature’s 2019 passage of Senate Bill 254, which requires the state Department of Environmental Protection to study and report on Nevada’s greenhouse gas emissions and develop ways to reduce those emissions in alignment with the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Sisolak in 2019 also announced Nevada was joining the U.S. Climate Alliance, thereby committing to reducing carbon pollution by 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, in line with scientific consensus on the steps needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, if greenhouse gas emissions around the globe remain unaddressed, average temperatures in Nevada could increase by as much as 15 degrees by 2100.