Senator Chris Brooks has introduced legislation that would increase Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to ensure the Silver State’s electricity providers meet at least 50% of customers’ energy needs with clean renewable sources — including wind, solar and geothermal — by 2030. The bill also sets a goal of producing electricity from zero-carbon emission resources, equal to 100% of the state utilities’ sales, by 2050. It has strong support from local environmental advocates including Western Resource Advocates, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club. This legislation follows the coalition Clean Energy Works for Nevada’s request to increase the RPS to 50%.
Increasing the state’s RPS to 50% would spur additional investments and innovation in Nevada’s clean energy sector, which employs nearly 25,000 Nevadans. The new standard would also reduce utilities’ reliance on fossil fuels, save customers money, curtail air pollution, and improve public health. Nevada voters overwhelmingly approved a similar ballot initiative to establish a 50% RPS during the 2018 midterm elections.
“In approving Question 6, Nevada voters have recognized that our state can be a national leader in transitioning to clean energy to power our homes and businesses,” said Robert Johnston, Western Resource Advocates’ senior staff attorney in Nevada. “The legislature now has the opportunity to follow Nevada voters’ direction and pass this legislation to increase our state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. A 50% RPS will drive new clean energy jobs, reduce harmful carbon pollution and provide stable electricity rates for Nevada customers.”
“Voters want Nevada’s future to be powered by the sun, not by fossil fuels imported from other states,” said Dylan Sullivan, a senior scientist in the Climate & Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This bill reforms and strengthens Nevada’s existing renewable portfolio standard, implementing the will of the voters.”
“The movement towards clean energy is sweeping the nation. Now is the time for Nevada to set an ambitious clean energy goal and commit to creating a new energy economy that takes advantage of our abundant in-state renewable resources to power our cities, create jobs, and protect our air, water, and climate,” said Elspeth DiMarzio, Beyond Coal Campaign representative at the Sierra Club. “Nevadans have already shown we want a cleaner and more affordable energy future in our state. The time for half measures is over.”
Recently, Governor Steve Sisolak entered Nevada into the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of 23 states committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The Nevada Legislature is also making important progress on SB 254, which would protect air, water and public health in Nevada by requiring the state Department of Environmental Protection to study and report on the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and ways to reduce those emissions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The coalition Clean Energy Works for Nevada applauds the introduction of SB 358. To take effect it must pass again in 2020, but Senator Brooks’s legislation would immediately begin implementing the new standard.
“Clean energy jobs are growing faster per capita in Nevada than anywhere else in the country,” said Ray Fakhoury, principal with the Advanced Energy Economy. “While the clean energy industry employs more than 25,000 Nevadans, SB 358 would provide an economic jolt to the burgeoning industry. These types of forward-thinking policies from Senator Brooks help strengthen Nevada’s regional competitiveness while benefiting businesses and consumers throughout the state.”
“Strengthening the state’s RPS will help to attract new investment, encourage innovation, and ensure that the state’s vibrant and robust clean energy economy continues to grow,” said Anne Kelly, VP of government relations at Ceres. “We look forward to working with Governor Sisolak and the Legislature to pass SB 358 into law.”
“SB 358 adds Nevada to the ranks of leading states in the development of abundant clean, low-cost and efficient renewable energy,” said Sean Gallagher, VP of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association. “We’re grateful that Governor Sisolak and legislators from both parties support increasing the state’s RPS, and urge them to act quickly to pass the measure, and urge them to act quickly.”
News item from Western Resource Advocates. Updated with CEW4NV comments at 11 a.m.