Nevada took a bold step towards promoting clean energy as it recently passed a couple of new laws pertaining to the use of renewable resources.
Nevada is one of the most progressive states when it comes to the use of renewable energy and it aims to fulfill at least half of its total energy needs through the use of clean resources by the year 2030.
The state also intends to be 100% carbon free by year 2050. These bills were passed by Nevada state assembly and Senate in April, 2019 by unanimous vote. The current state law had set the target of 25% energy to be derived from renewable resources by 2025.
State Run Utility within the Ambit of New Law
The new bill has not only raised the bar by setting higher standards but has also expanded the jurisdiction as well. Current state law covers only state run utility company NV Energy while the new bill will have a hold over all electricity providers including retail power marketers and electric cooperatives.
The bill will be applicable to private providers once they touch the 1 million MWh mark. Currently Coral Power LLC and Silver State Energy Association are the only two private retail power providers which meet this target. However Tenaska is on its way to touch the milestone.
Pursuant to the new law, NV Energy now plans to boost its solar power generation capacity by over 1 GW while the contribution of battery storage to the state’s generation mix will grow by 100 MW. The state currently generates 20% of its energy production from renewables.
Out of these, solar is the top runner with 50% share of renewable energy while geothermal contributes a little over 41% of the mix. With its new bills, Nevada became the fourth state to aim for 100% clean energy target.
Expanding the Scope of Energy Laws for Future
Nevada also proposes to carry out a number of studies which are expected to become the basis of future laws. The state has instituted new legislation for the purpose of tracking carbon emissions. The legislation will likely provide supporting data for the bills to be tabled in the next session.
The study will allow the state to track its carbon emissions and then use the data to draw appropriate policies to curtail the emanation. The state is also looking to promote the use of electric vehicles which will not only improve the quality of the atmosphere but is also expected to contribute to its economic prosperity by supporting electric vehicles manufacturers.
Currently 70% of Nevada’s net generation of energy is attributed to natural gas while coal accounts for another 9%. The state currently has only one coal plant running, which will be retired in 2025.
The new bill also plans to phase out current energy efficiency credits offered to customers by 2025. However, until then these customers are allowed to use such credits towards fulfilling their Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements.
New Job Opportunities
Under its New Clean Energy Standards, the state also aims to generate new job opportunities while promoting the use of renewable resources. Another aim is to make clean energy more affordable and accessible.
According to data released by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Nevada is amongst the top runner states when it comes to promote clean energy. In many areas, it matches states such as California, which aims to be 100% clean energy reliant by 2045.
The new bill has been applauded by various regulatory agencies and environment watchdogs. The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) praised the new state bill for its multi-pronged approach.
Nevada also recently shook hands with the US Climate Alliance, which is a bipartisan collaboration of governors who are committed to reduce greenhouse emission, in pursuance of the targets set by Paris Agreement.
The new bill comes with significant economic impact as well. By the end of 2018, Nevada boasted it had more than 32,000 jobs in the clean energy sector. Hopefully this did not push other jobs away because of artificially higher energy costs and regulations on businesses because of the new green policies.
However, the new bill is expected to generate over 11,000 new jobs in the sector by 2030. These additional jobs are estimated to add $1.5 billion in economic upswing while the wages paid to the workers will likely be in the vicinity of $500 million.
The data shows that clean energy is not only environment friendly but is also good from economic point as well.
Nevada also has a Renewable Energy Tax Abatement Program which has promoted nearly 45 clean energy projects so far. These projects involved $8 billion in capital investment while creating close to 9,000 construction-related jobs. Apart from these contributions, these projects also provided more affordable and cleaner energy source.
The initiative is also expected to work towards the betterment of tribes found in the area. The new law will also make the state’s clean energy resources portfolio more diverse as it seeks to promote different resources such as solar and hydroelectric.
It’s sensational when states choose to set their own course and are not forced to do things they don’t want to do by the federal government or prevented to do something they would like to do. This pertains to the marijuana and abortion issues in America.
Promotion of Energy Storage
Renewable energy is expected to be received warmly by the public as new endeavors are likely to help us offering a symbolic bonus. This is as long as the changes are in minor steps and not the radical changes that Germany forced onto every citizen and business which has blown up in their face on a number of levels. Moreover, solar power and wind power are becoming more affordable while scientific innovations are expected to make renewable energy more acceptable.
In addition, the bill already has provisions for promotion of batteries, which are used for storing energy for future use.
The opponents of the bill mainly quoted the higher costs of clean energy sources. However, various studies have shown that the cost is falling down consistently. As per Bloomberg, the price for batteries has fallen over 80% since 2010. That’s awesome!