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Nevada Raises Renewable-Energy Goals to 50% by 2030

Renewable energy got a big boost as Gov. Steve Sisolak signed Senate Bill 358 into law on Earth Day. (Cece94/Morguefile)
Renewable energy got a big boost as Gov. Steve Sisolak signed Senate Bill 358 into law on Earth Day. (Cece94/Morguefile)
April 23, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A longtime priority for Democrats came to fruition Monday - Earth Day - as new Gov. Steve Sisolak signed into law a bill requiring utilities to get 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Senate Bill 358 would raise what's called the Renewable Portfolio Standard from its current goal of 25 percent by 2025. Katie Robbins serves as campaign manager for Question Six, which proposed to enshrine the new goal in the state constitution, and passed last November with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

"This is a huge step forward. Nevada was one of the first states in the nation to have an RPS in the '90s, but we fell behind,” Robbins said. “We're once again showing the country that we are a leader in clean renewable energy. And not only is this good for the climate, but this is good for Nevadans' pocketbooks."

In keeping with Nevada law, Question Six will appear again on the 2020 ballot even though the law will already have taken effect. Opponents have said raising the standard gives the government too large a role in energy markets, that it will tie the utilities' hands and that it could cost jobs in the fossil-fuel industry.

Robbins noted the state's main utility, NV Energy, often has exceeded the existing standard and even has discussed moving toward 100 percent renewables in the future.

"NV Energy, as well as many of the rural co-ops, have endorsed SB 358. They know that this is the right thing to do,” she said. “Since we're the most geothermal-rich state, we have obviously a ton of sun, a ton of wind, I don't expect that it would be a problem for them to hit those numbers."

Supporters hope reducing the reliance on fossil-fuel energy also will help with air pollution in Nevada, and thus decreases rates of asthma, heart and lung disease.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV