A New Push for Renewable Energy in Nevada
Do you think it’s fair that half of Nevada's power should be required to come from renewable energy? You may get your chance to voice your opinion this November…a new question is heading to your ballot.
Do you think it’s fair that half of Nevada's power should be required to come from renewable energy? You may get your chance to voice your opinion this November…a new question is heading to your ballot. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the deadline for turning in signatures to get a constitutional amendment on the Nevada ballot. There’s a new one that wants to ask you about clean energy, part of a big push to have half of Nevada's power come from renewable energy..
Attorney Robert Johnston says when it comes to Nevada, one of the sunniest and geothermal-flush states in the country, we just don't get enough of our energy from renewables: "No, not at all, not at all. We've made good progress, but we can do a lot better." Fellow clean energy advocate Tom Polikalas agrees: "The direction has been to reduce coal-fired electricity. We still have a lot of natural gas-fired generation."
They're behind the efforts of the group Nevadans for a Clean Energy Future, which has been collecting petition signatures for months in all 17 Nevada counties. They say they're dropping off 230,000 signatures, topping the 112,000-plus required by Tuesday's deadline to put this on November's ballot: the Renewable Energy Promotion Initiative. Right now, 25% of the state's power is required to be from renewables by 2025. The group’s Kyle Roerink told me, "What we're advocating for is 50% by 2030. We feel that is a very reasonable...it's aggressive but reasonable kind of percentage to get there."
NV Energy didn't come out against it. They responded with a statement about their progress, saying "Nevada is a leader in renewable energy, ranking second in the nation for geothermal and fourth for solar power. NV Energy has exceeded our state's renewable portfolio standard for the eighth straight year and is on track…to double our renewable energy capacity by 2023." They also say they achieved a 24% renewable portfolio standard last year, ahead of Nevada's current 20% requirement.
But Robert Johnston says Nevada still spends $700 million a year to import fossil fuels from out of state to power the grid, and that we can not only get what we need right here, but renewables are getting cheaper…evening the playing field. He says, "For many, many years, coal and natural gas penciled out as the cheaper alternative. But those dynamics are changing."
And like other proposed amendments, after a vote of the people the new measure must be approved at two consecutive elections to become law.