By Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media.
With just hours remaining in the 2017 legislative session, the Nevada State Legislature has approved a bill to boost the state's renewable energy target to 40 percent by 2030. The bill (AB 206) passed in the Senate on Monday afternoon, and was concurred by the Assembly shortly after. It now goes to the governor.
Notable amendments include setting an interim target of 32 percent by , identifying energy storage as a qualified technology to meet 10 percent of the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2030, applying a multiplier of 1.5 to geothermal resources, applying a multiplier of 2.0 to energy storage resources, and revising the annual requirement for electricity sold in the state, according to business groups tracking the legislation.
Clean energy advocates believe that increasing the RPS and expanding investments in renewable energy can help bring billions of dollars into Nevada's economy and create tens of thousands of additional jobs. Natural gas currently makes up roughly 70 percent of Nevada's electricity mix, sending about $700 million out of state each year to purchase fossil fuels, according to a recent report by ICF International, commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council. A higher renewable energy standard keeps more of those dollars in Nevada.
"Over the last few years, Nevada's clean energy leadership has really been challenged," said Vote Solar's Jessica Scott, in an interview. "Nevada’s renewable energy standard was last substantially changed in 2009, and is currently set to cap at 25 percent clean energy by 2025. Since then, the cost of renewable energy, especially solar, has fallen dramatically, and other states across the country have set aggressive new clean energy standards. So this is really an important step for Nevada to reclaim its status as a clean energy leader."
AB 206 initially sought to increase the target to 50 percent by 2040, and put the state on a pathway to reach 80 percent renewable energy by 2040, but those targets were not able to garner widespread support.
The Senate voted 12-9 along party lines in favor of a revised bill today, following several weeks of intense negotiations and backroom meetings due to opposition from the Nevada Resort Association (NRA), a powerful trade group representing the state's gaming industry.