By Elspeth DiMarzio, Sierra Club – Beyond Coal Campaign
This year is the 20th anniversary of the state’s first renewable portfolio standard (RPS) bill. In 1997, NV got less than 5% of its electricity from renewable sources. As of December 2016, the state gets about 20% of its electricity from renewables. This surge in clean energy generation is a big reason why over 20,000 people work in clean energy and energy efficiency – four times the number of people employed by fossil fuels.
Today there is a new RPS bill — AB206 — making its way through the state legislature. One question Nevadans should be asking is “how will a stronger RPS improve Nevada’s economy, and environment, over the next 20 years?”
If AB206 goes into effect, 70% of our power will come from clean energy in 20 years – 3.5 times more than today. How many more clean energy jobs will that kind of commitment create? And how much cleaner will the state’s air, water, and open spaces be?
What if the bill doesn’t pass? Right now, Nevada imports 90% of its electricity from other states, mostly natural gas. We are missing out on the opportunity to create jobs here in Nevada by tapping into our plentiful solar energy resource.
The new RPS reflects the reality that dirty energy has become the energy of the past, and now is the time to invest in Nevada’s clean energy if we want to create new jobs, keep energy bills low, and preserve our environment.