This week featured a hearing on another of the renewable energy bills moving through the Nevada Legislature this session. If passed and enacted, AB 206 will raise Nevada’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2040. What does this mean for the planet? And what does this mean for your electric bill?

AB 206 finally got its day in the sun… And by sun, I mean the Assembly Commerce and Labor Energy Subcommittee. Why was it there? Bill sponsor and Energy Subcommittee Chair Chris Brooks (D-Las Vegas) explained as succinctly as possible.

“Technology moves fast. Utility planning doesn’t.” – Assembly Member Chris Brooks

29 states now have renewable portfolio standards that require utility companies to sell a certain amount of renewable energy to customers. In October 2015, California reclaimed its national leader status when Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed SB 350 to set a RPS of 50% renewable energy by 2030. AB 206 doesn’t just match California’s RPS, but exceeds Hawaii’s 2040 target by setting a 80% by 2040 RPS.
This ambitious goal was cited by detractors as a reason not to pass AB 206. Assembly Member Paul Anderson (R-Las Vegas) took the issue head-on when he asked Brooks, “How much capacity do we have to build to meet the 50% goal?” Brooks didn’t hesitate to note Nevada’s leadership in renewable energy development. He also cited rising investment and falling costs in renewable energy production.

“It would have a positive impact on the economy, on economic development and cost-per-unit.” – Assembly Member Chris Brooks

The hearing was interrupted in Las Vegas by a mandatory evacuation of the Grant Sawyer State Building. Once police determined there were no bombs on premises, attendees were allowed to return to legislative hearings on the fourth floor.
Upon reconvening the AB 206 hearing, Clean Energy Project’s Jennifer Taylor reminded legislators of the importance of this bill. “This energy policy matters as Governor Sandoval works to develop ‘The New Nevada’.” Governor Brian Sandoval’s (R) administration has cited renewable energy as a key sector for economic diversification. Sandoval has also moved to change course after a widely panned Public Utilities Commission decision in December 2015 to end retail net metering for rooftop solar.
AB 206 is part of the #RenewNV portfolio of renewable energy and climate action bills this legislative session. Just hours before this hearing, the Assembly introduced AB 270 to restore retail net metering for all rooftop solar customers. Additional renewable energy bills have already been moving through the Nevada Legislature.