Despite the best efforts of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries, initiatives to increase renewable energy mandates are sweeping the nation. As one of the first acts as governor, New Jersey’s Phil Murphy (D) signed into law a mandate requiring that utilities source 50% of their power by 2030. And where politicians in Arizona and Nevada have attempted to hold their states back, referendums are taking the question directly to the people.
According to multiple news outlets, including the Associated Press, last Thursday Nevada’s Secretary of State confirmed that Nevadans for a Clean Energy Future had collected enough valid signatures to put its motion for a 50% by 2030 renewable energy mandate on the ballot on November 6.
This is a dramatic increase on the state’s current mandate of 25% by 2025, which is appropriate given that renewable energy already represented 21% of generation last year. According to the language of the initiative petition, eligible renewable energy sources will include solar, wind and geothermal.
Nevadans for a Clean Energy Future had collected more than 200,000 signatures – nearly double the amount required – however some signatures are always rejected by election officials, and such efforts are not official until the Secretary of State gives the go-ahead.
And if polling is any indication, the odds are good that Nevada’s increased mandate will pass on November 6.
A similar fate is expected of a 50% by 2030 renewable energy referendum in Arizona, which turned in more than double the number of required signatures earlier this month. Like the Nevada effort, Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona is backed by billionaire clean energy advocate Tom Steyer, as was a similar effort in Michigan which ended with a compromise with the utilities.
California, New York and New Jersey already have 50% by 2030 targets, with Vermont (75% by 2032) and Hawaii (100% by 2045) the only states with more ambitious mandates.
And if it is any indication of what we are to expect, only a few days after this announcement was made, Quinbrook and Arevia announced a mammoth 690 MW solar project planned for the desert 25 miles northeast of Las Vegas.