Every iconic shot of Nevada showcases the state’s premier attraction, the Las Vegas strip. It’s something uniquely American: a desert oasis of decadence where a person can lose their life savings, fall in love, get married and visit the Eiffel Tower all in the same day, and on the same block. The illustrious lights of the strip have for decades captured the hearts and minds of millions.
Nevadans for a Clean Energy Future, as well as SEIA and Vote Solar Action Fund are hoping that those lights will capture the minds of the state’s voters this upcoming November.
Both SEIA and Vote Solar Action Fund have announced their support of Nevada’s Question 6, an initiative that would establish the country’s fourth-most ambitious renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) in the Silver State: 50% by 2030.
Look familiar? It’s the same initiative that’s also going to ballot in Nevada’s neighbor, Arizona. Both have been led by philanthropist Tom Steyer, though Nevada’s initiative has not faced nearly the backlash that its Arizona sibling has.
It’s also the same renewable portfolio standard that has been established in New York, New Jersey and California – well, at least until SB 100 passed last week. Only Vermont and Hawaii have more ambitious policies.
The support of SEIA and Vote Solar Action Fund could prove to be critical to the measure, as they are two of the largest solar energy advocacy groups in the United States. Their interest is, obviously, a vested one, as Nevada’s renewable energy markets to date have leaned heavily towards solar. The state has the 4th most installed solar capacity in the country, recently re-administered net metering and has another initiative being voted on in November that would deregulate utilities, separating the generation and retail sale of power and open up a competitive retail electricity market.
“No state has seen the profound effect that strong policy can have on jobs and economic activity than Nevada,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA president and CEO. “A strong RPS in Nevada is not only imminently achievable, but also will create massive jobs, stimulate economic activity and support air quality.”
And again, unlike its Arizona cousin, the Nevada RPS initiative is seeing bipartisan support, according to Vote Solar Action Fund’s Jessica Scott.
“We are proud to work with a strong and diverse local coalition to support Question 6, the only measure on the November ballot that is guaranteed to significantly increase the amount of Nevada’s electricity that comes from homegrown renewable sources like solar energy. Overwhelming majorities of Republican, Democratic and Independent Nevadans all want more healthy, job-creating clean energy powering their communities, and it’s exciting that they’ll now have the opportunity to vote for that brighter future for their families and future generations at the ballot this fall.”
This will not be Nevada’s first effort to accelerate its RPS. In 2017 a similar bill to raise the state’s RPS to 40% by 2030, which received comparable bipartisan support was vetoed by Governor Brian Sandoval (R). However, a ballot initiative does not need the governor’s signature.