Only months after Question 6, Nevada has a new renewable energy bill

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If you were to sit down and list the key characteristics that define humans, patience would not be one of them. We are a species driven by gratification. The determination that got us to the moon is the same as that of any child who wanders across their Christmas gifts in November: we just don’t like to wait.

Nevada Senator Chris Brooks embodied this same non-complacent attitude when he introduced Senate Bill 358 on Monday. SB 358 sets out to abolish Nevada’s old 25% by 2025 renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and replace it with a much more aggressive 50% by 2030 RPS.

If you’re getting some serious déjà vu, don’t worry, you aren’t going crazy. This bill sounds familiar because it is. SB 358 is nearly identical to Question 6, the ballot initiative passed this past November which would also raise the state’s RPS to 50% by 2030. So if the ballot initiative already passed, why introduce a similar bill? Because as previously stated, we humans are impatient creatures.

In Nevada, before a ballot initiative become law, it must garner a passing vote in two consecutive, even-numbered-year, election cycles. That means that, assuming the strong support Question 6 received from Nevadans doesn’t die, the earliest we could see Question 6 made law is late 2020 or early 2021. Senator Brooks is making an effort to speed that process up.

Brooks is a logical champion in the push for a higher RPS in Nevada. He’s the founder of Las Vegas Solar Electric, a founding member of the Southern Nevada Chapter of American Solar Energy Society and a certified PV installation professional.

Unlike their neighbors in Arizona, Nevadan proponents of SB 358 will likely not have to fight tooth and nail to get the bill passed. The bill already has support in two of the most critical junctions: from Governor Steve Sisolak (D) who focused heavily on support for renewable energy during his campaign and from Nevada’s largest utility, NV Energy, whose leadership has long supported a 50% RPS.

The beauty of this bill is that it adds another state to the ring of those looking to increase their RPS. These bills actually show some of the beauty that is lost in traditional politics. We’re seeing, in the absence of national legislation, a movement at the state level to commit to renewable energy and take responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions. Oh, and to that last point, Nevada also has a bill, SB 254, which would require the state Department of Environmental Protection to study and report on the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and find ways to reduce those emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement on climate change.