Nevada’s energy bill aims to boost green energy and jobs
Democratic state lawmakers on Thursday unveiled an ambitious renewable energy bill that they say will pave the way for Nevada to meet its renewable energy goals while boosting jobs along the way.
Senate Bill 448, presented to the Senate on Thursday, “would capitalize on our regional position in the western United States and all the resources we have to truly make us the hub of this new energy economy,” he said. said the architect of the bill. and renewable energy advocate Senator Chris Brooks, D-Las Vegas.
The plan, Brooks added at a virtual roundtable for the bill, would allow Nevada to better harness its renewable resources such as wind, solar and geothermal power and be better positioned in the future to expand energy transmission.
Supporters said the sweeping bill will help Nevada meet its goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 by increasing investment in electric vehicle charging stations, enabling solar projects. communities and setting a timeline for a large NV Energy project. must be operational.
Renewable energy advocates have praised the proposal, which comes with less than three weeks in the legislature.
“SB448 presents a bold plan for this transition and will deploy more clean energy to power our homes, vehicles and businesses and fuel our economic recovery,” Nevada Conservation League executive director Paul Selberg said in a statement. . “We are pleased to see that energy efficiency and electric vehicle charging in the bill prioritize historically underserved communities that have suffered the brunt of the climate crisis.”
Specifically, the bill would require NV Energy to complete its Greenlink Nevada project by 2028, roughly three years ahead of the company’s original timeline.
This project would construct two new 525 kilovolt transmission lines to east, west and south Nevada. The northern segment would stretch approximately 235 miles from Ely to Yerington, across part of the state where there is potential for solar and geothermal energy. And the western connection, a 351-mile line that would run from Yerington to Las Vegas, would pass through at least three solar power zones.
The project is the largest in the company’s history and could generate nearly $ 800 million in economic activity and some 4,000 jobs from design to construction.
Doug Cannon, CEO of NV Energy, said the project “will ensure the lights stay on for every Nevadan” and added that it would allow the state to tap more widely into a Western energy market.
“It’s all about connectivity,” said Brooks, the sponsor of the bill. “If we already have more connectivity in place, we become a much better candidate for other developers to come and build their systems in our state.”
The bill also aims to tackle clean energy in the transportation sector, which accounts for about 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in Nevada.
Brooks’ proposal would require NV Energy to invest $ 100 million in five programs associated with electric vehicle charging stations, and 40% of that investment will have to go to communities that have been historically underserved.
This investment will increase access across the valley to charging infrastructure, which proponents say is needed to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and reduce carbon output from cars and trucks.
The bill will also increase the amount that utility companies must spend on energy efficiency programs for low-income customers, from the current 5% to 10%.
“This comprehensive bill would create much-needed provisions for planning utilities, investing in transportation infrastructure, and expanding the transportation network that could support future regionalization to facilitate clean energy use and help Nevada to meet its goals of reducing carbon pollution that causes climate change ”. Cameron Dyer, staff attorney for Western Resource Advocates in Nevada, said in a statement. More importantly, the measure provides for a significant investment in low-income communities that are hardest hit by climate pollution and will help spur job creation across our state as our economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic. “
The bill, which does not meet the usual deadlines, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Growth and Infrastructure. The legislature has 18 days before it has to adjourn the session.