CARSON CITY (Jan. 27, 2021) — Nevada clean energy and business advocates announced today that they will support the Responsible Energy Planning bill in the 2021 Nevada state legislative session. This bill would require Nevada’s gas utilities to avoid wasteful and unnecessary gas spending and consider clean energy alternatives that meet the state’s goals of 100 percent clean power and zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“Whether you look to the latest science, Governor Sisolak’s climate strategy, or modeling that predicts our state’s energy needs, it’s clear Nevada needs to plan for a future where more residents and businesses rely on local solar and geothermal power rather than fossil fuels imported from other states,” said Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen (D-29), who plans to introduce the bill. “Responsible energy planning isn’t just a necessity, it’s an unparalleled opportunity to create good jobs, diversify our economy, and lead the nation in renewable energy innovation. In a legislative session full of economic challenges and tough choices, this one is easy: let’s make sure we’re getting the best returns on our energy investments in the years to come.”
With a responsible energy planning process in place, gas utilities would need to prove that their infrastructure spending plans will keep energy affordable and safe as Nevadans move toward powering their homes and businesses with clean electricity rather than fossil fuels. Benefits of this approach include:
- Making smart investments: Over the next few decades, gas use will decline as Nevada moves toward local solar and geothermal resources to heat buildings. This means we need to carefully scrutinize gas utility investment proposals to make sure they provide more benefits than costs and carefully examine alternatives.
- Defending public health: The bill would require utilities to consider the health and climate impacts of “natural” gas, which is made of methane, a fossil fuel, and can lead to dangerous levels of indoor air pollution as well as increases in smog and wildfires.
- Creating local clean energy jobs: By investing in Nevada’s world-class solar and geothermal energy resources instead of importing fossil fuels, utilities can help diversify the state’s economy and create jobs by supporting the growing renewable energy sectors.
“More and more Nevadans are relying on clean electricity rather than polluting fossil fuels, and our gas utilities need to recognize that,” said Reno-based NRDC Senior Scientist Dylan Sullivan. “New gas pipelines last for decades, and so do the construction and maintenance costs that end up on our monthly utility bills. So we’ve got to ask: how can our gas utilities manage this transition in a way that keeps our bills reasonable, our air clean, and our economy strong? Responsible energy planning is the answer to this question, ensuring that the money we pay our utilities every month goes toward the maintenance and growth of an affordable, reliable energy system that protects our public health and climate.”
“Local clean energy and energy efficiency businesses will play a critical role in rebuilding Nevada’s economy,” said E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) Mountain West Advocate Susan Nedell. “30,000 Nevadans already work in the clean energy sector, and a more predictable and transparent energy planning process will give employers and investors the confidence to make forward-looking plans of their own. That means more investments in local businesses, more green jobs, and more opportunities for Nevadans of all ages to get the training they need to join the clean energy workforce.”
“To meet our state’s climate goals and significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, Nevada must shift away from imported, outdated, and dirty energy sources like oil, coal, and natural gas,” said Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg. “The bulk of Nevada’s current energy sources are both inconsistent with our climate goals and unfair to Nevadans who will bear the health and environmental costs for years into the future. Assemblywoman Cohen’s Responsible Energy Planning legislation will change that. This bill will encourage investments that are focused on building a long-term, renewable, and home-grown energy system that puts us on track to achieve our climate goals at a price Nevadans can afford.”
Clean energy and business advocates are also supporting legislation to improve energy efficiency, invest in sustainable transportation, and close the classic car loophole.