Nevada Becomes Latest State to Make Aggressive Carbon Reductions

Key Takeaways:

  • Nevada setting aggressive renewable energy targets for 2030, then 2050
  • Current generation portfolio is covered, showing where Nevada is now
  • Targets backed by both industry and power providers in-state

In late April the Nevada Senate approved a bill requiring the state to produce half its electricity from renewables by 2030, joining a raft of U.S. states moving swiftly to increase solar and wind generation as market forces continue to pound coal. For a state with excellent solar conditions like Nevada, it is an ideal moment to seize the windfall opportunity of utility scale solar power, which has become cheaper than ever.

Nevada currently receives 70% of its electricity from gas-powered generation and 9% from coal—though its last coal plant is scheduled to be retired in 2025. The bill, which passed in the legislature in April, seeks moreover to make Nevada’s energy production 100% carbon free by mid-century. The state’s renewable portfolio standard that mandated 25% renewables by 2025 targeted only the utility NV Energy, while the new law rightly applies to electric co-ops, retailers and all electricity providers statewide.

Nevada’s case is a bit different from other states moving aggressively to curb their carbon emissions—like Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois and New York, to name a few—because geothermal power plays an outsized role in the current renewables mix, representing more than 40% of Nevada’s clean energy production. That’s about to change, as NV Energy has unveiled plans to add more than 1 Gigawatt of solar generation along with 100 Megawatts of battery storage to its capacity.

Significantly, businesses and power providers throughout Nevada threw their weight behind the bill, recognizing the strong long-term financial incentive of investing in solar generation infrastructure. With Tesla’s Gigafactory outside Reno leading the way, the state is demonstrating how the economics and policies favoring renewable power can go hand in hand.

What We’re Reading: “Nevada passes bill for 50% renewables by 2030, 100% carbon free by 2050”, as published on Utility Dive.