Business leaders and community advocates today called on Governor Brian Sandoval to sign legislation that would put Nevada into the top tier of states with clean energy standards, and delivered nearly 8,000 signatures from Nevadans who support Assembly Bill 206.
Under this legislation, passed by the legislature, Nevada would get at least 40 percent of its energy from clean renewable sources by 2030, a goal that would position the state to be one of the top producers and generators of clean energy in the country. It would update the clean energy standard first established by Nevada in 1997, making the Silver State one of the first states to establish such a goal. Since then, Nevada has attracted more than $6 billion in investment in the state’s clean energy economy, both from clean energy generation from sources such as solar and geothermal, energy efficiency, and from companies looking to export clean energy from Nevada to neighboring states. Advocates say the stronger clean energy update will attract billions more investment and employ thousands more in Nevada.
“We need to AB 206 to become law this year,” said Louise Helton, owner of 1 Sun Solar, a rooftop solar installation company based in Las Vegas. “It will assure Nevada creates thousands of jobs from the fastest growing sector in the United States economy, clean energy.”
Andy Wirth, CEO of a private company in the mountain resort sector and President of Chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Regional Air Service Corporation, spoke at the press conference before signers dropped off the petitions at the Governor’s offices in Carson City and Las Vegas. Wirth praised Governor Sandoval’s record of encouraging clean energy and said businesses like Tesla, Patagonia, Apple and others were closely watching Nevada’s progress.
“This is really something that everyone in the private sector is closely watching,” Wirth said. “It couldn’t be a better time to lead.”
“Nevada is already profiting from converting clean sunlight and geothermal energy into power for homes and businesses,” said Kenny Eliason, owner of NeONBRAND, a digital marketing firm in Las Vegas. “Municipal utilities and businesses are knocking at Nevada’s door, looking to buy clean energy for their needs in the West. They have literally invested billions in our state and we want that to continue. We have a lot of clean energy and it makes business sense to capitalize on that abundant natural resource.”
Young people looking towards future employment opportunities in the Silver State were among those calling for the Governor’s signature. Cielo Gumabon, a University of Nevada-Las Vegas student, said Tuesday that the UNLV Student Senate passed a resolution in support of AB 206.
“Nevada has the potential to bring in more than $5 billion in wages and create an additional 92,000 construction jobs,” said Gumabon, adding that a strong clean energy standard would position Nevada’s universities to be among the top tier, nationally, in sustainability efforts.
Andy Maggi, executive director of the Nevada Conservation League, referenced Governor Sandoval’s commitment to clean energy policies.
“Governor Sandoval has called for Nevada to be the nation’s leading producer and consumer of clean energy,” Maggi said. “AB206 puts Nevada in the top three states nationwide for renewable energy development – an aggressive path forward to build the solar, wind, and geothermal capacity we need to create jobs and clean our air. We thank the Legislature for its leadership and we are urging the Governor to sign this bill to deliver on his clean energy promise.”
Business advocates said the strong clean energy standard, known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS, was the ticket to keeping Nevada competitive.
“If we don’t increase our RPS, businesses will look to other states to meet their renewable energy and sustainability goals,” said Jennifer Taylor, Clean Energy Project State Policy Advisor. “Forty-three percent of Fortune 500 companies have commitments to renewable energy and sustainability and are demanding direct access to renewable energy. Nevada’s energy policies quite simply have to mirror the core values of the types of companies we want to attract to do business in our state.”
About RenewNV: RenewNV is a partnership of organizations working to build and enhance Nevada’s clean energy economy. Renewable energy means reliable power, clean air, and good jobs for Nevada, and smart energy policies that can make the Silver State an economic powerhouse.