January 10, 2018
Legislative Committee on Energy
c/o Legislative Counsel Bureau
401 S. Carson Street
Carson City NV 89701
Chair Atkinson and members of the committee:
As the Legislative Committee on Energy meets for the first time, the undersigned clean energy advocates want to thank our legislative leaders for their work, and urge you to continue to build on the success of the past. Nevada must maintain its leadership on clean energy by increasing its renewable portfolio standard and enabling community solar – regardless of the energy market structure. By doing this, the state will attract more investment and jobs from companies seeking clean energy for their business.
The Silver State is a leader in the generation, use and storage of renewable energy. With each passing month, more of our businesses, government agencies and residents turn to clean energy and energy efficiency to meet our needs. Companies seeking clean power from solar, geothermal, and wind are turning to Nevada and locating their manufacturing, distribution, and headquartering needs in our state.
The leadership of the Legislature has been critical to building the foundation for that progress. Last year, the Legislature passed eleven bills – and the Governor signed nine – that deepened Nevada’s commitment to clean energy, ensuring our state will continue to welcome investment and jobs in this critical industry, which already employs more than 31,000 people.
Our organizations were very involved in advocating on these issues during the Legislature’s last session. As we’ll see from the presentations today, much has gone on since then, and we have continued to engage the community and provide information to the Governor’s Committee on Energy Choice and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. As part of the PUC’s study on Energy Choice, we submitted a letter with recommendations that we’re including as an attachment here. We also participated in the recent General Rate Case that resulted in a historic lowering of electric rates in Southern Nevada at the same time coal plants are shutting down and levels of clean energy, such as rooftop solar, reach new highs.
In the 1990s, Nevada was a clean energy pioneer, as one of the first states to establish a Renewable Portfolio Standard, and since then more than 30 states have joined us. Now Nevada appears poised to join 18 states in adopting an open market for business and residential consumers to purchase electricity. As 17 of those states have found, Nevada can have both – a strong renewable portfolio and energy choice. While we do not have a position in support of or opposition to the initiative, Nevada voters approved an open market because they believe it will bring additional clean energy options. It is critical that we preserve our clean energy policies and increase the renewable portfolio standard in an open market to ensure that belief becomes reality.
Additionally, Nevada can join those states that are extending the benefits of clean energy to neighborhoods through community solar projects that allow businesses, nonprofits, churches, and residents to share in the benefits of mid-size solar arrays.
As advocates for good jobs and healthy neighborhoods, we thank the members of the Nevada Legislature for their continued work in bringing the benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency to the state, and we urge you to continue that record of success and leadership.
Rudy Zamora, State Director, Chispa Nevada
Rev. Dr. Ralph E. Williamson, President, Faith Organizing Alliance
Andy Maggi, Executive Director, Nevada Conservation League
Sondra Cosgrove, President, League of Women Voters of Nevada
Jessica Scott, Regional Director, Vote Solar
Vida Lin, President, Asian Community Development Council
Elspeth DiMarzio, Campaign Representative, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign
Annette Magnus, Executive Director, Institute for a Progressive Nevada
Dr. Mary House, CEO, Caring Helping, and Restoring Lives
Jerry Holliday, President, Uplift Foundation
Tom Polikalas, Nevada Representative, SWEEP