Advocates for clean-energy jobs, clean air and healthy communities thanked the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, the Nevada Legislature and Gov. Brian Sandoval for defending solar and other renewable energy at the regular consumer session of the PUCN.

Nevada lawmakers this year enacted nine new laws to revitalize the rooftop solar industry, bring energy efficiency to renters and low-income households, establish incentives for energy storage and electric vehicle charging stations, establish new financing avenues for clean energy and efficiency on commercial properties, and invest in clean energy before more polluting fossil fuels. The PUCN, as the primary regulator of Nevada utilities, will play a critical role in implementing many of these new laws.

Representatives from Chispa Nevada, Nevada Conservation League and the Sierra Club, among others, attended and thanked the three-member commission for defending rooftop solar and energy efficiency. They urged the commission to support Nevada’s clean-energy and energy efficiency jobs.

“Low-income and communities of color deserve to have access to clean air, policies that protect public health and fight climate change, good green jobs, and lower prices on their energy bills. Investing in clean energy technologies and energy efficiency help make all of these a reality,” said Rudy Zamora, director of Chispa Nevada, a Latino community organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters. “In 2017, the Nevada Legislature adopted new laws to expand Nevada’s leadership in the clean energy economy and make these benefits accessible to all Nevadans. We’re hopeful new programs will improve energy efficiency for low-income households. We are also thankful for the Public Utilities Commission’s work to protect energy rates and secure rooftop solar. We are also aware that there is more work to be done to ensure we expand clean energy opportunities to all of our communities and look forward to working with the utilities commission to realize Nevada’s full clean energy potential.”

“The Public Utilities Commission will play an important role in building Nevada’s clean energy economy, with energy efficiency, access to solar energy and development of renewables,” said Andy Maggi, director of the Nevada Conservation League. “The Nevada Conservation League appreciates the leadership of Public Utilities Commission Chairman Reynolds on rooftop solar and urges the commission to keep moving forward to develop Nevada’s clean energy economy.”

“It’s time for the PUCN and NV Energy to prioritize an early closure of the Valmy coal plant and set Nevada on a path toward clean energy leadership,” said Ana Boyd, organizing representative from the Sierra Club. “Nevada has vast solar, wind, and geothermal energy resources that we need to take advantage of to grow the state’s energy economy and keep our air and water safe from pollution.”

“Energy efficiency programs save consumers money,” said Tom Polikalas, Nevada representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “We encourage consumers to participate in the PUCN’s consumer sessions to learn how the PUCN will be implementing the excellent energy efficiency legislation that passed in the 2017 session. These bills should result in more comprehensive and more effective energy efficiency programs for its customers. The amount of energy savings achieved could increase by 50 percent or more.”

Advocate testimony comes as NV Energy, the utility serving most of Nevada’s electric needs, has proposed an increase of more than 30 percent in fixed-rate charges that all residential customers pay. These increased charges would disproportionately affect low or fixed-income consumers and penalize residents who have invested in energy efficiency or rooftop solar panels..

The PUCN will hear comments from the public again on Thursday during the General Consumer Session in Reno, at 6 p.m. in the Washoe County Commission Chambers, 1001 E. 9th St., Building A, Reno, Nevada.