Clean energy groups outline agenda for Nevada

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Sondra Cosgrove is president of the League of Women Voters of Nevada.

A clean energy industry association and a group closely aligned with former Sen. Harry Reid have a few energy ideas for Nevada’s next governor, whoever it is.

A “Clean Energy Roadmap” released Thursday by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and the Clean Energy Project (CEP) lists a half-dozen proposals designed “to harness the economic power of clean energy to grow Nevada’s economy and create high quality jobs.”

Some of the ideas are familiar, such as increasing the amount of energy providers must obtain from renewable sources. A measure to increase the Nevada’s “renewable portfolio standard” from its current 25 percent by 2025 to 50 percent by 2030 will be on the ballot in November.

Other AEE/CEP recommendations are less familiar with the public. A “community solar program,” for instance, would allow renters, low-income people and others who can’t install solar panels to buy solar power from local sources. Several states have authorized – and utilities in those states established – community solar programs. Nevada is not one of them.

Question 3, an amendment to the state constitution to allow customers to bypass NVEnergy and purchase power from competitors, has pitted Nevada corporations against each other in a heavily financed campaign to win votes in November. The amendment passed overwhelmingly in 2016, but constitutional amendments must be approved twice, and this time NVEnergy is fighting back against large power consumers – primarily Switch and Sands – who back the amendment.

“Regardless of the choice Nevada voters make this fall,” on Question 3, “community solar should be part of the next administration’s clean energy agenda,” says the AEE/CEP “Roadmap.”

The groups also call for Nevada to take steps to establish energy storage requirements, increase the use of electric transportation, modernize the electric grid, and expand demand-side rewards for energy efficiency.

AEE, whose board of directors includes executives from energy companies as well as “sustainability” executives from Apple and Microsoft, lobbies for “advanced energy” policy at the federal level and in 27 states.

CEP’s board includes former Reid staffer and strategist Susan McCue, former Nevada PUC General Counsel and former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Jon Wellinghoff, and long-time political adviser and Reid backer Sig Rogich. CEP has also been a sponsor of the annual Clean Energy Summit Reid has hosted in Las Vegas for the last several years.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.

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