Nevada makes progress on clean energy; energy efficiency, not so much

Even before this year’s Legislature enacted new standards requiring that half the electricity in the state be generated by renewable resources by 2030, Nevada was making impressive strides in renewable energy generation.

Nevada has led the nation in per capita solar power jobs since 2014. And Nevada solar power generation has increased more than 2,500 percent since 2009, the fourth largest capacity increase in the nation.

But Nevada ranks “50th out of 50 in improvements to energy efficiency” over that same ten year period, according to a report released Thursday.

 

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“The task of moving to 100 percent clean, renewable energy can be made dramatically cheaper and easier by reducing the amount of energy wasted in inefficient buildings, cars and equipment,” according to Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future. The report is a joint project of the Frontier Group and the Environment America Research and Policy Center, and was released in Nevada by the Environment Nevada Research & Policy Center.

The nation as a whole has made significant progress in energy efficiency, as evidenced by an 8 percent per capital energy use since 2007, the report said.

Stronger fuel economy standards, more efficient building codes, and LED light bulbs are among the more familiar factors making the nation more energy efficient.

From 2009 through 2018,  Rhode Island led the nation in energy efficiency, roughly tripling the amount of energy saved from the equivalent of 1 percent of total energy consumption to 3 percent.

Nevada went in a different direction, saving about seven-tenths of a percent less through energy efficiency over the decade.

“Nevada has seen real progress on clean energy and has been a leader on solar energy” said Levi Kamolnick from Environment Nevada Research & Policy Center, in a release announcing the report. “But, we have to make the kind of investments needed to fulfill our potential and meet our energy needs with clean renewable energy.”

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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