Nevada PUC joins West Coast regulators on climate change

solar panels
A 250-MW solar project on the Moapa Indian River Reservation in southern Nevada. (Photo from First Solar.)
solar panels
A 250-MW solar project on the Moapa Indian River Reservation in southern Nevada. (Photo from First Solar.)

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) has agreed to join utility commissions in California, Oregon, and Washington in regional work to address climate change. 

On Tuesday, the PUCN signed an agreement to join the California Public Utilities Commission, the Oregon Public Utilities Commission, and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to cooperate to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Those three Commissions originally signed the Joint Action Framework over ten years ago, with the goal of sharing information and best practices to reduce carbon pollution and expand the development of low-carbon technologies in the energy industry.

“The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada is excited to join the other Western Commissions in a cooperative effort to promote deployment of cost-effective, reliable and clean energy resources and infrastructure, while recognizing the unique approach of each state to addressing these difficult challenges,” PUCN Chairwoman Ann Pongracz said.

At its July 31 meeting, the PUCN unanimously agreed to become a signatory to the Western public utility Commissions’ Joint Action Framework on Climate Change.

During the Nevada Legislature several laws passed calling for the reduction of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and increasing renewable energy development, with the goal of achieving zero-emission energy production by 2050. Gov. Steve Sisolak also added Nevada to the U.S Climate Alliance in March, a bipartisan coalition of 25 states and territories committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Conversationalist praised the PUCN for joining the agreement. 

Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Andy Maggi called the agreement part of a  “forward-thinking vision” to fight climate change. 

“Nevada continues to demonstrate its clean energy leadership through joining this framework, which will allow our state to collaborate with our neighbors to address climate change,” wrote Maggi in a statement. “Climate change is an imminent threat on Nevada’s environment, people and way of life. We need strong leaders who will take prompt action to tackle this crisis and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and we are thankful for the forward-thinking vision of Governor Sisolak, his administration, and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. In the absence of federal action on climate, Nevada must continue to lead.”

The Western Resource Advocates also applauded the announcement.

“The Nevada commission’s decision to join this regional alliance will help our state reach the ambitious goals set earlier this year in legislation and when Governor Sisolak signed Nevada on to the U.S. Climate Alliance,” said Cameron Dyer, Western Resource Advocates’ staff attorney in Carson City. “This interstate collaboration will help inform Nevada decision makers as they consider joining an expanded regional energy market, which would provide a means to deliver the lowest-cost renewable energy from across the region to our homes and businesses.”

The Joint Action Framework is made up of a list of action items, including ways to ensure regional energy markets maximize benefits to taxpayers, review best practices to identify and secure cost-effective conservation, and explore increasing use of low-carbon energy capacity resources to lower customers’ costs and improve system reliability.

Jeniffer Solis
Reporter | Jeniffer was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating in 2017 with a B.A in Journalism and Media Studies. While at UNLV she was a senior staff writer for the student newspaper, the UNLV Scarlet and Gray Free Press, and a news reporter for KUNV 91.5 FM, covering everything from the Route 91 shooting to UNLV housing. She has also contributed to the UNLV News Center and worked as a production engineer for several KUNV broadcasts before joining the Nevada Current. She’s an Aries.

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