Nevada on Friday passed a bill that would require the state to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030 and aim for 100% carbon-free resources by 2050.
Senate Bill 358 passed the Senate unanimously on Friday after passing the state Assembly unanimously last Tuesday. Nevada voters passed a ballot initiative during midterms which would have put the state under the same requirements, but the initiative would have had to pass again in 2020.
Current state law, which held Nevada to a 25% by 2025 renewable portfolio standard (RPS) only includes the state's monopoly utility NV Energy, but the bill will include all electricity providers, including electric cooperatives and retail power marketers.
Nevada on Friday joined a growing number of states that are increasing their mandated renewables generation targets and aiming for more ambitious long term goals.
NV Energy supports the bill, and has plans to add over 1 GW of solar and 100 MW of battery storage to its generation mix, ultimately doubling its renewables by 2023. But more large companies in the state, including MGM and Caesars Palace, are pulling out of the state's monopoly utility, prompting legislators to add a provision that includes all electricity providers, once those providers reach 1 million MWh.
Currently, retail providers Silver State Energy Association and Coral Power, LLC are the only companies besides NV Energy that meet that threshold, though Tenaska generates 970,288 MWh and co-ops as a whole generate over 1.9 million MWh.
Renewables make up over 20% of the state's generation mix, including hydropower, which makes up 3.3%. Solar dominates renewables generation at 50.05%, followed by geothermal power which makes up 41.34%.
Specifically, the only hydropower that counts under the bill is hydro that was operating in the state before 1997, to avoid out of state generators getting renewable energy credits on a short term basis.
Natural gas currently makes up almost 70% of the state's net generation, and the state's last remaining coal plant, which makes up 9% of its electric power, is set to retire in 2025.
Another provision in the bill phases out energy efficiency credits for customers by 2025, but until then customers can use those as part of their RPS requirements.
In 2017, the state legislature passed a 40% by 2030 RPS that was ultimately vetoed by the former Gov. Brian Sandoval, R. Current Gov. Steve Sisolak, D, committed Nevada to the U.S. Climate Alliance in March and is expected to sign the bill.
The bill has the support of labor, power providers, businesses and environmentalists in the state.