(Updated on June 16, 2017)
Governor Brian Sandoval waited until the very last minute to decide, but ultimately vetoed AB 206, a bill that would have raised Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 40% by 2030. The current RPS is 25% by 2025.
On June 3rd, AB 206 passed the final hurdle in the legislature with bipartisan support. Doing so sent a clear message that Nevada lawmakers want the state to benefit from cleaner air and more renewable energy jobs.
Raising the RPS would also help Nevada diversify its electricity portfolio, which is extremely heavy on natural gas, making residents vulnerable to shortages and price spikes.
All eyes were on the Silver State this year as the legislature debated and ultimately passed 11 bills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector. Despite the RPS veto, 9 of those bills were signed into law. They will help the state advance electric vehicles, boost the adoption of rooftop solar, and accelerate energy efficiency efforts. These new laws are significant wins for the state and should be celebrated. But Governor Sandoval’s veto of the 40% RPS bill will prevent the state from unleashing its full economic development potential.
Kudos to Assemblyman Chris Brooks for spearheading this bill and to UCS members for sending action alerts to their representatives to support Nevada’s acceleration towards a cleaner energy future. Tonight’s veto is certainly a blow, but I have no doubt that Nevada will be motivated to revisit this issue in the near future. The state’s public support for renewables continues to grow, and will soon be hard to ignore.