The Nevada Legislature passed a broadly discussed bill that will see the state’s renewable energy target grow to 40% by 2030. The legislative proposal was contested continuously by Nevada’s casino resorts.
The bill was passed shortly before the planned closure of the state’s legislative session. Senate members voted in the affirmative on Monday afternoon. The piece gained the necessary support in the Assembly afterwards.
Generally speaking, AB 206 aims to increase Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and expand investment in renewable energy. Under the bill, electricity providers will have to receive 40% of their energy from renewable resources. The move is hoped to generate billions of dollars in additional revenue to the state and to create thousands of new jobs, while reducing Nevada’s heavy dependence on natural gas.
Under the state’s current energy portfolio standard, renewable energy resources must account for 25% of electricity sales by 2025. According to information provided by the US Energy Information Administration, net electricity generation from wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal resources represented 20.3% of Nevada’s overall net electricity generation in 2015.
AB 206 took quite a while to be approved in the state Legislature and staunch opposition from the Nevada Resort Association (NRA) was among the main stumbling blocks before the legislative piece. Earlier this year, NRA members voiced concerns that the increased RPS could affect energy prices quite negatively.
The association’s refusal to support the effort surprised many. It was not long ago when advocates of the idea for clean energy supported several Nevada-based casinos in leaving NV Energy, known to be the state’s main electric utility.
In late 2015, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and MGM Resorts International filed applications to leave the electricity provider, throwing heavy criticism that NV Energy had generated huge profits, while increasing rates constantly. With multiple properties in the state, the three companies represented a huge portion of the utility’s full-year energy sales.
Here it is important to note that MGM Resorts was the only NRA member to actually back AB 206. The gambling operator had previously pointed out that the development of renewable energy sources had been something they had deemed important. In a recent statement to local media, the major company said that their support for the legislative piece was encouraged by its focus on progressive energy policy and its implementation across the state.
AB 206 originally called for the renewable energy target to be increased to 50% by 2040. However, the proposal did not gain much support in the Legislature, hence its reduction to 40% by 2030. Approved by both chambers of the state’s main legislative body, the bill now needs to be signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.