Friday, March 31, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Registered Nevada voters from minority communities overwhelmingly support clean energy policies, according to a new study.
Commissioned by Chispa Nevada and the Faith Organizing Alliance, the telephone survey asked 550 Hispanic, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders what they thought of three bills being considered by the Nevada Legislature.
Assembly Bill 206 would raise the state's renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030, with a goal of 80 percent by 2040. Assembly Bill 223 would provide new and extended energy-efficiency measures for small businesses, seniors and others on fixed incomes, as well as low-income homeowners and renters. Senate Bill 150 would provide a comprehensive structure for energy-efficiency programs offered by the state of Nevada and electric utilities.
The survey’s key findings include:
• 91 percent of those polled supported more energy efficiency, requiring utilities such as NV Energy to increase access to energy-efficiency programs that help renters, homeowners and small businesses decrease their monthly electricity bill by saving energy.
• 84 percent support strengthened renewable-energy standards.
• 80 percent support community solar gardens, which would allow renters or those who cannot afford rooftop solar on their homes to buy into community solar gardens — shared solar power systems, often located on neighborhood building parking lots.
Additionally the minority voters in the study would likely support the legislators who back the clean-energy efforts.
“Latino families in Nevada have always understood the connection between a clean-energy economy and a healthier future for our community,” said Rudy Zamora, program director of Chispa Nevada, a Latino organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters. “If investing in clean energy and environmental protections will bring good jobs to our state, while combating climate change, I can’t imagine who would be against it.”
Rev. Leonard Jackson of the Faith Organizing Alliance in Las Vegas said that not only does clean energy help the environment, it also is financially important.
“Leaving a legacy of a cleaner, healthier community is important to the African-American community,” Jackson said. “Energy-efficiency programs, for example, can save the average family $1,000 a year in energy bills. Community solar gardens would allow low-income families to band together to access the promise of solar power. There’s very strong support for clean energy in the community.”
A RenewNV coalition study last year showed that almost three-quarters of Nevadans support policies that would increase use of clean energy in the state,.
The new survey was conducted by the Global Strategy Group from Feb. 28-March 9.