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December 15, 2018

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Democrats calling for higher Nevada renewable energy standard

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Crescent Dunes, a thermal solar plant near Tonopah, is the world’s first utility-scale facility to feature advanced molten salt power tower energy storage capabilities.

Democrats are going to introduce a higher renewable energy standard in the 2019 legislative session rather than wait until 2020 for a ballot measure to clear another round of voting.

Nevada’s renewable portfolio standard requires at least 25 percent of the state’s energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2025.

State Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson said he plans to introduce a bill that may be as high as 100 percent renewables by 2050.

Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed a 2017 bill calling for a 40 percent standard by 2030, citing uncertainty should the state choose to restructure its energy market. The bill became Ballot Question 6, calling for 50 percent renewables by 2030 and passing with more than 59 percent of the vote. It would have to pass again in 2020 to become law.

“We don’t need to wait,” Atkinson said.

Katie Robbins, campaign manager of Nevadans for a Clean Energy Future and the YES on 6 initiative, said in a statement that the Legislature shouldn’t wait.

“We’re prepared to fight and win again in two years, but we shouldn’t have to,” she said. “The people of Nevada have made a clear statement about the future they want, and they should not have to wait for it to become a reality. Legislative leaders and our governor-elect have all recognized the need to guarantee a cleaner, healthier future. We look forward to working with them, our coalition partners, and the hundreds of thousands of Nevadans we heard from throughout this campaign to pass legislation well before voters go back to the polls.”

Republicans are willing to discuss a higher standard, said newly elected Republican Assemblyman Tom Roberts, co-deputy minority leader.

“It’s going to be up for discussion this session,” he said. “I’d be definitely willing to look at it because it seems that our constituents want it.”

GOP Sen. Joe Hardy, assistant minority leader, also said a discussion on raising the standard was coming this session.

“We are still trying to figure out how to implement the energy that’s going to be more renewable than it has in the past, with the instruction from our people,” he said. “That’s what we have to do.”

The Legislature convenes in February for its biennial session. Democrats will control the governor’s office and the Legislature. They will have a super-majority in the Assembly.