Building Nevada’s Renewable Energy Future

Special advertising supplement to the Reno News & Review.

Nevada has been called the “Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.” As such, we must lead the way in policies that benefit our state and the rest of the world. This legislative session, Assembly Democrats are proposing legislation to take advantage of our state’s renewable energy resources. While we strive to make Nevada a leader in the world in renewable energy, we’re also working to ensure all Nevadans benefit from our rich resources.

One piece of legislation I’m sponsoring is Assembly Bill 448 to make much-needed updates to our renewable incentives programs. The measure would facilitate an increase in the number of solar systems installed by increasing the rebates available for solar projects. The bill sets long-term targets for the solar, wind and small hydro programs and will make the programs easier to use.

A daunting barrier to installing renewable energy systems for homeowners is the large upfront costs. Another bill I’m sponsoring, AB 456, would create a low-interest rate loan pool homeowners could borrow against for the creation and implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Common forms of installation of renewable energy systems systems are so-called Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) where a third party installs, owns and operates a system and rents it to a user. The PPA model allows residents and businesses to gain the benefits of the power without up-front costs. The Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUCN) recently ruled that such third-party PPAs should not be considered utilities for purposes of regulation. AB 186, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, would clarify the definition of “public utility” and “utility” to provide long-term assurance in statute that Nevada welcomes these arrangements for expanding renewable energy.

Ensuring Nevadans have a voice determining where our power comes from, whether from renewables, natural gas or coal, is one of my legislative priorities this session. AB 402, would facilitate open discussion in energy planning by allowing non-profit public advocacy groups to participate in the PUCN’s integrated resource planning.

Perhaps the most sweeping energy bill this session is AB 522, sponsored by the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee. Currently, renewable energy policy formulation and implementation is scattered across task forces, commissions, committees and agencies. AB 522 would create a consolidated approach to energy policy: the Nevada Energy Commission. The commission would create renewable energy zones within the state, manage rebates and incentives for renewable energy projects, and work to drive down instate energy costs for consumers while we export energy to surrounding states.

There is a lot to be accomplished if we’re to expand renewable energy in a manner that benefits Nevadans. With changing consciousness as to the need for greenhouse gas reduction at the regional, national and global levels, it is clear this is the moment when Nevada has to step up and prepare for a boom in our renewable energy economy. This is our state’s time, our Alaskan pipeline, our California Gold Rush. We must take this opportunity to create a prosperous future for Nevada.

To learn more about energy legislation and how you can be involved in the process visit

Special advertising supplement to the Reno News & Review.