On April 22, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a new Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) bill into state law. The bill, known as SB 358, mandates 50% RPS by 2030 and 100% carbon-free by 2050. Gov. Sisolak signed the bill on Earth Day, and stated that he would have signed an even higher RPS level (60%) if it had been presented.
Several provisions in SB 358 will benefit IBEW 1245 members. The most notable aspect of the bill is that Hydro is now considered to be a qualified renewable energy resource in Nevada. This will help IBEW 1245-represented electric co-ops to meet the new qualifications without any big or costly changes to their current procurement process.
The new law also includes language to limit the use of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), and especially unbundled RECs. Clean energy experts have long criticized the use of RECs as “greenwashing,” and IBEW 1245 applauds Nevada for taking a forward-thinking approach on this issue.
Additionally, the bill encourages utility-built renewables in conjunction with a new version of the existing ‘Green Tariff’ program that NV Energy operates today. NV Energy has already filed an application to update the Green Tariff program with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN). The Green Tariff program permits NV Energy to build renewables and supply that energy to large customers directly, which can put our members employed by 1245 signatory contractors to work. Compared to the current program that is already in effect, the new version of the Green Tariff program makes it more likely that NV Energy will build these projects.
The beneficial end result of this bill is largely due to the fact that IBEW 1245, and our sister Local IBEW 396, actively participated in discussions with NV Energy and the environmental community, effectively out-maneuvering the opposition. There are still a few things we will need to polish during the next legislative session, but overall, this is a very good step forward Nevadans and the IBEW in Nevada.
–Hunter Stern, IBEW 1245 Assistant Business Manager