by Scott Cramer
Clean energy is usually never a central focus of the ballot but was a high priority for voters this election. Here’s a recap of the most critical results affecting renewable energy.
Nevada voters say “yes” to a 50 percent RPS, “no” to retail competition
Question 6 increased the states renewable portfolio standards (RPS) mandating Nevadans to use 50 percent renewable energy by the year 2030.
The initiative defined renewable energy to include sources such as solar, geothermal, wind, biomass and hydroelectric. Advocates say this will generate millions of dollars in economic activity and create thousands of jobs in Nevada. Question 6 requires an increased RPS each year until reaching 50 percent in 2030. Casino’s and data centers have already started investing heavily in renewable energy in Nevada.
Question 3 was rejected yesterday. If passed it would have declared that Nevada’s electricity markets be open and competitive, although it was approved in 2016 it would have had to have been approved this election to become part of the Nevada Constitution. So what does this mean for Nevada? It would have allowed Nevadans to pick their own power provider by 2023, killing Nevada’s electric power monopoly. Many feared that large corporations such as casinos would have benefited far more than the average citizen.
Advocates say that if it had passed it would drive prices down and increase renewable energy choices. About $63 million was spent opposing Question 3, making it the highest amount of money spent in the history of Nevada politics.
Arizona rejects 50 percent RPS
Unlike Nevada, Arizona rejected Proposition 127 on Tuesday, an amendment that would have required 50 percent of the electricity to come from renewable energy. Arizona Public Service (APS) spent a large sum to oppose the measure. Opponents say Prop 127 would increase electric bills by forcing utilities to build solar and wind plants, supporters disputed, saying renewable energy is now competitive with fossil fuels.
So how would Prop 127 affect Arizonans? APS alleged it would increase the average electricity bill by $1,000 a year, but this is just guesswork, they spent over $22 million on the campaign against clean energy. Arizona is the sunniest state in the country and has great potential for renewable, clean energy. The cost of electricity from solar and wind is now the same or less than fossil fuel power, and dropping fast. Clean energy would benefit all Arizonans, with lower costs, and a healthier future.
Although Prop 127 failed, Arizona is still working on a proposal to expand Arizona’s RPS to 80 percent by 2050.
Scott Cramer is President of Go Solar Group, a Nevada solar company.