The vacancy has drawn intense interest from environmental groups, as slim Democratic majorities in Congress likely mean that FERC may end up implementing many of Biden’s climate change policies.
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In an order Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Miranda Du wrote that environmental groups did not meet the legal threshold for issuing an injunction to stop preliminary mine work, digging and trenching.
“Starting today, we are also going to take the innovative and pragmatic step of actively measuring our carbon footprint so we can use this real time information to understand our actual impact,” Sisolak said in a statement to The Nevada Independent. “This is how we fight climate change and protect our state.”
A business taking electric service from the state’s primary electricity provider may not seem like news, but Resorts World isn’t being treated like most other electric customers. Instead, NV Energy and the casino are asking utility regulators to approve a unique market-based electricity supply deal aimed at ultimately powering the property with renewable energy.
Nevada is facing its worst drought in two decades. The dry conditions are important for the forecasts facing fire managers as they start planning for the warm summer months. This week’s Indy Environment newsletter looks at a recent media briefing on Great Basin fire risks.
Sponsored by Sen. Chris Brooks (D-Las Vegas), SB448 would expand the state’s transmission infrastructure in line with NV Energy’s multibillion-dollar Greenlink Nevada initiative, along with requiring a $100 million investment in electric vehicle charging stations, expanding rooftop solar to multi-tenant and commercial buildings and proposing a host of other measures aimed at lowering carbon emissions and building up renewable energy infrastructure.
Beyond the two themes of transmission and electrification of transportation, the bill makes a host of other energy policy related changes, including expansion of tax credit programs to energy storage facilities, allowing multi-family or commercial buildings to use the state’s rooftop solar net metering program and reopening a 2013 economic development rate rider program aimed at giving new large businesses a discount on energy costs.
The state’s Green Building Tax Abatements program is still in heavy use — a state report estimated more than $25 million in property taxes were abated through the 2020 fiscal year, with $105 million in property taxes abated since 2010. State budget analysts say that more than 160 buildings in the state — from Park MGM, Wynn/Encore and even the T-Mobile Arena — enjoy partial property tax abatements through the program.
That axiom is a favorite of energy efficiency advocates, who say the concept of not only increasing electric supply but also decreasing demand through better insulation, more efficient air conditioners or heating systems, and other projects will help reduce strain on the state’s electric grid and help consumers save money on their power bills.
That’s why Watts is sponsoring AB383, which was heard Tuesday in the Assembly Growth and Infrastructure Committee. The bill would set minimum energy efficiency levels for certain residential and commercial appliances and products, ranging from water coolers and air purifiers, to commercial fryers and ovens.
Watts’s AB349 aims to close loopholes in the state Emissions Inspection System that allowed the increase in the amount of vehicles registered as “classic,” and implement a financial incentive to replace older polluting vehicles with “cleaner” transportation. The ultimate goal is to reduce pollution in the state, which contributes to climate change and poor health.
That’s why Democratic lawmakers, led by Sen. Chris Brooks (D-Las Vegas), are preparing to introduce a substantial energy policy bill in the 2021 Legislature that would mark one of the state’s largest investments in electric vehicle infrastructure — requiring NV Energy to spend $100 million over the next three years to construct charging stations throughout the state.
But 2020 wasn’t an anomaly. Issues of grid management and resource adequacy — having enough power to meet demand, the same issue that befell California last year and Texas this year — aren’t going away anytime soon. The future for the planet is an increase in extreme weather events, and Nevada is in the bullseye of states most likely to experience massive temperature swings and the full effects of climate change.
But out of more than $17.6 million in loans granted through the program, the Office of Energy leadership says that only $3.7 million of that initial sum has been paid back, with $11.8 million considered “bad debt” and written off by the state as of Tuesday. There are five loans — cumulatively worth about $2 million — that are still being actively paid off.
More than two months later, NV Energy is releasing more information about the decision-making process that led to the request for power conservation, as well as data that may help state utility regulators determine whether the conservation request was a one-time unusual request or a sign that the utility needs to do more to ensure resource adequacy as climate change and other factors drive more strain on the system.
Members of the Public Utilities Commission voted 2-0 to approve the stipulation agreement on Wednesday, the final stamp of approval before the utility company can begin processing the bill credit for customers (Commissioner Tammy Cordova abstained, as she worked on the docket in her previous role as a regulatory attorney for the commission).
Members of the Interim Legislative Committee on Energy voted Wednesday to move forward with a potential constitutional amendment broadening existing, narrow provisions on fuel taxes to instead allow for those tax dollars to fund the broader category of “transportation infrastructure.”
The state’s Public Utilities Commission made the decision during its meeting Wednesday, resulting in the largest ever one-time bill credit given by the utility to its customers. Commissioners wrote in the published order that the utility should return the overearnings collected over the last two years to customers as soon as practical, in part to help “alleviate some of the financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.”