Based on compliance reports the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada has received, across all providers, about 20% of power is currently generated by renewable resources, and filings show Nevada's investor-owned utility and other power providers have plans to reach the state's ambitious RPS of 50% by 2030, according to the report released Jan. 28.
"Because transportation and electricity generation are Nevada's two largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, GOE's program work in 2021 underscored our focus on transportation electrification and reaching the state's legislatively required renewable portfolio standard," GOE Director David Bobzien said in a statement Jan. 28. "While electricity generated from renewable resources currently accounts for about 25% of the state's electricity, we continue to collaborate with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, electricity providers, the renewable energy industry and conservation organizations to ensure Nevada reaches our target of 50% clean energy by 2030."
The state's RPS, enacted in 1997 and last modified in 2019, requires an increase in renewable energy, starting with 22% in 2020 and increasing to 50% by 2030. The increase in renewables will reduce GHG emissions and help the state reach its goal of 100% carbon-free power by 2050.
The state added 1.332 GW of renewable capacity in 2021 as part of the Renewable Energy Tax Abatement program, for a total renewable capacity of 6.117 GW, according to the report.
The RETA program awards partial sales and use tax and partial property-tax abatements to eligible renewable energy facilities, which increase Nevada's tax revenue and create jobs in a growing industry. Eligible projects must employ at least 50% Nevada workers, pay 175% of Nevada's average wage during construction, and offer health care benefits to workers and their dependents.
Since its adoption in 2010, the GOE has approved 60 projects, including large-scale solar PV, solar thermal, biomass, geothermal and wind projects throughout the state, according to the report. Projects granted abatements in 2021 include:
"Nevada does not produce fossil fuels of any significant amount, and gasoline, jet fuel and natural gas for electricity or direct use must be imported," according to the report. "Transitioning to domestically produced renewable resources and electrified transportation can provide cost savings to Nevada residents and businesses, while reducing GHG emissions. About 86% of the fuel for energy that Nevada consumes comes from outside the state."
Phasing out coal plants
Currently, more than two-thirds of the state's electricity is produced by natural gas-fired power plants, with renewables covering most of the remaining generation, according to the report. Nevada continues to phase out its remaining coal power plants, which provide less than 10% of produced electricity.
"Nevada has seen a significant increase in capturing its abundant renewable energy resources such as solar and geothermal," according to the report. "Renewable energy production continues to grow, powering Nevada homes and business and serves to diversify the state's economy by exporting solar and geothermal to neighboring states. Nevada has more than tripled its renewable energy production since 2011."