Decision 2018: Nevada's Question 6, the Renewable Energy Standards Initiative, explained
Question 6 ultimately gives you the choice to decide where Nevada's energy of the future will come from.
A "yes" vote supports this initiative to require electric utilities to acquire 50% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030.
A "no" vote opposes this initiative, thus keeping the existing requirement that electric utilities acquire 25% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2025.
So is getting Nevada to 50% renewable energy by 2030 a reasonable goal?
Pro-side (Kyle Roerink, Communications Director for the 'Yes on 6' Campaign):
"This is absolutely a reasonable and doable goal. You're seeing states like Vermont shoot for 75% renewable. You are seeing states like Hawaii go for 100% standards. New York and New Jersey are at 50%... so what we are saying is, it is time for Nevada to get up to speed and get back to the top."
Con-side (Eugene Hoover, 'No on 6'):
Clearly, 50% is not attainable in the near future, and what we should be focusing on is continuing to bring down cost of electricity for the retail consumer -- not increasing it."
So what exactly is Nevada's current energy portfolio, according to the U.S. Energy Information and Administration?
- About 88% of the energy Nevada consumes comes from outside the state
- Nevada's largest generating plant uses high-efficiency natural gas combined-cycle technology and recycles three-fourths of the water it uses, minimizing the use of the state's scarce water resources. In 2016, 73% of the state's electricity generation came from natural gas
- Nevada ranked second in the nation in utility-scale net electricity generation from geothermal energy and fourth in utility-scale net generation from solar energy in 2016; 16.2% of Nevada’s utility-scale net electricity generation in 2016 came from those two sources
- Nevada's Energy Portfolio Standard requires that 25% of electricity sales come from renewable energy resources by 2025; in 2016, 21.6% of Nevada's utility-scale net electricity generation came from geothermal, solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric power sources
- In 2016, geothermal resources fueled more than 44% of Nevada's renewably sourced electricity generation and nearly 10% of Nevada's total net electricity generation, a larger share than in any other state
Nevada buys most of its energy from other states, and Question 6 gives the power to Nevada voters to weigh in on the timing and quantity of Nevada's transition to more renewable energy sourcing.
Eugene Hoover, 'No on 6', explains that natural gas is reliable and the rates for Nevadans energy right now is stable.
"Natural gas is our largest use of generating power in the state right now; currently, I think we should continue with that. It is very affordable for us and it is very affordable for the families across Nevada."
But Kyle Roerink, 'Yes on 6', says too much money is going out of our state when we could be building up Nevadans economy and renewable industry instead,
"We spend more than 700 million dollars a year on on fossil fuel resources that are fracked, mined, and drilled in other states and then shipped into Nevada and burned in our power plants. Time and time again we have seen that Nevadans want renewable energy; and the best part is, renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels."
The one thing both agreed on though, Nevada needs to be working renewable energy into the mix.
Here is a look at where Nevada representatives (those who got back to News 4-Fox 11) stand on Question 6:
- Jacky Rosen (D), U.S. Senate - Supports - " I’m voting yes on Question 6, because increasing renewable energy generation in Nevada will help diversify our economy, create good-paying jobs right here in our state, reduce carbon pollution, and protect our environment for future generations"
- Mark Amodei (R), U.S. Representative District 2 - No Opinion - “In my official capacity, I’m obviously focused on federal policy issues. Quite frankly, as a Member of Congress, there is no upside in me getting involved in initiatives that have nothing to do with federal policy. However, as a registered voter in Nevada, I will be doing my homework on these issues, just like everyone else, and decide how I’m going to vote – but I have not done that yet as I’m focused on the federal issues right now.”
- Clint Koble (D), U.S. Representative District 2- No Opinion -No Statement
- Steve Sisolak (D), Governor - Supports - "I am a strong supporter of Question 6 and believe we can and must go further. Nevada has an opportunity, right now, to become the leader in clean, renewable energy — which are some of the country’s fastest-growing sectors. As governor, I’ll be committed to getting Nevada there. Not only do renewable energy projects protect our resources and environment, they create good-paying jobs in our communities."
- Bob Beers (R), State Treasurer - Opposes -No Statement
- Catherine Byrne (D), State Controller - Supports - "We need to maximize our renewable energies. And we need to up our standards in Nevada and we have the capacity to do so. The last standard was created quite some time ago, and it is time for it to be updated."
- Ron Knecht (R), State Controller - Opposes -No Statement
- Ira Hansen (R), State Senate District 14 - Opposes - "This is exactly what they did in California which caused their energy prices to go skyhigh. It should be left up to the free market. I say to vote no."
- Tina Davis-Hersey (D), State Senate District 16 - Support - "I am in support of Question 6, the ballot initiative to increase Nevada's Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) to 50% by 2030. A recent study indicates that Reno is the fastest warming city in the nation, and that we must address climate change now. I don't believe the free market will voluntarily make the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, or at least not soon enough to make a difference. Yes on 6 will move us forward significantly in the fight to mitigate climate change. The things we love about Nevada - the breezy sunny days and wide open spaces that contain our solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal resources- can be utilized to increase our RPS, as well as creating good paying, long term jobs for engineers, installers, factory workers, and support staff. While our RPS has increased from 10.0% in 2006 to 21.78% in 2016, I believe we can do better for our environment and for Nevada."