Energy policy, the make or break for Nevada's economy

A comprehensive guide for responsible and sound energy policy

  • Wednesday, June 15, 2016

By James Taylor

Executive Summary 

Energy policy is arguably the most important factor affecting the strength of Nevada’s economy. Abundant and affordable energy directly lowers consumer energy bills — but lower energy costs also reduce production and operating costs that factor into virtually all goods and services traded in our economy.

Rising energy costs, by contrast, bring the economic pain of a tax hike to virtually every corner of the state.

This Nevada Energy Policy Guide is designed to give policymakers important information necessary to cultivate sustainable economic growth through wise energy policy. This Guide also recognizes important environmental concerns tied to Nevada energy policy. Rather than accepting at face value the environmental claims of industry groups competing for energy-market share, this Guide offers a full-spectrum assessment of environmental impacts associated with competing power sources. These real-world environmental impacts — rather than the self-serving claims of various energy industry sectors — should guide policymakers in accounting for environmental impacts of competing power sources.

Key policy proposals included in this guide focus on the three main culprits for recently increasing energy prices:

Utility Monopolies:

More than a dozen states have abandoned the government-enforced utility structure and given consumers more freedom of choice regarding their electric providers. In these states, electricity prices are rising at a slower pace than in states without such freedom of choice. Nevada should put an end to the government-sanctioned utility monopolies, thus empowering ratepayers.

Rooftop solar’ net-metering rates:

Nevada policymakers can give solar power producers and consumers greater freedom of choice by allowing rooftop solar power producers to sell electricity to whomever they like, at whatever prices they can negotiate, while simultaneously eliminating requirements for any utilities or consumers to purchase such power if they choose not to. Short of moving rooftop solar into a free market with competing traditional power suppliers, Nevada policymakers should at least hold the line against rooftop solar power producers receiving more than wholesale market prices for the power that utilities are required to purchase from rooftop solar equipment owners.

Renewable Portfolio Standards:

Nevada’s existing renewable power mandate promotes expensive energy sources that raise prices, kill jobs and reduce Nevada living standards. Moreover, a full-spectrum environmental impact analysis shows Nevada’s existing renewable power mandate promotes some environmentally destructive energy sources at the expense of much greener options. Nevadans deserve better policy than this. Following the example of numerous other states, Nevada can pursue environmentally friendly power options, while maintaining a strong a vibrant economy, by eliminating the current standards for green-energy.

 

Download the full study: Download file Analysis: A Guide to Energy Policy.