Nevada's green-energy mandates will cost the economy $1.7 billion, and 11,000 jobs in 2016

By Timothy J Considine, Ph.D.
  • Thursday, June 9, 2016

Executive Summary:

In Nevada, as well as 29 states and the District of Columbia, laws require that ever-growing percentages of the electricity you use must come from wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy.

Because those forms of energy are more costly and less efficient, state governments eager to be seen as “green” have had to make their use by utility companies mandatory.

Thus giving the utility companies — and you — no choice.

“Renewable Portfolio Standards” are what these mandates are called.

To estimate the costs and benefits of renewable standards, this study develops models of electricity supply and demand for each state, using forecasts for coal and natural gas prices out to 2040 from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The results show that mandated renewable use in states’ energy portfolios have had, and will continue to have, a significant cost on the economy.

Because dependable and affordable energy is such a pivotal element in a state’s economy, standards that increase the cost of energy production have a widespread impact. 

Not only do renewable standards directly impact utility bills. Everything from job growth to business investment is also negatively affected by government’s diktat that everyone must turn to less dependable and more expensive energy production. 

While there are some marginal economic benefits to greater reliance on renewable energy, these benefits are overshadowed by the substantially more expensive cost of production.

Looking at Nevada specifically, the net cost of renewable standards are striking:

  • Energy prices are expected to climb by nearly 15 percent in 2016.
  • Employment growth will be reduced by more than 11,000 jobs in 2016 due to higher energy costs.
  • Economic growth will be reduced by more than $1.7 billion in 2016.

The impact of such renewable standards is clearly dramatic — draining vitality out of Nevadans’ efforts to fully recover from years of sluggish economic growth.

Eventually, the renewable energy market almost certainly will become more cost competitive. Until it does, however, steering energy production toward renewable sources prematurely substantially bleeds ratepayers, businesses and the state.

Read the full study: "Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards"


More information about the impact of Renewable Portfolio Standards, as well as policy solutions to the challenges facing Nevada’s energy market, will be available at our Energy Policy Luncheon on June 15th. Get details and RSVP information by clicking here.