Question 6 in Nevada Would Create Thousands of Jobs

New analysis finds that Question 6, which would require Nevada’s utilities to gradually increase the amount of electricity that comes from renewable sources to 50 percent by 2030, could support an additional 11,170 full-time jobs in 2030. This job growth will be spurred by new renewable energy development in the state, from sources like solar, geothermal, small hydro, and wind. These numbers represent direct jobs (e.g. solar installers), indirect jobs (e.g. jobs along the solar supply chain), and induced jobs (e.g. jobs created across the general economy due to spending by those in solar industry). These new clean energy jobs would generate $539 million in wages and $1.5 billion in economic activity in 2030.

Question 6 would guarantee Nevadans get 50 percent renewable energy no matter what happens to the electric industry’s structure. Another ballot measure, Question 3, would change the way power is sold in Nevada, by allowing customers to choose the company that packages and sells their electricity. That measure is silent on the percentage of Nevada’s electricity that must be generated from clean, renewable energy sources. This analysis shows how jobs and the state’s economy growth could grow if Nevadans approve Question 6 to increase the state’s RPS, regardless of whether Question 3 passes.

The two tables below show key results from the modeling.

Table 1: Employment impacts from a 50 percent RPS in Nevada
A strengthened RPS would create thousands of good clean energy jobs, with positive ripple effects throughout the economy. (Numbers rounded to the tens place.)
Table 2: Economic impacts from a 50 percent RPS in Nevada
A strengthened RPS would generate millions of dollars in wages and increase economic output. (Numbers rounded to nearest million.)

Results: More Jobs with Less Pollution

Our modeling shows that a 50 percent renewable standard would mean not only a cleaner and healthier future, but a stronger economy for Nevada.

ICF’s power sector modeling also found that Nevada can meet a 50 percent renewable energy standard in a manner that would:

  • Drive 3.85 gigawatts of new solar development in the state by 2030, which could power 800,000 Nevada homes for a year.
  • Reduce Nevada’s carbon footprint. Compared to a more fossil-fuel-based future, annual power plant carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are 13 percent lower in 2030.
  • Reduce harmful air pollution from the state’s power plants. By 2030, Nevada would see cleaner and healthier air, with nitrogen oxides (NOX) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from the state’s power sector falling by 53 and 74 percent respectively, compared to 2017 levels. Less NOX and SO2 means less soot and smog, fewer asthma attacks, ER visits, hospitalizations, and even fewer premature deaths. In 2030, these reductions in harmful air pollution result in between $12.7 and $28.8 million in estimated health benefits for Nevadans.

This growth in solar across the state also means thousands of new jobs for the state’s clean energy industry, bringing more investment into local communities and growing the state’s economy. The boost in clean energy production fueled by the 50 percent RPS will spur more jobs for construction workers, solar manufacturers, installers, and engineers.

Question 6 Would Improve Air Quality, Support Jobs, and Strengthen Nevada’s Economy

The benefits of a local clean energy economy are clear and growing. Nevadans should embrace solar energy’s potential to spur economic growth and improve their air quality and public health while supporting thousands of good-paying jobs.

More Detail on the IMPLAN Model

NRDC, NextGen Policy Center, and GridLab worked with renowned energy firm ICF to analyze the effects of strengthening renewable energy standards across the Southwest, including Question 6’s 50 percent renewable energy standard. Our modeling was conducted in two steps.

First, using ICF’s Integrated Planning Model (IPM), which is also used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies, ICF modeled the impact of a 50 percent RPS on Nevada’s power sector based on assumptions provided by NRDC, NextGen Policy Center, and GridLab. This first step focused on what Question 6 would mean for the state’s future energy mix, future power additions, and energy costs for every day. (NRDC detailed the results of the electric sector modeling for Nevada here.)

From the projected power sector impacts of a stronger renewable future, ICF then used the IMPLAN model to forecast the economic and employment impacts of these power sector changes. IMPLAN is a widely used economic model that can forecast changes in state employment and economic activity from energy sector investments. This includes direct employment (jobs in the clean energy industry), indirect employment (jobs in upstream industries), and induced employment effects (jobs supported by the re-spending of wages earned in direct and indirect employment). The result of this second step shows that a stronger RPS in Nevada could support 11,170 full-time jobs and drive $1.5 billion in new economic activity in 2030.

About the Authors

Dylan Sullivan

Senior Scientist, Climate & Clean Energy Program

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