Assemblywoman Cohen Introduces Responsible Energy Planning Bill to Support State Climate Strategy
CARSON CITY — Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen (D-29) introduced the Responsible Energy Planning bill (AB380) today. This bill, which has already garnered support from local clean energy and business advocates, would require Nevada’s gas utilities to avoid wasteful and unnecessary gas spending and consider clean energy alternatives that meet the state’s goals of 100 percent clean power and zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“Whether you look to the latest science, Governor Sisolak’s climate strategy, or modeling that predicts our state’s energy needs, it’s clear Nevada needs to plan for a future where more residents and businesses rely on local solar and geothermal power rather than fossil fuels imported from other states,” said Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen. “Responsible energy planning isn’t just a necessity, it’s an unparalleled opportunity to create good jobs, diversify our economy, and lead the nation in renewable energy innovation. In a legislative session full of economic challenges and tough choices, this one is easy: let’s make sure we’re getting the best returns on our energy investments in the years to come.”
With a responsible energy planning process in place, gas utilities would need to show that their infrastructure spending plans will keep energy affordable and safe as Nevadans move toward powering their homes and businesses with clean electricity rather than fossil fuels. Benefits of this approach include:
- Making smart investments: Over the next few decades, gas use will decline as Nevada moves toward local solar and geothermal resources to heat buildings. This means we need to carefully scrutinize gas utility investment proposals to make sure they provide more benefits than costs and carefully examine alternatives.
- Defending public health: The bill would require utilities to consider the health and climate impacts of “natural” gas, which is made of methane, a fossil fuel, and can lead to dangerous levels of indoor air pollution as well as increases in smog and wildfires.
- Creating local clean energy jobs: By investing in Nevada’s world-class solar and geothermal energy resources instead of importing fossil fuels, utilities can help diversify the state’s economy and create jobs by supporting the growing renewable energy sectors.
“More and more Nevadans are relying on clean electricity rather than polluting fossil fuels, and our gas utilities need to recognize that,” said Reno-based NRDC Senior Scientist Dylan Sullivan. “New gas pipelines last for decades, and so do the construction and maintenance costs that end up on our monthly utility bills. So we’ve got to ask: how can our gas utilities manage this transition in a way that keeps our bills reasonable, our air clean, and our economy strong? Responsible energy planning is the answer to this question, ensuring that the money we pay our utilities every month goes toward the maintenance and growth of an affordable, reliable energy system that protects our public health and climate.”
“Local clean energy and energy efficiency businesses will play a critical role in rebuilding Nevada’s economy,” said E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) Mountain West Advocate Susan Nedell. “30,000 Nevadans already work in the clean energy sector, and a more predictable and transparent energy planning process will give employers and investors the confidence to make forward-looking plans of their own. That means more investments in local businesses, more green jobs, and more opportunities for Nevadans of all ages to get the training they need to join the clean energy workforce.”
“To meet our state’s climate goals and significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, Nevada must shift away from imported, outdated, and dirty energy sources like oil, coal, and natural gas,” said Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg. “The bulk of Nevada’s current energy sources are both inconsistent with our climate goals and unfair to Nevadans who will bear the health and environmental costs for years into the future. Assemblywoman Cohen’s Responsible Energy Planning legislation will change that. This bill will encourage investments that are focused on building a long-term, renewable, and home-grown energy system that puts us on track to achieve our climate goals at a price Nevadans can afford.”
“More and more Nevadans are exploring clean energy options to power their homes and businesses in a way that keeps the air clean, both inside and outside,” said Sierra Club Organizer Jasmine Vazin. “Responsible energy planning is about acknowledging that our energy system is already changing, making sure safety and affordability remain top priorities, and meeting our state climate goals.”
After introduction, AB380 was referred to the Committee on Growth and Infrastructure.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.
As the political voice of Nevada’s conservation community, the Nevada Conservation League (NCL) works to protect our climate, air, water, land, and health by translating conservation values into political and policy priorities that we actively promote so that all of Nevada’s communities can thrive. Follow us on Twitter at @NVConservation.
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.8 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action.