A new report finds a positive future for renewable energy as the Nevada legislature anticipates votes on several pieces of energy legislation this week that would expand renewable power development in the state. The report, produced by the A Renewable America campaign, finds that recent cost declines of both solar and wind power, combined with long-term federal policy certainty, will spur new investment and job creation. It also found that expanding the state’s renewable portfolio standard could attract more than $3 billion in capital investment and would create the development of 3 gigawatts of in-state solar projects.
“As this report demonstrates, low-cost wind and solar power will continue to drive economic growth for Nevada’s economy,” said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Development. “As the developer of Spring Valley Wind, Nevada’s first commercial wind power project, which is providing clean power for 45,000 homes, we see excellent opportunities to harvest more of the state’s natural energy resources. Expanding the state’s renewable standard will ensure that local utilities buy more clean power and will also encourage the development of our state’s tremendous solar resources.”
The long-term extensions of the federal production and investment tax credits are projected to annually add an average of 555 jobs and attract an average of $57 million in new investment to the state through 2025. With one of the best solar resources in the nation, Nevada’s economy greatly benefited from the falling cost of solar power in recent years. Solar is now 85 percent less expensive than in 2009 – according to investment management firm Lazard – and the state’s solar industry employs more than 8,000 workers.
“Solar power development is a proven job creator,” said David Bobzien, Reno City Councilman. “One out of every 50 American jobs created last year was in the solar industry. With the right policies in place, Nevada can remain a solar industry leader.”
Nevada is home to more than 112 companies that develop or supply the wind and solar power industries. Several large corporations such as Apple, Patagonia, Walmart, and Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center also purchased in-state renewable power in recent years.
“Increasing Nevada’s renewable energy standard would demonstrate the state’s continuing commitment to be a clean energy pioneer in America. An increased standard would encourage investment and innovation, while hedging against rising fossil fuel costs and stabilizing rates for energy consumers,” said Casey Coffman, Regional Vice President of Sales for Sunworks Solar.
Nearby states such as California recently increased their renewable standard and Nevada already generates over 20 percent of the power produced in-state from renewables. Nationally, the US solar and wind industries employ more than 360,000 workers and expect continued growth in the upcoming years as both technologies are often the least-cost source of electricity.