The Nevada State Legislature closed its 79th session this month having passed several bills that support growth and development of the state’s renewable energy industry. Perhaps the most notable bill of the group was Assembly Bill 405, which revises solar net metering rates and is expected to revive the state’s rooftop solar industry. In all, the new green legislation builds upon years of renewable energy development and policy in Nevada, which has made significant strides in weaning itself off coal and increasing production of renewable sources of energy, particularly solar and geothermal.
A dozen years ago, 7.4 percent of Nevada’s electricity was generated from renewable energy sources. Since then, the amount of green energy production in the state has nearly tripled, and last year renewable energy sources accounted for 21.6 percent of total production. The largest strides in clean energy production came in geothermal and solar power. Since 2006, geothermal electricity production has grown by 79 percent, and the 3.8 million megawatt-hours produced in Nevada last year was the second-most in the country. Solar energy production in the state surged from none a decade ago to 2.5 million megawatt-hours last year, the fourthmost solar energy production in the nation. Meanwhile, coal’s share of energy production has fallen by more than half over the same time period, and it will shrink further with the recent closure of the Reid Gardner Generating Station outside Las Vegas. Notably, 2016 marked the first year that Nevada generated more energy from the sun than from coal. In all, Nevada produced the 17th-highest proportion of renewable power in the United States, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
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