Lawmakers debate green measures

CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers, facing a June 1 adjournment, rushed Thursday to complete work on “green energy” legislation which has become one of the major initiatives of the 2009 session.

The Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee debated bills that were part of a comprehensive energy package.

SB395, proposed by Gov. Jim Gibbons, would encourage renewable energy development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and require state buildings to adopt energy and water efficiency standards.

The changes proposed in the bill would make it easier for renewable energy companies to come to Nevada by allowing more utility companies to sidestep part of a lengthy permitting process.

“It usually takes at least six months to a year to go through the process,” said Hatice Gecol, director of the Nevada State Office of Energy. “This will help streamline the permitting process.”

The bill originally included incentives for renewable energy producers that would have abated property taxes of those companies for 10 years. The abatements were dropped from the measure.

Another bill, AB522 introduced by Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas includes less generous tax abatements.

SB395 also requires that at least 25 percent of electricity sold to consumers by energy companies be from renewable sources by 2025 and requires car dealers to disclose the amount of carbon dioxide starting with 2012 models.

The committee also heard SB188 which would encourage development of solar hot water heating systems. Project participants could get rebates or portfolio energy credits from the state Public Utilities Commission.

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