In response to Josh T. Smith’s July 2 commentary, “Gov. Brian Sandoval did the right thing by vetoing stricter green portfolio standards for utilities”:
Assembly Bill 206 would have allowed us to protect the environment while strengthening and diversifying Nevada’s economy. The renewable portfolio standard increase outlined in AB 206 required Nevada to obtain 40 percent of its energy from renewables such as wind, solar and geothermal by 2040. Without these mandates, we will keep polluting our air and water by continuing to rely on out-of-state fracked gas, a dirty fossil fuel.
Nevada gets more than 70 percent of its energy from fracked gas even though we have viable clean energy alternatives that could grow our domestic economy and insulate us from the price increases that are a product of fossil fuel market volatility.
Because of cost reductions over the past several years, utility scale solar is now the cheapest way to meet the state’s energy needs and it will create clean energy jobs for Nevadans. Increasing Nevada’s renewable energy production is also key to attracting capital investment because many large tech companies take the ability to purchase renewable energy into account when making location decisions. Capital investment boosts our economy and creates jobs.
Contrary to Mr. Smith’s statements, nuclear energy is not a viable alternative to fossil fuels. The radioactive waste resulting from nuclear energy production damages the environment and human health. This is reflected in continued bipartisan opposition to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. While the Sierra Club has clearly stated the environmental risks of some biomass projects, this is not relevant to AB 206, as this bill did not include biomass in its renewable portfolio standards.
Mr. Smith speaks of renewable portfolio standards far too generally. The issue is Nevada, and Mr. Smith bases his critiques on proposals that have nothing to do with AB 206. Gov. Sandoval’s veto of AB 206 hurts the environment and was a vote against economic growth and energy security.