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VICTOR JOECKS: Thank Democrats for Nevada’s high power bills

It’s understandable to be angry and stressed about rapidly rising power and gas bills. Just make sure you direct your ire toward the root causes — Democrats’ false promises about green energy.

On Tuesday, the Public Utilities Commission approved another rate increase for Southwest Gas. This was on top of costs increasing over the past three quarters. NV Energy prices have been soaring, too. The worst is yet to come.

Consumer Advocate Ernest Figueroa projects that the average July power bill in Southern Nevada will hit $470 this year. Over the past two years, Southern Nevada ratepayers are paying 54 percent more for electricity. Nevada now has the second- highest power prices among Western states.

This is nuts.

Nevadans were promised a very different future. In 2018 and 2020, Nevada voted on a constitutional amendment to require 50 percent of the state’s power to come from renewable sources by 2030.

The proposal “would save Nevadans money,” advocates wrote in the voter guide. “The cost of clean energy is already cheaper than dirty energy sources.”

The amendment passed, but the savings are nowhere to be found.

You’ve been duped. Renewable energy proponents misled you to advance their agenda. Here’s what’s happening:

NV Energy is building more solar power plants. Those work well when the sun is shining. But peak energy usage is between 5 and 9 p.m. in the summer. As demand soars, the sun sets. Not great when you’re relying on solar power.

This means Nevada needs fossil fuel plants to provide reliable energy. In other states, nuclear and hydroelectric plants can do the same. But mandates for renewable power and federal regulations have led to more and more of these reliable power plants shutting down.

What happens next is simple supply and demand. There’s less power available as solar fades, but demand peaks. Prices soar. This power is so costly NV Energy thinks it’ll be cheaper to build natural gas plants that will be used an average of just two hours a day. End result: You will pay for both solar power and natural gas power plants to back up unreliable solar.

Funny how renewable energy proponents didn’t mention that.

It’s going to get worse. NV Energy is planning to build a $2.5 billion electrical transmission line, called Greenlink Nevada. Its purpose is to improve reliability and increase access to renewable energy. The company received federal permission to raise rates to pay for the project. That hasn’t happened yet, but it’s coming.

But doesn’t the Ukraine war show the country should move away from natural gas? No, it shows the United States should increase American energy investment to protect against what happens internationally. We have the resources to do it. Proven natural gas reserves in the United States have tripled over the past 20 years, thanks to technological advances.

President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats, however, have waged war on fossil fuels. They’ve consistently attacked the industry. That’s raised prices and limited investment and production.

Nevada’s high power prices weren’t inevitable. They’re the result of the war Democrats are waging on affordable, reliable energy.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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