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UPDATE: Nevada's New Energy Industry Task Force


Last Thursday, Governor Sandoval's New Energy Industry Task Force (NEITF) met to hear policy recommendations and decide what will be presented to the governor.

Clean Energy Project Executive Director and Vice Chair of the Clean Energy Sources Technical Advisory Committee, Jennifer Taylor, and Jeremy Susac, Chair of the Distributed Generation and Storage Technical Advisory Committee presented recommendations to the task force for votes. Click here to watch the meeting.

CEP was proud to have several of our Nevada small business leaders submit testimony in support of energy efficiency and clean energy-friendly policies. To date, 302 business owners have signed pledges of support for comprehensive clean energy policy and reducing carbon pollution. Click here to add your name to the growing ranks of business leaders who support clean energy!

Here's a summary of the recommendations and votes cast at the meeting:

1. Rooftop Solar Grandfathering
The NEITF voted to recommend that the 2017 legislature consider a bill requiring the utility to offer net metering to rooftop solar customers in a manner consistent with systems under NRS Chapter 704, as it existed before the Nevada Public Utilities Commission's December 2015 decision. To qualify for "grandfathering" under the previous rates, the rooftop solar customer-generator is required to have installed an approved solar power system or have an active NEM application on or before Dec. 31, 2015. These customer-generators will enjoy the previous rates for a period of 20 years.

2.  Energy Storage
This recommendation from the Distributed Generation and Storage Technical Advisory Committee (DGS TAC) suggests a bill be introduced to amend 704.773-704.775 that would encourage the use of data, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the viability of emerging technologies. The NEITF voted to send this recommendation back to the DGS TAC for further analysis.

3.  Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)
The task force considered a recommendation from the Clean Energy Sources Technical Advisory Committee (CES TAC) to increase Nevada's Renewable Portfolio Standard. A motion was made that the task force recommend an increase to 50 percent by the year 2040. While the task force rejected the motion, an alternative option was presented calling for a reduction of the importation of fossil fuels into Nevada. The CES TAC will further analyze the RPS and fossil fuel importation reduction during its next meeting on June 6, 2016.

4. Integrated Resource Planning (IRP)
The NEITF recommended that the 2017 legislature consider a bill to amend the IRP process. This bill would establish preference in NRS 704.746 for measures to reduce demand and increase supply in a way provides the greatest economic and environmental benefits and opportunity for the creation of new jobs in the state. Additionally, this suggested bill would establish preference for measures that diversify energy portfolios, reduce fuel price risk, and reduce exposure to the cost of carbon. The NEITF also accepted the CES TAC recommendation to broaden inclusion of all stakeholders.

5. Decoupling and Weatherization
The NEITF also heard recommendations to promote energy efficiency policies. The first would give the PUCN authority, but not a mandate, to institute decoupling if found to be in the public interest. In public utility regulation, decoupling refers to the separation of a utility's profit margins from its sales of energy. Under current regulation, most utilities’ revenue generation is directly tied to retail sales, and therefore, reduced energy consumption may reduce the companies’ profitability. Under decoupling, instead of linking utility profits to the amount of power sold, profits are linked to the number of customers served. For more information on decoupling, please visit the Solar Energy Industries Association website.

The second recommendation would have allowed for greater spending on weatherization of low-income households and changed the program to facilitate the use of these funds by renters, as well as homeowners. However, the NEITF sent this recommendation back to the CES TAC for further analysis related to the funding of this program. 

6. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing
A motion recommending legislation that would enable PACE financing passed unanimously. To view the PACE presentation, click here. PACE is a simple and effective way to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to buildings. PACE pays for 100% of a project’s costs and is repaid for up to 20 years with an assessment added to the property’s tax bill. PACE financing stays with the building upon sale. State and local governments sponsor PACE financing to create jobs, promote economic development, and protect the environment. For more information about PACE, visit http://www.pacenation.us/.

7. Green Banks
The CES TAC recommended that the NEITF propose legislation to implement, on an expedited basis, the outcome of the study being undertaken by the Governor’s Office of Energy on Green Banks. However, the NEITF sent this recommendation back to the CES TAC pending the final report from the Coalition for Green Capital, which will be presented on June 17, to the Legislative Interim Energy Committee. 

8. Statute Clean-up
CES TAC identified obsolete statutes and recommended legislation deleting them. The NEITF accepted this recommendation to eliminate 704.701-704.731, which deals with converting oil power plants to coal, and NRS 704.7823, which deals with reverse polymerization of tires.

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