Nevada governor vetoes bill to increase RPS to 40 percent by 2030

By Erin Voegele | June 19, 2017

On June 16, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed a bill that aimed to increase the state’s clean energy standard to 40 percent renewables by 2030. The Nevada Assembly approved the legislation on May 24 by a vote of 30 to 12. The Senate passed the bill on June 5 by a vote of 12 to 9.

Nevada’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) was first adopted in 1997 and currently requires 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. According to information published by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, the RPS program has been modified during nearly every legislative session since its adoption, including specific targets for solar energy and provisions related to energy efficiency measures.

Sandoval issued a veto message explaining his decision not to sign the bill. “I am fully aware that increasing the RPS as proposed in this bill is very popular, and under different circumstances I would support this bill,” he wrote. “However, I have a responsibility to consider the approval of this bill with Nevada’s current and future energy costs, policy and ratepayers in mind.”

“Thus, although the increase in the RPS proposed at this time in AB 2016 is one that I would otherwise support, the consequences of approving this bill must be considered through the lens of recent changes to Nevada energy policy and those likely to be adopted in the near future,” Sandoval continued. “These changes can only be characterized as massive shifts in energy policy that have already dramatically altered the energy landscape in Nevada. They are occurring in real time, with energy policy evolving in real time.”

Sandoval cited net metering, exiting companies, energy choice, energy storage, increased rates and other matters as issues impacting his decision. He concluded his veto message by indicating he will amend his executive order regarding the Committee on Energy choice to direct it to study, review and discuss an increased RPS in the face of energy choice and make recommendations to both the governor’s office and the 2019 legislature. The committee was formed in February and aims to study the how energy choice will affect Nevada’s RPS, net metering, energy storage, existing companies and the effects on ratepayers.