Solar Energy Production - image: courtesy of Nevada Clean Energy Fund.

Opinion

The costs of climate change can be hard to wrap our heads around – the destruction from droughts, wildfires, and heatwaves, the danger to public health and wildlife, and the cost of adapting to the changing climate. It’s clear we have to take action, and transition to non-polluting energy sources. But there doesn’t have to be a trade-off between clean energy and economic opportunity. In fact, for Nevadans, there is now an opportunity to lead the way to an economy powered by clean energy.

This month, the President signed the Inflation Reduction Act. This landmark bill includes the single biggest investment ever in climate, clean energy, and jobs; takes critical steps to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, and makes historic investments that will lower costs for families. 

For residents in Nevada, this means assurances that investing in renewable energy has never been easier. Nevadans overwhelmingly support a pathway of transition to clean energy, tax incentives for renewables and clean transportation. With our state ranking number #1 in the nation for solar energy potential and #2 in geothermal, now is the time to lead the nation on how renewables can and should be done in our country. 

NextEra Energy Resources is planning similar energy storage facilities to these in northern Nevada at the Dodge Flat and Fish Springs Ranch projects that incorporate solar energy and batteries to maximize available renewable energy, even when the sun is not shining – photo: NextEra Energy Resources

Although our state has no shortage of new residents, the Inflation Reduction Act will make Nevada an attractive state for people looking to join the clean energy job market.  A 2020 report found that federal clean energy stimulus investments similar to those considered in the Inflation Reduction Act would add almost 40,000 clean energy jobs in Nevada over five years. In 2021, there were already 32,378 Nevada workers employed in clean energy jobs and this bill expands these opportunities, bringing an estimated $2.7 billion of investment in large-scale clean power generation and storage to Nevada between now and 2030. These credits include bonuses for businesses that pay a prevailing wage, so that Nevada workers earn a good paycheck as we build the clean energy future in America.

Solar panel install – EE Image Bank, cc 2.0

For homeowners in Nevada, this bill provides an opportunity to personally invest in renewable energy. By providing tax incentives it will make it more affordable for Nevada families to purchase energy efficient appliances and save money on their utility bills each month. Rebates covering 50-100% of the cost of installing new electric appliances including heat pumps, water heaters, and stoves will lower yearly energy costs. In Nevada, hundreds of thousands of low- and moderate-income households are eligible for these rebates. Tax credits covering 30% of the costs to install solar panels and battery storage systems will also help with monthly utility bills. For solar, uptake projections estimate that over 75,000 additional Nevada households will install rooftop panels as a result.

Rooftop solar apartment building, cc 2.0

As our country sees more reasons why we need to be energy independent to avoid impacts at home from international conflicts and supply chains, the Inflation Reduction Act makes it easier for Nevada to become a leader in renewable energy spanning across all aspects of the clean energy spectrum.

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Russell Kuhlman, Executive Director – Nevada Wildlife Federation

The Nevada Wildlife Federation. An organization dedicated to Nevada’s conservation efforts.
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