Las Vegas’s Energy Conservation Programs: Incentives For Savings – Last week, Las Vegas announced that it had reached its goal of powering the city entirely with renewable energy, meeting a goal the city has been working toward for over a decade. The goal was reached with the launch of Boulder Solar 1, a 100-megawatt solar plant located outside the city.
Las Vegas began its renewable energy project in 2008, reducing electricity use through renewable energy systems and installing solar panels on city buildings. Las Vegas will also receive power from the Hoover Dam for the first time in its history, beginning in late 2017.
- 1 Las Vegas’s Energy Conservation Programs: Incentives For Savings
- 2 Watch Las Vegas: An Unconventional History
- 3 Free Training: Estimating The Cost Of Project Alternatives
Las Vegas’s Energy Conservation Programs: Incentives For Savings
The city has reduced its electricity consumption by more than 30 percent because of these initiatives. Estimates place the city’s annual energy savings at approximately $5 million.
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Las Vegas is the largest US city to be powered entirely by renewable energy. The second largest city, Burlington, Vermont, achieved this status in 2014.
Note: An earlier version of this post was clearly not the city government of Las Vegas—not the entire city itself—that is now 100% updated.
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In his 2017 State of the State address, Gov. Brian Sandoval made what seemed like a simple prediction.
“With the strong passage of Question 3 last year, Nevadans will likely have a strong choice in the future,” he said in his final biennial address to the Legislature.
Sandoval’s comments are indicative of the atmosphere of impotence that has existed in the state and its policymakers throughout much of 2017 and 2018. But what seemed like a near certainty once met its end on Election Night when Question 3, or the Choice Initiative, won with almost. two-thirds of voters opposed.
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That result was a far cry from 2016, when more than 72 percent of voters cast a ballot in favor of the initiative, one of the largest margins of victory for a ballot question in modern Nevada history. Add in a coalition of powerful supporters – former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, data center giant Switch and one of the state’s largest businesses, Las Vegas Sands – and the poll question appears as locked for the next election.
If approved, the measure would have amended Nevada law to require the state to acquire a retail electric utility by 2023, thus ending NV Energy’s reign as the monopoly electricity provider for most of the state. Although the proposed language contains few specifics, supporters say passing the ballot measure would lower electricity rates while allowing Nevadans to shop and choose their electricity providers, rather than being forced to buy power only from NV Energy.
But it failed, and the first-ever attempt by any state to create a retail electricity market at the ballot box is now consigned to the dust of history.
Supporters and opponents of the ballot measure point to two reasons: the wrong advertising message by the supporters of the initiative that tried to make the question a referendum on NV Energy, and the unprecedented $63 million that was spent by Berkshire Hathaway property to win the measure.
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When the money was tallied, the opposition of the questions voted more than three times the amount reported by the supporters. They were also able to bring together a diverse group of groups, including rural communities, organized workers, trade unions, reform unions, teachers’ unions and senior unions to publicly oppose Question 3 and appear in campaign ads. explaining their issues with him. .
Peter Koltak, Coalition to Defeat Question 3 campaign manager, said that the PAC decided to focus on a key message of the three “Rs” – renewals, rates and trust – and dragged the issue for months with their huge fundraising advantage, despite what Koltak acknowledges as a built-in advantage of the attractive written ballot requirement.
“The language of the ballot is very well designed, and if you just read the language of the ballot and it’s not anywhere else, it seems to make sense, and it seems to be a reasonable thing to do.” full, and unlike anything that is anything that is. going to do anyone any harm,” he said. “The voters, the people who will really make the decision, we have started with them anew; they don’t remember voting on this in 2016. Yes, there were good ballot issues, but we had an opportunity to sort of define the issue, which we did.”
Origins of the Energy Alternative Initiative resulted from long social conflict between NV Energy and the two proponents of the ballot measure – Switch and Las Vegas Sands.
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In any energy market, the most valuable customers to the utility are often large-scale energy users such as a casino, hotel or major industrial customer with a large, standing load that can help contribute to hard-to-reach accommodation. youth and other consumers. But large power users in Nevada have chafed at working with utilities; Switch CEO Rob Roy said in a February interview with the Nevada Independent that much of his animosity with the company stems from their alleged refusal to work with his company to develop a large solar project in 2014.
“The most difficult thing for me in Nevada in 18 years of building this company, the most difficult thing to work on – not customers, not success, not technology, not politics, it’s not any of those things, it’s one thing, and one thing. that is the most difficult obstacle to overcome at NV Energy,” he said at the time. “It’s how I feel. I know how they all feel. It’s how Caesars feels. It’s how Peppermill feels. That’s how Barrick felt in front of all of us, so they left us 10 years behind. .”
Switch and other large energy customers decided to leave the company, possibly under a 2001 state law that was left over from an aborted attempt to take it to market. A regulation called 704B allows large power users to opt out of a utility as a customer if regulators deem it to be in the public interest — and if they pay an “exit fee” to the utility to do so. any charges you may incur. be levied on other customers by their departure.
Change was the first file to leave in 2014, followed by Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, although Sands has opted not to pay its 23.9 million exit fees in 2016, calling it illegal files unjustified and interpreted a “. stands for the monopoly NV Energy.”
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Two months later, the casino giant helmed by the Republican Party megadonor Sheldon Adelson half a million dollars to the nascent Energy Choice Initiative – proposed a constitutional amendment that would prohibit electricity monopoly and open up the state to retail competition.
Although the proponents of the initiative are very focused on the benefits of the retail market and the possibility of more renewable energy, Sands CEO Andy Abboud let the mask soften a bit in October when he said that the involvement in the measure is more about the exit price assessed.
“I have a serious problem with the pricing system, that the PUC is setting prices when they can’t tell us how they determine our output price, and today it seems that those output prices are irrelevant,” Abboud said last year. passed in a meeting. of the Governor’s Committee on Alternative Energy. “I’m not here today to follow the PUC, but let’s be honest. That’s why many of us are here, that’s why this initiative was launched, is lack of transparency on what they charge customers to go off the grid.”
The measure soon qualified for the ballot after supporters gathered more than the 55,000 signatures needed, and more supporters gathered on: Tesla, Switch, the Sands, MGM, Nevada Conservation League, Patagonia, the the sun industry, every major newspaper in the state. and especially Reid, the state’s most powerful Democrat and longtime US senator who has mixed with the material and is gathering early supporters for the ballot question.
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“Nevadans are ready to gut energy monopolies’ rigid energy policies and participate directly in the clean energy economy,” Reid said in a 2016 speech. A ‘yes’ vote on the energy alternative would represent a seismic shift for America and the world — a prime example of how people can shake off the past, the monopoly of special interests and choose the future they want for their state and their country.”
Their efforts are helped by a small place in the public perception of the material, which is driven by its involvement in and
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