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Breaking Down the Law : Constitutional Amendment – Renewable Energy

Constitutional Amendment – Renewable Energy

While last week’s election is still being litigated, Nevada voters approved several Constitutional Amendments.

One of those amendments, Ballot Question 6, was approved by the voters for the second time, meaning it will become effective during the next legislative session.

The Ballot Question will amend the Nevada Constitution in order to mandate that 50% of the state’s energy come from renewable resources by the year 2030.

A law mandating these same requirements had been passed during the last legislative session and signed into law by Governor Sisolak.

What does the Constitutional Amendment mean for the state, and what could it mean for all of us? Here to discuss the new law is attorney Matt Hoffmann with Battle Born Injury Lawyers.

Thanks, etc.

  1. If these requirements for 50% renewable energy was already passed into law 2 years ago, why the Constitutional Amendment?
  • I think it’s a fair question.
  • Supporters of the Amendment want more certainty in ensuring that Nevada increases its reliance on renewable energy rather than fossil fuels.
  • This includes wind, solar, and hydroelectric energy, such as that produced by the Hoover Dam.
  • And with a Constitutional Amendment, it is very difficult to repeal these requirements – an Amendment must be approved by the voters in two consecutive elections before it can become law, whereas a bill passed by the legislature can be changed from session to session.
  • So the reason for writing it into the Constitution is to ensure it gets done.
  1. Are there any potential drawbacks to the new requirements, and what could it mean for consumers here in the State?
  • Nevada is near the bottom of the 50 States when it comes to energy production.
  • Despite having abundant land, plenty of wind, and plenty of sunshine, and even with the Hoover Dam, Nevada only produces 1/10th of the energy actually used in the state.
  • The rest is purchased from other states.
  • So the idea of the new law is to force the state to invest in renewable energy, whether it be from solar, wind, or hydroelectric sources.
  • There are estimates that such an investment could create 10,000 or more jobs, and it would obviously be good for the state to become more energy independent.
  • The concern is at what cost.
  • We are already in a budget crisis due to Covid, and it could take years to recover, financially.
  • So, in many ways, this law could not come at a worse time – and in order to get this done, the State is likely going to have to rely upon Federal assistance in order to reach its goals.
  • The biggest problem I see is that if we reach the year 2030 and Nevada has not created a significant enough energy infrastructure, we’ll still be getting our power from other states.
  • Except now they will not be able to buy as much power created by natural gas, oil, coal, or nuclear energy.
  • 50% of the energy we buy will have to have been created from renewable sources.
  • The result could be that Nevada pays more for its power from other states, and that cost will inevitably flow down to the consumers.
  • It’s 9-10 years from now, so we’ll see, but in the immediate future, it certainly does not seem like we should expect any significant increase in renewable energy infrastructure being built in the state, unless Congress passes some kind of infrastructure to help create more renewable energy plants to help achieve the goal.
  • But right now, as the state recovers from the effects of lockdowns and restrictions on businesses due to Covid, including high unemployment and the coming wave of foreclosures and evictions, I don’t know that many Nevadans are too concerned with where their energy for heat and air conditioning comes from