Nevada’s politicians — from Carson City to D.C. — are dead set on single-handedly saving the globe from warming, even though there are 1,200 new coal-fired power plants on the drawing board around the world and despite the fact there was been no appreciable global warming in nearly two decades.
Mighty noble. Mighty stupid.
In 1997 Nevada lawmakers passed the first renewable portfolio standard (RPS), since then it has been steadily increased until the law requires Nevadans to get 25 percent of our electricity from renewable resources by 2025. And the state’s senior senator and Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, thinks that’s too lenient.
In this session of the Nevada Legislature there are eight separate bills addressing s0-called “green” energy and not a single one attempting to repeal the RPS, despite study after study showing that building renewable energy — especially wind and solar — generation has no impact on greenhouse gas emissions and may even make them worse because they are intermittent and must be backed up by idle fossil fuel generators.
A study by The Beacon Hill Institute in Boston and the Cascade Policy Institute in Portland, Ore., found that Oregon’s mandate for 25 percent of power from renewables by 2025, the same as Nevada’s, could increase power bills by somewhere between 14 and 34 percent and reduce the number of jobs in the state by between 10,000 and 25,000.
A study by the American Tradition Institute and the Rio Grande Foundation predicts that New Mexico’s 20 percent by 2020 RPS will increase that state’s power bills by somewhere between 6 percent and 32 percent, while destroying an average of 2,859 jobs — within a range of between 506 jobs under a low-cost scenario and 4,573 jobs under a high-cost scenario.
Using Energy Information Administration, Nevada Policy Research Institute calculated Nevada’s residential electricity rates have risen more than 5 percent per year since the first RPS was enacted. Prior to that power bills increased about 3 percent a year. If the current rate of increase continues, by my calculation, Nevadans will be paying 20 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2025 — nearly double the current rate of 11.3 cents per kWh.
“The expanded development of these resources will threaten the stability of the state’s electricity grid and raise electricity prices across the board,” the New Mexico study warned. “Moreover, the environmental benefits of wind power are a mirage due to the necessity of keeping backup power generation sources online and available to cycle-up when wind power is unavailable.
“RPS standards were put in place without taking into account long term and unintended consequences, and they carry demonstrably high costs with dubious benefits. Lawmakers should eliminate entirely or postpone them until they can debate all facets of the policy and make
informed decisions about how best to serve New Mexicans while being responsible environmental stewards.”
NPRI’s “Solutions 2013” book recommends: “Because of the renewable mandates,Nevadans are required to expend ever greater resources to obtain the same amount of energy. This is the very definition of economic inefficiency.
“Repeal of the RPS will lead to higher living standards and faster job growth.”
I think we’d all be much better off if our politicians chose an alternative method to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by simply holding their breaths until they turn green.