Editorial: Question 6 would cost money and provide no benefits

Current Nevada law requires 25 percent of the state’s electric power to come from renewable energy sources — such as solar, wind and geothermal — by 2025, but Question 6 on the November ballot asks voters to raise the requirement to 50 percent by 2030.

The initiative claims this will reduce the state’s reliance on fossil-fuel power plants and clean up the air.

But recent reports out of Europe note that carbon emission actually grew by 1.8 percent in 2017 despite a 25 percent increase in wind power and 6 percent growth in solar. Part of this is explained by the fact idling fossil fuel plants must be quickly brought online when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, and, just like cars in traffic, idling engines produce more carbon emissions. Also, maintaining both power sources increases infrastructure costs. The cost of electricity in Europe has increased 23 percent in the past decade.

So, Europeans are paying more and getting no emission decrease.

Nevada is already getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewables as each year the requirement ratchets up toward the current 25 percent goal, while over the past five years the cost per kilowatt-hour of power across all sectors has increased 11 percent in Nevada, though nationally rates fell 1 percent, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, carbon emissions due to power generation have largely flatlined, according to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

Arizona also has on the ballot a proposal to increase renewables to 50 percent by 2030. Both measures are being bankrolled by San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer.

Heartland Institute analyst James Taylor took a look at what impact the Arizona proposal would have on electricity bills there if the initiative passes. Taylor estimated that Arizona’s current 7 percent renewable power costs consumers $304 a year in higher rates and extrapolated that the 50 percent requirement could increase bills by more than $2,000 a year.

In 2013 Nevada Policy Research Institute commissioned Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University to analyze the impact of the current 25 percent renewable power portfolio (RPS) requirement. The report was titled “RPS: A Recipe for Economic Decline.”

Using a range of estimates from low to high, Beacon Hill estimated power bills could increase anywhere from less than 2 percent to nearly 11 percent. That high end estimate has been reached seven years early.

The study also said the 25 percent standard could cost Nevada between 590 and 3,070 jobs by 2025. Image the impact in doubling renewables in the next five years.

But those costs are outweighed when you calculate all the pollutants and greenhouse gases that won’t be poured into the air and cause the planet to overheat, some still argue.

“One could justify the higher electricity costs if the environmental benefits — in terms of reduced greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other emissions — outweighed the costs,” Beacon Hill reports. “However, it is unclear that the use of renewable energy resources — especially wind and solar — significantly reduces GHG emissions. Due to their intermittency, wind and solar require significant conventional backup power sources that are cycled up and down to accommodate the variability in the production of wind and solar power. A 2010 study found that wind power actually increases pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, there appear to be few, if any, benefits to implementing RPS policies based on heavy uses of wind.”

Since Question 6 will likely cost Nevadans money and jobs while producing no discernible benefit, we encourage a no vote this November.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

BLM pix

 

15 comments on “Editorial: Question 6 would cost money and provide no benefits

  1. Bob Coffin says:

    If you argued to vote NO on all ballot questions I would say Amen! Ballot questions are the easiest way to incrementally ruin a small states’s legislative branch.

  2. Steve says:

    3 and 6 both need to be yes together or no together.
    The only way 6 makes any sense is if it exists in a market economy.
    The current government authorized monopoly has proven what happens with costs, we all know what they do in times of challenge vs times when no one appears to be watching.
    Renewables need the freedom, found only on an open market, to prove what they are really capable of doing. Currently renewables are defined by a big, uncaring, bureaucracy intent only on remaining in power and control.

    YES on 3 and YES on 6 or NO on both.

  3. Steve says:

    bloomenergy.com running on biogas is more renewable than any form of solar and all forms of wind. A footprint smaller than natural gas and deployable anywhere on any scale.

    Yet this solution is never even mentioned by our “caring” monopoly power provider. (have you seen any of their latest tv buys? They drip “caring” right out of the tv and all over your living room floor)

  4. Steve says:

    With no turbines, Bloom would take less space and produce more power.

  5. Colonel Robert Frank USAF Ret. says:

    Thomas, Outstanding article!

    Readers might appreciate knowing that many leaders in the environmentalist community are rapidly changing to fully embrace current and advanced nuclear power systems as vastly superior for high volume power production over all other forms of power production–including solar and wind. Shame on Nevada for being so far behind on such advanced technologies since we have an exceptionally long history of previously being a world leader in nuclear science and engineering.

    For example, I respectfully suggest readers of all political, business and environmental interests to check out the following sample articles and TED videos containing impressive scientific documentation that cab support a bipartisan position to make nuclear power the future standard for U.S. and global nations.

    By Oakland, CA Environmental Leader Michael Shellenberger:
    – TED Video “Why I changed my mind about nuclear power”
    – TED video “How Fear of Nuclear Power is Hurting the Environment”
    – Forbes: “We Don’t Need Solar And Wind To Save The Climate —
    And It’s A Good Thing, Too”
    – Forbes: “With Nuclear Instead of Renewables, California & Germany Would
    Already Have 100% Clean Electricity”
    – Forbes: “As Heatwave Tests The Limits Of Renewables,
    Anti-Nuclear Governments Return To Nuclear”

    There are also two full-length documentary movies available by leading environmentalists that 100% support nuclear power as the only reasonable way to eliminate air, water and land pollution from the rapidly expanding power production systems (“Pandora’s Promise” and “The New Fire”.)

    While everyone may not be able to agree on why air, water and land pollution from power production must be stopped, we should be able to agree that the common goal to achieve pollution free power production is acceptable.

  6. Colonel Robert Frank USAF Ret. says:

    I should have stated above that the title to Shellenberger’s Forbes article was “Had They Bet On Nuclear, Not Renewables, Germany & California Would Already Have 100% Clean Power”.

  7. Rincon says:

    “But recent reports out of Europe note that carbon emission actually grew by 1.8 percent in 2017 despite a 25 percent increase in wind power and 6 percent growth in solar.”
    Gee, since Germany is phasing out its nuclear power plants and increasing the burning of coal, do you think just maybe that has something to do with it?

    “Nevada is already getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewables as each year the requirement ratchets up toward the current 25 percent goal, while over the past five years the cost per kilowatt-hour of power across all sectors has increased 11 percent in Nevada, though nationally rates fell 1 percent, according to figures from the U.S. Energy”
    35% of the electricity generated in Iowa is from wind power, but Iowa residents pay less for electricity than Nevadans. I thought all of that renewable energy stuff is supposed to break the bank. Any explanations? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Iowa
    https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/10/27/141766341/the-price-of-electricity-in-your-state

    “Heartland Institute analyst James Taylor…estimated…”
    Really? Would you like Greenpeace’s estimate? They’re equally valid.

    “Nevada Policy Research Institute commissioned Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University to analyze…”
    “The Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) is a right-wing think tank…”
    https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Beacon_Hill_Institute Maybe you could include the Sierra Club too as long as you’re using propaganda mills as sources.

    “Part of this is explained by the fact idling fossil fuel plants must be quickly brought online when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, and, just like cars in traffic, idling engines produce more carbon emissions.” Who gave you that line? 73% of Nevada’s electricity comes from natural gas. https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=NV In Illinois, we use natural gas mostly for peaker plants, which don’t need to idle. They can be started and stopped efficiently – and, as I said, Iowa doesn’t seem to have any problems.

    I just read a Popular Science article instructing readers on how to detect fake news articles. This one fits their criteria pretty closely. If I didn’t know better, I would believe Popular Science and declare this piece fake, but we’ve known each other so long. Pop Sci must be wrong.

  8. Steve says:

    Bloomboxes don’t need any peaking, Rincon.

    Look it up.

  9. Colonel Robert Frank USAF Ret. says:

    Rincon does not indicate who he is or anything about his qualifications to summarily dismiss James Taylor’s expert opinions. But, one of the reasons I went to the trouble to show links to Michael Shellenberger’s work as a global environmentalist formerly representing Greenpeace and other such enlightened environmentalist groups is to help folks like Rincon to find hard evidence of the rapidly changing attitudes by that community.

    I respectfully challenge anti-nuclear power folks like Rincon to open those extremely well-written/stated opinions by Shellenberger, think about their significance and see if the quality of discourse on this blog could significantly benefit from what is learned.

  10. Colonel Robert Frank USAF Ret. says:

    Please excuse me. After taking a shot at “anonymous” Rincon, I should have provided a link to my work on Energy Security for Nevada and the U.S. at this site:

    http://www.nevadanscan.com/energy-main/

  11. Rincon says:

    Unless I am mistaken, James Taylor is a lawyer. Hardly an expert on climate. In addition, he works for the Heartland Institute, funded primarily by the Koch brothers (might be a different billionaire, but the dynamic is the same), and ranked by Media Bias as extreme right with a mixed reliability.* *

    I assume that you dispute the large cadre of experts working for the IPCC. Is that correct?

    Also a small correction: I support nuclear power. It’s one of our few practical alternatives to fossil fuels and its risk is smaller.

    *The Media Bias definition of mixed reliability: “…the source does not always use proper sourcing or sources to other biased/mixed sources. They may also report well sourced information as well. Mixed sources will have failed one or more fact checks and does not immediately correct false or misleading information. While the majority of the information may be factual on these sources, they need to be checked. Further, any source that does not disclose a mission or ownership information will automatically be deemed mixed.”

    Compared to say, the Economist, they are strictly an also ran.

  12. HighflyinBrien says:

    California carpetbagger and extreme warmist Tom Steyer is bankrolling this initiative under the auspices of his NextGen Climate Action political action committee. They have spent $2,055,324.07 to push this disastrous measure in Nevada. Those who will suffer most…are low income and senior citizens on fixed incomes.

  13. HighflyinBrien says:

    Both of the power related initiatives should be voted down. Initiative three is riddled with falsehoods and has serious and destructive consequences if enacted. It doesn’t pass the “common sense” nor the “smell” test! I would like the proponents to explain to me how they will lower costs to the consumer when the cost per kwh of renewables (with the exception of hydro power) are far more expensive to generate even though they are highly subsidized. Add to those higher generation costs…additional fees to transmit the energy over existing power lines owned by NV Energy, since these companies have no power lines of their own. And they claim to do all of this to save us money while saving the planet. I’m calling BS on both claims. Simply put, this is another warmist pipe dream.

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